Saturday, 13 December 2014

Win for Neil as Imperial Winter Series "Kicks off"

Should we be racing in December? From the traditionalists, it's a resounding no. And yet, the Imperial Winter Series goes from strength to strength each year. Yes, OK we agree it is a technical infringement.

It does however seem to appeal to people with busy lives who enjoy the reliability of a regular weekly slot. There's also a relaxed, friendly feel to it which is helped massively by the fact that the organisers are extraordinarily pleasant folk. And then the fact that some people just can't wait until spring to charge around a circuit shouting 'hold yer line' at each other whilst 'living the dream'. Lastly, would you rather do an hour and a half of turbo intervals in the garage?

No-one seems to take it too seriously [well we try not to], although the push to the front for the obligatory sprint finish remains as nervy as any Hillingdon race. And that's without the crash which gained international notoriety on race two and seemed to justify Neil's policy of being either off the front...

This break made it to the finish. Unusually. Neil holding Paul McGrath's wheel tightly with winner Graham Crow pulling
or off the back...

ah yes, the crash, thanks Dave Hayward. No-one has yet fathomed the cause of this crash; even the spectators. Neil claims he could see this coming. That'll be why he's out of shot off the back again, then.

Now [remembering the headline] amidst all this excitement, we should point out that in race one of the series, Neil won the 3rd Category race. Sadly for him, he wasn't first over the line, so no hands in the air. But, as a great man once said, a win's a win. And Neil reckons he was robbed [as usual], and he was pulling harder than anyone else in the break, and he didn't really care about the sprint and....

Michael Skipsey gave us his farewell testimonial in race three before he departed for Saddle Drunk. Seriously. Almost overcome by emotion, Neil gave his best lead out to Mick which netted him 4th. That's Mick, not Neil, although sheer terror kept Neil in the front half of the field. Pretty impressive by Mick when you consider that Neil's leadout ended with half a lap still to go. Good luck at the new gruppo from all of us Skippy.

Baynesy [still 'on the cusp' form-wise] has attended twice, raced once (don't ask) and is entered for more in 2015 along with newcomer Jason Baran. "Who knows, we may even get some team strategy in operation," Neil says hopefully.