A lovely quiet circuit with enough crosswinds and undulations to make it tactically demanding as well as athletically demanding, the situation was spiced up at the sight of a slight coating of ice on some roadside puddles early on, but thankfully the roads themselves were clear.
Early races generally have a touch more excitement than the average, and the tension was evident here from the off, particularly between the two major teams in the race of Equipe Velo and CC Luton.
An early escape from Stewart Wilson of Beeston was allowed to stay away for over 3 of the 6 laps while the bunch fought over the remains, but after the catch was made, things hotted up with several counter moves.
With no team mates, Neil was left to try and pick the right move: "There's a fair bit of luck involved," he said. He did manage to string together a number of efforts though to improve his odds.
The winning move went with one and a half laps to go. Led by Phil Rayner of Welland Valley, Roy Chamberlain of Corley Cycles was quick to latch on and Neil followed: "I was thinking oh go on - one more effort then," he recalls.
Attack pace ensued, with Jez Honour of Equipe trying to follow the threat. Within 500m, Honour was distanced and Neil was in the winning break. Unfortunately, he was dropped by the other two with 2km to go after doing a long pull on the front. "I wasn't over the moon about that," he continues. He was left to grunt all the way to the finish solo, but he dug deep and held off the rampaging bunch by about 8 seconds to take 3rd place and a Category 'A' win.
|6th March 2016 Baines Racing RR Results|
|Race 1 ABC||Cat|
|6||Clare Simon||Lady E|