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Hillingdon Beyond Spring Crits (7th April)

With this week being the last week of the current series, and our riders chasing points, the pressure was on to consolidate results and press on towards the “Holy Grail” of Cat 3 racing. A plan was made to break with two laps to go as a group and take turns before releasing Creighton for a sprint. Following last week’s 8th place he needed 4 points therefore 6th or higher. In the men’s race Andy, Chris, Gary, Stuart, Cipo and Creighton and despite there being no women’s only race Charlotte and Jane returned to the fray.

The pre-race build up saw some particularly bad luck for HWCC. Gary arrived with a broken toe and didn’t know how it would fair. Chris’s cleat failed on the warm-up lap and he was high sided over the bars, gravel rash and a tyre ripped off the rim minutes just minutes from the start. He managed to go back to his car and join us on the start line, quite remarkable especially when we found out the frame had been cracked from the impact after the race!

The conditions were better than the previous week which meant the pace was a little quicker. It was a very nervous pack and on several occasions some choice ‘advice’ was given, our own Cipo found himself at the mercy of a particularly poor piece of judgement and rightly corrected the offending party! Gary succumbed to the pain of his foot mid-race and wisely retired to restrict further damage which left Cipo, Chris and Andy to force the pace. Stuart, after a few weeks out, clung onto the pack admirably and despite his early fears was strong throughout. Andy with his stunning 22 minute 10-mile performance the previous day was clearly confident and attacked with three laps to go but was pulled back into the pack which gained momentum and finally started to hold pace. Creighton held station using the strength of the HWCC pack and with a single lap remaining moved within sight of the leaders and went with the top ten into the final turn. The sprint was virtually a formation with riders spreading across the track blocking our riders drive to the line, however 7th place was secured leaving Creighton a single point away from his 3rd Cat licence. The 4ths set a new bar with all HWCC riders finishing in and around the top twenty, a great representation for the club.

Whilst there was no women’s specific race to report upon the achievements of Charlotte and Jane cannot be underestimated. Charlotte stayed with the bunch beyond mid-point and found that time passed quickly, a sure sign of her pace improving. Jane’s raw speed showed as she worked hard and stayed with the pack until the five lap marker board was shown. Both ladies lapped backmarkers and enjoyed their experiences. They will be a force to be reckoned in the next ladies race and points are surely coming, a very impressive showing.

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