The GS Henley Road Racers headed to Boxford on Saturday morning for the first road race of the 2017 ORRL league. The Great Shefford circuit is one of my personal favourites, with a long 7km drag very akin to training favourite Pishill, and a technical series of corners through Boxford village. The forecast had a risk of showers, however the racers were greeted with a mild morning, and a light breeze giving a tailwind up the long drag, promising fast racing.
We fielded a team of 6, a strong team, but slightly weakened by the loss of Dan Marrett, who has been taken down with a chest infection.
- Paul Elcock (newly qualified to 2nd cat, but able to race for league points)
- Pierre Jackson
- James Archbald
- Jim Ackerley
- Pete Ganderton
- Hugh Knudsen
We had a plan of sorts, which could be briefly summarised as “Attack Attack Attack!”. Hugh put this plan into action as soon as the flag dropped, launching himself off the front, and this set the scene for the rest of the race, with black and orange jerseys constantly launching off the front, putting the race under pressure, and the field splintered more than once. The entire team was heavily marked by the other league teams, especially Mickey Cranks, and their strongest rider (Anthony Turner) did good work neutralising a few decent breaks. The road surfaces were traditional West Berkshire fare in places, and we had some unfortunate luck…Pierre and Pete were taken out with punctures, while Jim had a meeting with the tarmac…walking wounded, and hopefully he heals up soon!
Paul was able to finally shake the teams marking him, and get off the front with one lap to go (he actually admitted later he had miscounted, and thought he was finishing, only to hear the bell with one lap to go!), and solo’ed to another victory in what is turning into a golden season for him. The reduced bunch sprinted, with James and Hugh picking up 8th and 11th (taking into account non-league riders 6th and 9th for league points). A great result for the team, and one that extends our league position after 2 rounds. Next up is the Team Time Trial on Tuesday, an event GS Henley have historically done rather well at!
Huge thanks to Didcot Phoenix, and all their volunteers for running a great event…they also ran a Regional A race on the same course in the afternoon (Pete grabbed a late entry for it, to make up for the dissapointment of the puncture in the morning, coming in with the main group). Everything ran really smoothly, and they got both races round what could be a very challenging course with no issues of note.
Full race results are available on British Cycling
Didcot Phoenix took some great photos of the race, which can be seen on Flickr here
League Points after 2 Rounds
G.S. Henley 56
Cowley Road Condors 32
Mickey Cranks CC 22
Outdoor Traders 15
Didcot Phoenix 7