The blue-riband event of the ORRL league, Tuesday saw GS Henley head to Weston-on-the-Green to the north of Oxford to take part in the 9-man Team Time Trial. The club have a good record in this event, reigning champions for the last 3 years, so pressure was high. We were met by challenging conditions…light rain, a slippy and muddy course, and fading daylight as our times were off late in the schedule (done on purpose by the organiser, as we have the furthest distance to travel of all the clubs).
The event is over 40km…10 laps of a flat, but exposed, airfield circuit, and teams are set off at 4-minute intervals. Bicester Millennium have a lot of experience of this sort of event, as they also run the Silverstone 9-up TTT, and the entire event ran smoothly, despite the mini-whirlwinds of chaos surrounding every team as they prepare.
We put in two teams, with a number of last-minute changes and some late volunteers stepping up to represent the club. The second team ran 2-men short, allowing us to run a full first team.
- Pete Harrison
- Paul Elcock
- Chris Bartley
- Laurence Plant
- Dan Marrett
- Matt Hayden
- Pete Ganderton
- Ben Wrigglesworth
- Rob Friend
- Simon Jones
- Hugh Knudsen
- Luke Woolfson
- Paul Hamblett
- Dave Currie
- Tom Crisford
- Mark Griffiths
The conditions claimed their first victim during the warm-up, with Rob Friend washing out on the slippy roads, causing minor damage to himself and his bike. The B-Team were off first, and after a hectic first couple of laps (a seemingly recurring issue for all teams) settled in to a good pace, however disaster nearly struck with a few laps to go when Hugh punctured, potentially putting the team down to only 4 riders, and elimination. An OUCC rider came to the rescue, providing a spare wheel and allowing the team to finish with a competitive time of 58m26s…given there was a minute lost swapping wheels a great effort.
The Henley A team were last off, into fading light, and went off hard. The lack of practice showed in the first few laps, and it took a while for the riders to find their rhythym. A puncture claimed victim to Matt Hayden, while Dan and Rob were caught out by the conditions and un-smooth efforts as the team found their groove, so by 3 laps in we were down to 6. Fortunately at this point we got a little better on the rotation and changes, and started to put out fast,consistent laps. The last couple of laps were hard work, as fatigue started to creep into the legs, however they were able to maintain the pace and finish in 53m12s, claiming first place, and maintaining the clubs excellent record!
As “organiser” (in the loosest sense of the word) I’d like to thank everyone for making the trip to represent the club, in less-than-ideal conditions. I’d also like to thank those who helped rustle up riders, offered lifts, and generally made sure everyone got to the start lines.
Full results can be found on the Bicester Millennium website here, and below, including lap splits for all teams
Next up in the league we are back to road racing, with the Arncott circuit.