Thanks to James Archibald for the race report of Sundays race.
Today saw a smaller than usual team of five riders;
- James Archibald
- James Milligan
- Pierre Jackson
- Ben Wrigglesworth
- Pete Ganderton
…competing in the fourth race of the ORRL series, a 55 mile road race around the Arncott circuit, finishing this year shortly after the top of the short but sharp Panshill ascent which was climbed eight times and shaped the race. GSH were outnumbered by Cowley and Mickey Cranks who had ten riders each, with OTRT being well represented too.
The pace was pretty quick from the start – the race was 0.5kmh faster than last season’s Oakley RR 2/3/4 on the same course – with Pete Ganderton assuming his usual position at the front of the pack. James Milligan made the early running with a solo break during the first lap, setting the tone for GSH for the rest of the race. He was followed by Pete having a dig on his own, who got a gap but was pulled back at the second ascent of Panshill after a tough lap and a half.
With James and Pete having set the race alight, it looked clear that a concerted attack was going to go on the second ascent of Panshill as soon as Pete was pulled back and it duly did. James A made it on to the wheel of in-form Cowley Condors rider Greg Fitzek (winner of last weekend’s Banbury Star) as he attacked the climb along with a Shutt Velo Rapide rider. After having got a good gap they were too punchy for James, and after a couple of miles he dropped back, unable to hold their wheels. A handful of other riders made it to the break, including crucially Anthony Turner from Mickey Cranks – meaning that the two biggest teams had riders in the break and weren’t chasing.
After a lap or two of mistakenly thinking that GSH still had a rider in the break, Pierre told Pete we didn’t and Pete started grafting at the front with help from Pierre – but almost literally no-one else. It felt like the break was going to stay away, with two of ORRL’s strongest riders in it and a third of the bunch (Cowley and Mickey Cranks) with a rider up the road, but with unrelenting effort from Pete they started coming back…
Some ill-advised competition within the break for the hilltop prime worked to Pete’s advantage and it became a case of Pete chasing pretty much solo versus pairs of breakaway riders upfront trying to stay away. They were winched back and after an hour of staggering endurance and determination Pete had brought the race back together with two full laps to go.
Time for one of the 18 or so remaining Cowley or Mickey Cranks riders to counter-attack with their top riders now back in the pack? You’d have thought so, but Ben was first to go as soon as the bunch was back together, attacking with vim. Unfortunately no-one went with him (despite his pleading “somebody ride over to me” looks back to the bunch) and after a few miles he was brought back – again on Panshill. He managed to get back in the wheels and it wasn’t long before he attacked again, with Pete and Pierre disrupting the bunch shamelessly, and then attacking for a third time before being finally brought back in for a final time.
It looked all set for a group finish with the best part of a lap left, but with a few miles to go Pete (at the front still, obviously) raised the pace and found himself clear of the bunch for the second time in the race, this time with three other riders (including Antony Turner from Cranks). As the final ascent of Panshill came up Pete’s companions started to fade. Pete’s challenge didn’t though – he hit Panshill with a gap of maybe 10 seconds, and as the other three riders were swamped Pete just kept on going, crossing the line first for his maiden road race win. An awesome end to a stellar week that saw Pete take three podiums in four races and earn himself a well-deserved 2nd cat race licence. Chapeau! Pierre finished strong as well, picking up 10th place among the ORRL riders.
P.S. no sign of the missing bits of Jonesy’s elbow – sorry Si, we did look…
Full results are on the British Cycling website here
After 4 rounds, Henley hold onto top place in the league, with Cowley Road moving into second place.
G.S. Henley – 102
Cowley Road Condors – 63
Mickey Cranks CC – 55
Outdoor Traders Race Team – 45
Didcot Phoenix CC – 27
Bicester Millennium CC – 20
Oxonian CC – 0
High Wycombe CC – 0