The Velo races don’t get any easier and this was certainly the case on Sunday! It was raining heavily right up to the start of the race, the roads were very wet and dirty and there were some unpleasant head and cross wind sections.
This, of course, didn’t put off the Witham Wheelers who were well represented in the race. The handicap gaps between the groups were increased to take into account the testing circuit and conditions.
Grp 4 worked quite well together, Phil Etches and Phil Atherton were riding in the Grp for their first event of the year (normally Grp 5 riders) – Dave Moulds, Crispin Bridges-Webb and Tony Mendham were also riding. It was hard work all round the circuit and it needed a good effort from the riders to keep away from the chasing groups. The Grp 3 riders were caught on the penultimate lap and it was into the last lap when they were caught by the combined galloping Grps 5 & 6. The pace was lively and riders were jostling for position. The strong riders were leading the race up the headwind long uphill drag and attacks started on the approach to left turn leading to the fast downhill section. It came back together approaching the cross winds on the old airfield section where Grps 1 & 2 were caught. The pace quickened up as the wind turned into a tail wind and it was hard work hanging onto the fast boys. Turning into the finishing section the pace got even quicker as riders could sense the finishing line fast approaching. There were 20 riders left at this stage and all were eager to get a good result. As the start of the drag up to finish was reached it all kicked off.
Phil Etches, on his debut race of the season, made a bold attempt with his sprint but once again Mark Kokosinski managed to get across the line first followed closely by Paul Conneeley. Phil finished third.
The Witham Wheelers were well represented at the finish:-
Grp 1 – winner Carol Milne (riding in Grp 1 as she learns the ‘art of racing’) – a good result
Grp 4 – winner Dave Moulds (top 10 overall), 2nd Crispin Bridges-Webb, 3rd Tony Mendham
Grp 5 – Martin Milne, 2nd Gary Rand, 3rd Ross Tomblin
Grp 6 – Mark Koksinski (overall winner) 2nd Paul Conneeley
Other Wheelers still in at the finish – Mark Colclough, Rob Johnson, John Farmer & Dave Herd