Saturday, 24 January 2015

Greg saves the day

Top ten for our newest rider

That Jacket is a bit too warm for Racing
With Ian and Neil crying off the Imperial Winter Series this week after a liberal sprinkling of excuses: "I've got a wedding, "I think I've got a sniffle" etc, Greg donned his new Fluo Winter Jacket and got down to business.

"I've spent a lot of time in the shed," he reflected, referring to his own personal pain cave with turbo and the recent cold weather. It would appear to having an effect. That and his growing confidence. After all, this was only his 5th race.

Having watched many efforts escape only to be pulled back, he sat in the main group and saved a bit for the final effort. "I'm not too ambitious right now," he muses. "But it gets better every week. I'll certainly be starting the main season a step above last year."

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Baynesy Off and Running

Round 5 of the Imperial Winter Series saw Neil and Ian take to the start line again, Neil having wolfed down a McD's 30 mins earlier [long story], but that din't stop him pursuing his usual agenda of trying to get in a break. 

Despite one or two useful looking rider combinations, it didn't come off, perhaps not helped by a higher number of quality riders in the field than usual, and the fact that it turned out to be quite a still day.

Ian meanwhile, was sitting pretty in the main bunch, not getting too excited and saving it for the almost inevitable gallop. As with Round 4 there was a crash with 1.5 to go and some run -offs on to the grass but he positioned himself nicely and took 4th place behind winner Adam Thompson of Reading CC who was 2nd to Neil last week.

Baynesy finds his way through the closing metres. Thanks Dave Hayward @digidave

a bit of the early action from Neil's back wheel

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Neil Wins Again!

After his win on December 13th last year, Neil was passing it off as a fluke. (He doesn't need the pressure you know). No chance of that now. Having uncharacteristically bided his time at that back of the bunch for 40 minutes, he was paying attention at the right moment when Alex Tinsley, this (off) season's super diesel clipped off the front. "I'd seen him stay away all the way to the victory on December the 20th so I thought he might be a good wheel to go with," he explains.

This did not go unnoticed by another former winner, Graham Crowe of Handsling racing who quickly jumped the gap along with Adam Thompson of Reading CC. 

The quartet worked well and refused to give in, staying within 10 seconds of the bunch for 5 or 6 laps but the elastic seemed to give way soon after as they were joined by Steve Golla of High Wycombe CC. "Once Steve got across to us, I started to believe it would work." said Neil. "He's pretty handy."

And so it did. Neil got a bit tactical (well, for Neil) on the last couple of laps and in so doing, beat Graham and Adam for scratch 3rd. Steve pulled off a sharp move to get the better of Alex for the 'proper' Win, but Neil wasn't far behind, actually managing a sprint.
Neil on the left. Testing his sidewalls. Baynesy's banking also on the left.
This being a Winter Series Article, we shouldn't miss the crashes. One on the back straight with 1.5 to go and a bit of a palaver in the finale. Unluckily for Ian, he was forced off the circuit in the closing metres but was happy to exhibit his bike handling prowess, taking a detour up the grass/mud bank, back down before the line and managed a wheelie over the line. Anyone got that picture? Thanks to Jackie Irvine for this picture. Skippy may be a Saddle Drunk now, but she still wears the TMG Hoodie.

Another grateful mention to Imperial Racing Team. More organiser's nightmares for them as the finish camera broke down. Congratulations on the result you lot. Yes, actually working out the result.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Win for Neil as Imperial Winter Series "Kicks off"

Should we be racing in December? From the traditionalists, it's a resounding no. And yet, the Imperial Winter Series goes from strength to strength each year. Yes, OK we agree it is a technical infringement.

It does however seem to appeal to people with busy lives who enjoy the reliability of a regular weekly slot. There's also a relaxed, friendly feel to it which is helped massively by the fact that the organisers are extraordinarily pleasant folk. And then the fact that some people just can't wait until spring to charge around a circuit shouting 'hold yer line' at each other whilst 'living the dream'. Lastly, would you rather do an hour and a half of turbo intervals in the garage?

No-one seems to take it too seriously [well we try not to], although the push to the front for the obligatory sprint finish remains as nervy as any Hillingdon race. And that's without the crash which gained international notoriety on race two and seemed to justify Neil's policy of being either off the front...

This break made it to the finish. Unusually. Neil holding Paul McGrath's wheel tightly with winner Graham Crow pulling
or off the back...

ah yes, the crash, thanks Dave Hayward. No-one has yet fathomed the cause of this crash; even the spectators. Neil claims he could see this coming. That'll be why he's out of shot off the back again, then.

Now [remembering the headline] amidst all this excitement, we should point out that in race one of the series, Neil won the 3rd Category race. Sadly for him, he wasn't first over the line, so no hands in the air. But, as a great man once said, a win's a win. And Neil reckons he was robbed [as usual], and he was pulling harder than anyone else in the break, and he didn't really care about the sprint and....

Michael Skipsey gave us his farewell testimonial in race three before he departed for Saddle Drunk. Seriously. Almost overcome by emotion, Neil gave his best lead out to Mick which netted him 4th. That's Mick, not Neil, although sheer terror kept Neil in the front half of the field. Pretty impressive by Mick when you consider that Neil's leadout ended with half a lap still to go. Good luck at the new gruppo from all of us Skippy.

Baynesy [still 'on the cusp' form-wise] has attended twice, raced once (don't ask) and is entered for more in 2015 along with newcomer Jason Baran. "Who knows, we may even get some team strategy in operation," Neil says hopefully.