10th May Road Race

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Big thank you to all who turned up for the first club race of the year. Perfect weather, warm, sunny and calm though I thought for a while at the start that the cloud of lime dust that began to float up the road from the field where it was spread was going to be a problem. Fortunately it soon dispersed.
Race Details. 33 starters, 27 of which were NDCC members. Is this a record for recent years? Three laps of an 8 mile circuit, starting and finishing on Springwell Road. Three groups with the start group of 15 riders getting 7 minutes over the scratch group. This group contained all the Espoirs plus most of the youth riders.  Eric Blayney was appointed as sergeant major for this group since most had no race experience. Second group had 6 riders, a mixture of old hands like Gordon Simmons, John Hunter, Trevor and Andy T along with young XMTB rider Jonny Beers. They went after 3min 30 secs. The scratch group was strong with eleven experienced road men plus Stuart Henry.
 By the end of the first lap the limit group were still mostly together and they came through in 22 mins., a good pace for novices on a course that's not especially fast. The second bunch were just over 2 minutes behind so they had closed up a bit. The scratch group came through just over 4 minutes behind the leaders so they had taken nearly 3 minutes from the lead bunch.
At the end of the second lap the pace had begun to tell on some of the Espoirs and they were down to a working bunch of 7 riders, who once again tapped out a consistent 22 mins for the lap. The second group had been caught and came through 2 minutes later assimilated into the scratch group who had lost Ray Brownfield with a puncture. It was only a matter of time before the scratch bunch caught the limit bunch but Eric and Alan Lavery continued to whip up the group until they were overhauled at the top of Orlock. However, they all managed to stay together until the final push up Springwell Road and Paul Ferguson took the bunch sprint ahead of Anthony Mitchell, Stuart Henry, Jonny Beers, Noel Boyce, Keith Millar, Stephen Bingham and Norman Wilson. It was encouraging to see several Espoirs and youth riders finish in the bunch. Eric was there with Ciaran, Myles and Noel and a rejuvenated Gordon Paul and young Gareth Boyle hung on as well.
 Finishing time was 65min 30 secs . This was a fast time for any of the Espoirs who finished in the bunch. The scratch riders completed the 24 miles in 58min 30 secs.
Thanks to Terry, Philip and Brian for marshalling.
cheers, Harry

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