Big Events Round 2 at Hillingdon 10/05/2014
Dominic Laval, Matthew O’Connor and Simon Jodrell raced on Saturday in the second round of the Big Events Series.
The weather was at best ‘changeable’ and certainly had an effect on the outcome of the race which had 30 Cat 4 starters lining up to race anti-clockwise.
From the off there was very strong winds coming across the track from the West which meant a stiff headwind as we crossed the back of the course and a cross headwind on the long straight. This meant riders were unwilling to commit to big efforts and at an average of around 23mph we had a relatively slow race however this all translated into a very strong tailwind pushing us up the hill towards the finish at the top of the course.
As cautious as the pack was there were one or two tentative attacks with Dominic recognising these early and working hard to bring them back, helping me bridge across and making it easier to stay in the top half dozen riders and hopefully out of trouble.
Matthew put in an attack of his own pulling the pack out along the top of the circuit and showing how strong he is. The rain came sideways roughly half way through the race whipping the pack and making already skittish riders very nervous, lot of unnecessary braking going on as riders tried to stay out of the wind and upright in the corners. The first crash came on the straight with Dominic taking a fall but thankfully remounting to carry on, other riders were not so lucky with at least one broken collar bone.
Matt had a mechanical just before the accident but as the race was neutralised for three laps he and Dominic were able to re-join the peleton which started racing again with about 4 laps to go.
Everyone was now wet and cold with water running across the track in places the last corner before heading up the climb to the finish becoming treacherous and claiming more victims with a second crash as the pace picked up.
Three riders had broken away as the race re-started but it looked set to fail as they were not working together which was essential to combat the wind. Matt took off after them with Dominic on his wheel and incredibly the three escapees seemed to sit up on the second to last corner, just before they would have picked up the tailwind. Matt and Dominic rode hard as the pack came back together giving me an opportunity to dive inside in the last corner and sprint up the hill to finish second. Dominic coming in 12th despite his fall and Matthew finishing 19th even after all his efforts in the wind.
An exciting race with a great result but more importantly with just 3 riders there was a great element of teamwork with shows just what could be achieved with more Odiham CC riders on track.
Here is looking forward to more regular racing and expanding the team to see what we can do in the future.