Thanks to Jack for this latest report from Wightlink-LCM Systems Cycle Race Team . Ed
Two Wightlink-LCM Systems Cycle Race Team riders headed to the Mountbatten Centre in Portsmouth for the third of five Ray Martin Memorial races.
Following last week’s washout, the conditions were far better with warm sunshine, but a keen wind made for a testing back straight to the circuit. Jack Elton-Walters and Dom Coughlin lined-up in the combined third and fourth category race. The pace was particularly high, with an average speed well about 30mph for the first fifteen minutes – something usually only seen in the Elite race.
Pesky pigeon brought disruption
An attack group of four riders with a decreasing lead of less than half a lap were away when disaster struck the main peloton in the shape of a pigeon.
The errant bird flew across at wheel height causing some sharp breaking and a subsequent pile up in the middle of the main field. Both Wightlink-LCM Systems Riders were thankfully well clear of the incident, and it looked as though no riders suffered more than cuts, bruises and bent back wheels.
Riders called for restart
The race was neutralised for several laps before all riders were called together for the restart. The four riders of the original breakaway were allowed off first, but were given over half a lap and were up to full speed when the main peloton was set-off from a standing start.
This combination meant that the breakaway soon gained a lap on the main field, and 5th place was the best the peloton could aim for. As a result of this standing start, some of the main field were unable to get going again, and many – including Wightlink-LCM’s Coughlin – retired from the race.
On the front with one lap to go
Elton-Walters pushed on and was instrumental in several breakaway attempts and helped drive the pace on as the race neared its end. Finding himself on the front with one lap to go, he drove on harder still, but was caught in the final sprint, finishing in a very fast top 20.
Another solid performance from team riders as they build form for bigger races later in the year.
The team will be travelling to road races throughout the South of England in the coming months, gaining experience for themselves and exposure for their sponsors.