Thanks to Russell for this latest report from the Wightlink Wight Mountain Cycle Race Team. Ed
The legendary seven hills mountain bike event was back on 25th March thanks to GP sport and Wight Mountain.
The event was fully-booked and the 120 riders met at Freshwater Bay on the Sunday morning.
Five members of the Wightlink Wight Mountain Cycle Race Team took part. Matt Allsopp, Andy Ward, Stuart Waite, Ben Johnson and Adam Holleyman.
Whilst not strictly a race, once the riders set of all together up the Tennyson trail, there were clearly some who wanted to go as quick as they could. Afton, Chessell, Limerstone, Chillerton, St Catherine’s, Stenbury and finally Wroxall Down were all tackled by the riders before finishing at Sandown Airport.
After Chessell Down, Adam found himself at the head of the field with a gap to Ben Marsh and team mate, Matt Allsopp, behind. The combination of tough climbs and thick deep mud made for a challenging ride.
A three-up sprint
After taking a lead of five minutes past the last checkpoint, Adam Holleyman took a wrong turn coming off Wroxall down only to be followed by Ben Marsh. Once both riders were back on track, Matt Allsopp wasn’t far behind and the three riders turned into Sandown Airport together. A three-up sprint saw all riders finish with a time of two hours and 15 minutes, with Adam just beating Matt across the line.
As the muddy smiling riders arrived at the airport they were greeted with a BBQ and the unanimous feeling was that it was a great event that should be back on every year. Thanks to GP Sport and Wight Mountain for bringing the event back.
- Matt Allsopp 02:15:01
- Adam Holleyman 02:15:01
- Ben Johnson 02:21:33
- Andy Ward 02:24:51
- Stuart Waite 02:34:03
Race Reports from the Bank Holiday Weekend
Joe Staunton (pictured) kicked off his road racing season with back to back eighth places at the Tour of the Marshes Road Race in Ashford (Kent) on Saturday 31st March and Thruxton Motorsport Circuit on Sunday 1st April.
Tricky weather conditions of heavy rain, standing water and mud made for exciting racing in Kent as Staunton fought at the front of the 60km race. Each time up the main hill on the three lap circuit Staunton and a handful of others would push the pace and break, leaving a small breakaway group, unwillingness to work together on behalf of a couple of the group led to the group being caught by the pursuing bunch each time. The high pace and conditions decimated the field with only 28 riders out of the 61 starters crossing the finishing line. Staunton led out the remaining riders into the final sprint and managed to hold out for an eighth place sprint finish in his first race of the season.
Two Wightlink Wightmountain Riders travelled to Thruxton Motorsport Centre on Sunday 1st April.
Third Category Race
First up was Joe Staunton in the Third Category Race. The race was neutralised for over an hour due to a serious crash, which required three ambulances and an air ambulance a shortened race pursued of only eight laps.
The changed racing dynamic led to a higher intensity race for this eight laps, numerous breakaways were attempted and chased by Staunton who worked hard at the front to control the race and prevent the large teams of up to five riders from dominating. Another crash on the final lead into the finish put tensions on high, but Staunton held his nerve to finish strongly in eighth place.
“I’m really happy with the way this weekend has gone. I’m still learning at every race as I only started competitive road racing towards the end of last season, having only competed in triathlon before.
“The results this weekend give me confidence I’ve trained well over the winter and can hopefully continue to work hard and get some good results in throughout the season. The team and I have some big targets later in the year so lots to look forward to!”
Thruxton E12 race
Matt Allsopp lined up in the E12 race at Thruxton with a strong field of 50 riders, the race was one hour and five laps of the circuit. Allsopp managed to get into a couple of short-lived breaks, knowing the race wouldn’t split, Matt sat in and helped cover a few attacks made.
With some of the riders dropping out the back, Allsopp positioned himself well. Coming into the final chicane, being towards the front, he got out the saddle to lay down his sprint, but with possible dehydration he cramped up in both legs and rolled over the finish line safely in the bunch.
Image: © Primera-Sports