Jack shares these reports from Wightlink-Wight Mountain Cycle race Team. Ed
Island Games Gotland 2017
On the 23rd June Wightlink-Wight Mountain members Adam Holleyman, Russ Thomson, Stu Waite, Ian Hayden and Joe Staunton travelled to the Island of Gotland in Sweden to compete in the 2017 Island Games.
This biannual competition included a 40km time trial, mountain bike cross country race, 115k road race, mountain bike criterium and a road criterium for which the team of riders would be split to compete in there chosen disciplines.
First up was the 40km road time trial with Hayden, Waite and Staunton.
This was a pretty flat straight out and back course with some very strong cross winds making for some interesting bike handling on the long open parts of the course at times.
All three put in great performances and best placed was Hayden in 22nd in a time of 52.30. Waite crossed the line in 53.44 followed by Staunton in 56.02, pretty impressive as he competed in the triathlon the day before.
On the Wednesday was the 75mile Road race with Hayden, Waite and Staunton.
This consisted of a 12 mile loop on closed roads which again was relatively flat and open to the elements, letting the wind dictate where the attacks happened.
The attacks went onto the second lap, splitting the race into 3 groups. Waite was in the lead group until getting caught out by the rider in front sitting up and creating a gap which Waite was unable to bridge.
Waite sat up and waited for the second group where he and Hayden managed to do their share of the work and keep the pace high.
In the final lap of the race the two came together and Hayden gave Waite the perfect long range lead as they crossed the line in the second group.
Overall results out of 62 riders:
On the Friday was the city centre Crit race with Hayden, Waite Staunton and Thomson.
The Crit consisted of 1hr plus 5 laps of a 1.3mile circuit around the streets of Visby with half the loop climbing and the other half winding around the narrow streets.
The weather on the day was heavy rain making terrible conditions for the riders.
The race again split after a few laps in with a break of 20 riders making the break.
Waite and Hayden raced within the second group which also split again into two and which meant Waite and Hayden were separated.
The riders managed to complete the race with Waite winning the sprint for the second group (21st), Hayden winning the next group (33rd) and Staunton and Thompson coming over the line safely in the final group.
All riders happy to remain on the bike through the tight corners in the driving rainy conditions.
Cross Country Mountain Bike Race
A bright and sunny evening in Gotland, Sweden saw the first of two MTB
Cross Country races for the 2017 Island Games.
Team riders Adam Holleyman & Russell Thomson took to the start to represent the Isle of Wight.
The race was sure to be a fight from start to finish as the starters
consisted of teams from islands all around the world.
The race was held alongside the city walls of Visby, Gotland using features such as the moat and rocky sections.
The team lined up for the mass start and once the horn sounded the race up the hill to the first corner commenced.
Holleyman had a strong start muscling his way into the top 10 for the first technical section while Thomson avoided a crash and sat mid pack.
The next 2hrs were a battle on a surprisingly hilly course that took its toll on the two riders, with a block headwind at the top of the course.
Both riders survived with no incidents and enjoyed the flowing fast course.
Despite a field of elite riders Holleyman finished an great 12th with Thomson in 28th, out of 37 Starters.
Cross Country Criterium
A more technical but shorter course than the previous race with various man-made features kept the rides on their toes.
The features included a section of logs to hop over, steps to jump down and a drop off set next to an old war bunker.
The shorter course and technical features suited Thomson more, enabling him to secure 26th place overall.
On Saturday 1st July, Wightlink-Wight Mountain Cycle Race Team member Dave Cooper travelled to Portsmouth for the early 4th category race start.
Hungry for success and after points to see him go up to 3rd cat, after a few laps Cooper started putting the pressure on by continued attempts to jump clear or control things at the front.
Unfortunately with no team present for support the race came down with the remaining riders duking it out in the sprint.
In hindsight a tactical error but nevertheless a valiant effort hitting it hard with a third of a lap to go only to miss out on the win virtually on the line and take 5th place.
The consolidation for today is that Cooper just needs 6 points to jump to 3rd cat.
Dave Cooper travelled to Goodwood on Tuesday 4th July to take part in the 3/4 category race which took in 10 laps of the motor circuit.
A perfect evening for bike racing: sunny and warm with little wind meant the pace was fast from the start.
Cooper keen to build on his points already gained covered the early break moves and joined the ones he thought may be successful in breaking free of the 50 plus field.
Unfortunately due to the relentless pace of the field the race come down to a bunch sprint which become a bit of a concern for the race commissaires due to a break in the Elite/1/2 race nearly catching the 3/4 group just before the sprint.
The end result Cooper finished in the top 15.
X Terra event, France
Wightlink-Wight Mountain team rider Ben Johnson travelled to northern France to participate in X Terra, billed as the hardest off-road triathlon in Europe.
The race consisted of a 1500m swim then 42km mountain bike and lastly an 11km trail run.
Three days prior to the race it had rained non stop making the mountain bike course tougher than ever.
With 1000 entries and a mass start swim Ben had a below average swim coming out in 700th place, but made up time and places on the mountain bike loop which had 1200m of climbing in 3hrs 15mins to then start the trail run, which was made up of technical climbs and lose rocky down hills.
Overall finishing in 299th place overall and 41st in his age group. Ben would like to thank his sponsors Wght mountain and Wightlink and his coach Jess for her support.
First circuit race of the year for Joe Staunton at Thruxton on4th July.
Following the Island Games baptism of fire into road cycling (competing against professional riders from around the world).
Staunton stayed disciplined and didn’t make any silly moves early on in the race to conserve energy.
He positioned well into the final lap and made a well timed sprint through the final chicane, overtook several riders to secure 2nd place position overall gaining 8 points.
He’s now within only a few points of being promoted to 3rd cat.
Staunton sends his thanks to Ben Sibbley from West Wight Wheelers for the lift.
On Wednesday 12th July four Wightlink-Wightmountain riders made their way to Portsmouth Mountbatten circuit with Kev Foster and Ian Hayden lining up first in the 3rd cat race.
There were plenty of attacks from the start and Foster sat on the front and covered most of them bringing the race back together.
The race stayed together and due a big field of riders and possibly a lack of concentration there was a crash on the finish line of the final lap taking a bunch of riders down towards the back of the group with Hayden and Foster missing it they were both in great positions 3 and 4th coming into the finish straight but the race was stopped before they could cross the line to prevent another crash.
Luckily no one was seriously hurt.
In the E12 race James Ebdon and Matt Allsopp took on 20 others in the 45 min race with Ebdon making moves from the go he managed to get in a break with another rider which lasted a few laps before being reeled in by the main group, with Allsopp ill he was hoping for an easy ride and work for his teammate Ebdon but soon found himself in a breakaway with another four riders which worked hard to make a comfortable gap.
Eventually this got tiresome and Allsopp and two others worked to close the gap and while reeling the main group to lap them Allsopp was attacked once he’d pulled off the front leaving a big gap that he couldn’t close and ended up riding the last 5 minutes on his own holding off the chasing bunch to finish 5th and slightly more ill then when started.
But this effort meant he retained his 3rd position in the series overall. Ebdon was consistent with a great sprint at the end of his race finishing just outside the points.
Image: © Wightlink Wight Mountain Cycle Race Team