June got off to the best possible start, with Matt Clegg winning the 3rd-cat race at Mallory Park on the first of the month. Matt attacked in the final half-lap, and held off the bunch to take the win and banish the frustration of being forced to freewheel in the finishing straight on his previous appearance there. Matt has since switched his attentions to Stourport, where he finished 5th in the 2/3/4 race of the Ludlow Brewery RT-organised round of the Stourport Summer Criterium Series on 20 June. This race is organised on a handicap basis, with the 3rd and 4th-category riders getting a short head-start on the 2nd cats. Matt held his own against the 2nds when the catch was made, and indeed tried a few attacks, before finishing strongly in the bunch sprint behind a solo breakaway winner. The following week, in the round organised by Stourbridge CC, the gap between the 3/4s and 2nd cats was increased from 30 to 40 seconds. Matt’s group worked well together and actually increased their lead over the chasers in the early stages of the race. When it became clear that they were not going to be caught, Matt launched another late attack to take the win. Two wins in a month leaves him requiring just four points to be promoted to 2nd category.
Matt wasn’t the only Beacon rider to pick up points at Stourport in June. In a very wet 4th-cat race organised by Success Cycling on 6 June, Jamie Dennis took 2nd in what was his first time racing at Stourport, and Laurence Cooley was 9th. The following week, Laurence went on to finish 7th in the 4th-cat race at the ZipVit/Lichfield CCC Adult Spring Meeting at Curborough. Earlier in the month at Curborough, Gavin Passmore finished 9th amongst the 3rd cats (the winner being former An Post professional Kieran Frend!) in the first of the Lichfield No Frills Friday events on 2 June. The Lichfield Friday events feature concurrent 3/4 races, and in the second of the series, on 23 June, Robin Kirkham was the 9th-placed 4th-cat rider, picking up his first BC point in the process. Royal Sutton CC have also been making use of the Curborough course to run mid-week races, and in the second of the series on 28 June, John Hunt was 9th in the 3/4 race – Kieran Frend finishing second in this one.
On the road, John, Gavin and Laurence all took part in the Redditch Road Race for 3rd and 4th cats on 4 June. The race was very well organised by Redditch Road and Path CC, with the help of BC accredited marshals, although there were a fair few crashes, with Laurence being caught behind one on the first lap. The reduced main bunch stayed together right into the final straight, where John launched a strong attack. He almost managed to hold on to his lead until the flag, but was caught just short of the line to finish 10th.
The club now has 70 points in the BC West Midlands regional ranking, placing us 14th overall. This ranking only includes races within the region, so Matt’s points at Mallory Park aren’t included. What’s particularly pleasing is that these points have come from seven different riders, which is the highest number of Beacon points scorers since 2013.
Dave Hughes was also back in action on the road after the nasty crash he had in May, taking part in the LVRC’s Tommy Godwin Memorial Road Race in Bearley, Warwickshire on 4 June. Showing few ill-effects from his crash, Dave finished 2nd to Category F rival Ralph Keeler. Later in the month came the LVRC National Road Race Championships, held at Owslebury, Hampshire on 25 June. Dave had set this as one of his target races for 2017, although this plan had been complicated both by his wife, Anne, competing in the European Sprint Triathlon Championships in Düsseldorf on the same day, and by Dave’s rediscovery of track racing and his subsequent preparation for the BC National Masters Track Championships, held between 29 June and 2 July (more on that next time). Still, he was pleased to have recovered sufficiently from his big crash to be able to participate, and on a hilly course that didn’t really suit someone preparing to race on the track the following week, Dave nonetheless gave a good account of himself to finish in the top 10. You can read this account for yourself on the LVRC’s results page for the event, in fact.
While Dave was racing up hills in Hampshire, Anne was going one better in Germany by winning her age category in the ETU Sprint Triathlon Championships, thereby becoming (possibly the Beacon’s first?) European Champion. Congratulations to Anne on this massive and well-deserved achievement!
The end of the month also saw Gavin Giles in action at the World Transplant Games in Málaga, Spain, where he took part in the time trial, team time trial and the road race. In the TT, he finished 7th out of 41 in his age group and 14th out of 130 on scratch. His TTT team with Ottilie Quince and Rich Smith was the only mixed national A team, and they finished 4th – a mere 0.12 seconds off of the bronze medal position. In the road event, Gavin raced with a sore throat and swollen glands (the result of the immunosuppressants he has to take) but still put in a mid-race attack that had the bunch strung out for some time. He eventually finished not far off the back of the lead group, and in the top half overall. Not satisfied with that, he then took to the basketball court for six games the following day, winning a silver medal with his GB teammates!
In last month’s report, I promised an update on Beacon riders’ progress in the Halesowen Friday Night Track League. Results up to 23 June are now available on the Halesowen website. There have been some strong Beacon performances, including race wins for Gavin Passmore and Matt Clegg. Well done to Adrian Ravenscroft and Robin Kirkham for getting in the points, too.
Finally, news that the folks at ELY Race Club are organising a series of four Saturday events at Stourport, starting on 29 July. Each event will include a 3/4, a women’s 3/4 and an E/1/2/3 race. Entries are open now on the BC website. This could be a good opportunity to keep racing into August, when the calendar otherwise starts to look a bit bare. Looking further ahead, league entries for the West Midlands Cyclo-Cross League are still available for the youth, female, and male 50+ vets categories, but are selling fast, so do get your entry in quickly if you intend to race this winter.