Opportunities to race were a bit thinner on the ground in August than earlier in the season, with the end of a number of local road and circuit series in July, but it was very much quality over quantity for the Beacon’s racers, with a debut Grand Prix Series appearance and the small matter of a UCI world title to report on…
Matt Clegg got the month off to a good start by picking up a point in the 2/3/4 race at Mallory Park on the 3 August, but his main event was a first National A race, the Leicester Castle Classic, on Sunday 13 August. The kermesse, which was the final round of the British Cycling Grand Prix Series, took part on a city centre circuit over the cobbles of Castle Square and skirting the Leicester City stadium. “Brutally fast straight out of the neutralised lap” was how Matt described his introduction to elite racing. He was caught behind a crash on the first racing lap, narrowly avoiding a collision with Tobyn Horton of Madison Genesis. He nonetheless found himself in a good group for the rest of the race, flying the Beacon colours alongside riders from Metaltek Kuota, Spirit Tifosi and Richardsons-Trek RT and Wheelbase Altura, and finished on the front of that group. Matt, who has been supported by the club’s first under-23 racing bursary this year, has now headed off to the Netherlands, where he will be studying for a year and hopefully getting some quality experience racing on the continent.
Not to be outdone, at the end of the month, Jessica Rhodes-Jones took part in the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships at Albi in France. Jess had already raced in Albi this year, where she qualified for the World Championship time trial event with a win back in May, and her return was a successful one as she took the title in the 19-34 category by 20 seconds over the 22.5 km course. Congratulations to Jess on this achievement, and look out for her in her rainbow stripes in coming months!
Stuart White raced in the BC National Masters Circuit Race Championships at Rockingham Raceway on 12 August, finishing a respectable 13th in the B age category, just behind last year’s winner Will Ranoe, despite having focused more on endurance riding than crit racing this year. A week later, Gavin Passmore and Robin Kirkham lined up for the 3/4 race at the second round of the Criterio du Rosa series at Stourport, where Gavin followed up his 7th place in the first round with another 7th, despite accidentally sprinting a lap early! Laurence Cooley, meanwhile, headed down to Milton Keynes for the last three events in the Abbeygate/Corley Cycles Summer Series at MK Bowl. Having been too far back to contest the sprint in the 17 August race, he was 9th on 24 August and 12th in the final round, after attempting last-lap attacks in both. Earlier in the month, John Hunt was also unlucky not to pick up points on the road, having been in a three-man break-away in the East Midlands Øverst Race League at Lime Kiln on 2 August and also being caught within sight of the line at Plungar a couple of weeks later.
Next month’s report will include a final round-up of the Halesowen Friday Night Track League, plus reports on the LVRC National Circuit Race Championships at Birmingham Business Park and the start of the cyclo-cross season. In the meantime, as the road season comes to an end, there are very few events left in the West Midlands, with only the University of Birmingham CC’s criterium at Tudor Grange in October left for those still chasing points. There are more events in other regions for those willing to travel, though, and it is worth keeping an eye on the calendar in case any late events are added.