May was a busy month for the riders of the Wightlink-Wight Mountain Cycle Race Team, who competed up and down the country with varying success.
On Sunday 21st May 2 team members travelled to North Winchcombe in the Cotswolds to take part in an 85km road race. The race consisted of 9 laps of the 9.5km circuit with an uphill finish.
Lined up with nearly 100 other riders were Ian Hayden and Stu Waite. As soon as the flag dropped the race went high with a few attacks getting reeled in.
On the second lap, a break of 10 riders got away. Hayden and Waite pulled off a tactical manoeuvre, which sent Waite up the road, managing to bridge the gap and get on to the break.
The break stayed around 30 seconds ahead of the race for over an hour and Waite sprinted up the finishing hill to 5th position and Hayden led home the bunch behind.
Just 2 says later on Tuesday 23rd May, riders Matt Allsopp and James Ebdon raced the E12 at Goodwood.
With 12 laps of the circuit it was Ebdon’s first appearance at Goodwood and with a small field of racers they knew it was going to be a tough race. Within 2 laps an attack was made which eventually split the field into 4 small groups.
Allsopp was chasing with 1 other rider for nearly 8 laps on their own until Ebdon’s group finally caught up making the group quite strong. They closed the gap between them and the 2nd group within a lap, then Allsopp attacked bridging the gap between the groups hoping Ebdon was on his wheel but it was a rival ride.
Allsopp took second in the sprint and Ebdon crossed the line in a group not far behind.
On Wednesday 24th, 5 members of the Wightlink and Wight Mountain-sponsored team travelled across the Solent to Portsmouth to take part in the circuit races at the Mountbatten racetrack.
First up in the 3rd category race were Ian Hayden, Kev Foster and Stu Waite. The trio spent the whole race covering every move and attack keeping the group together. It came down to a sprint where Waite went early and managed to stay on the front for 1st over the line, Foster put in a great effort for 5th and Hayden shortly behind.
Next up in the E12 race were Adam Holleyman and Matthew Allsopp.
Allsopp attacked from the start and the race stretched out into single file from the off. Holleyman got in a 2 man break after 5 minutes and it looked promising. Allsopp did his best to slow the chasing bunch down to increase the gap but the 2 eventually got caught and with a counter attack Allsopp got in a 3 man break.
After 10 minutes this group lapped the main field with help from Holleyman who covered all attacks. Holleyman then worked for his teammate, but Allsopp’s sprint didn’t go quite to plan and he crossed the line in second place.
It was time for some off-road action for the team last Sunday when riders Jimmy Brett and Ben Johnson travelled to Wantage in Oxfordshire to take part in the Scott Sports MTB marathon.
The pair rode in the 80km distance, which had 1000 metres elevation and long fire roads and quick dusty trails. With nearly 400 riders in that distance Brett finished in a time of 3 hrs 34 minutes coming in 63rd, and Johnson camed in after 3 hrs 15 minutes to finish in 41st place.
Sunday (28th May) also saw Round 3 of the Southern XC cross-country series, which also combined with the Southern Area Championships where the regional champions would be crowned.
Russell Thompson and Adam Holleyman took the early Wightlink ferry from Yarmouth to Lymington and travelled to Burley in The New Forest to the venue of Crow Hill.
Thomson raced first with the track still slightly damp from the previous day’s rain. The tree roots and technical course were made tricky in the slippery conditions. He finished 25th in the sport category after completing 4 laps in 1hr 26 mins.
Next up was Adam Holleyman racing in the Expert category. Just as the riders were warming up the heavens opened. The storm passed through in about 20 minutes just as the riders we getting ready to race but it was enough to give the drying track a fresh coat of water and that made it even more slippery.
Adam had his best ride of the year so far to finish second in a silver medal in the Southern Championships finishing five laps in a time of 1 hr 32 mins.
To round off a busy month, Kev Foster, Ian Hayden and Russell Thomson competed in the 3rd cat race at the Mountbatten Centre in Portsmouth on Wednesday (31st May).
All 3 riders were actively attacking, Foster and Thomson both getting in small breakaways but nothing stuck.
On the last lap, Hayden was on the front of the bunch leading Foster out for a sprint finish. Unfortunately Foster got boxed in from the side and couldn’t get out into free space. All 3 finished in the main bunch.
James Ebdon then raced in the Elite race. With a small field and the race only being 45 minutes long the pace was frantic from the start, and there was very little shelter from such a small group. Ebdon stayed in the group to take 8th on the line and gain him 2 points on his licence.