Wightlink Wight Mountain Cycle Race Team opened its 2020 season with the Dunsfold Road Race, part of the Surrey Cycling League, on 7th March.
The race for Cat 3 riders was an 8-lap circuit covering 51 miles. The weather conditions and poor road surface meant it was going to be a tough race right from the start.
Unfortunately, both Charlie Orchard and Jerry Cooper quickly found themselves on the wrong side of a split in the peloton and were dropped from the front group.
James Veal was well placed for the race managing to stay at the front end of the bunch, which is the safest place but with 50+ riders all trying to get into the top 10 positions it is often the most difficult position to maintain. With the pace of the peloton rising for the final lap, James entered the final climb still in the top 10 riders. Unfortunately, he got blocked and after having to avoid slower riders lost a few places, however, a good sprint enabled him to finish in 14th position. This was good enough to earn 2 points towards his 40 needed to move up a category.
Overall a good start to the 2020 road racing season.
Kev Chant and Matt Allsopp also raced in Surrey last week in the season opener of the 2nd/3rd Cat at Dunsfold.
2 laps into the 58-mile road race a group of 8 riders formed a break in with the gap to the peloton growing to almost a minute. Allsopp, seeing the danger that this posed, did a large turn on the front to help bring the breakaway back in.
By the 5th lap, the group was all back to together. 2 laps remaining and a rider went on a solo attack which would end up being the winning move. The unfortunate timing of a horse rider on the road with a lap-and-a-half to go meant that the peloton would be split into 2 groups with Chant in the second half of that group and unable to chase back to the leaders.