On Saturday, two Wightlink-LCM Systems riders traveled over to the Mountbatten Centre in Portsmouth to take part in the Easter Closed Circuit Races.
In the early morning’s 4th category race, Kev Foster and Jack Elton-Walters lined up in a determined field. Unusual for a 4th category race, the pace was high from the start with people willing to work and race (and wanting to stay warm!).
Elton-Walters was active from the start, staying near the front of the bunch and taking part in several breakaway attempts. One of those breaks, involving 4 other riders, looked strong and gained a noticeable gap before the bunch worked together to reel them back in.
Foster also made a breakaway attempt with one other rider, but the strong headwind soon saw them get caught.
With three laps to go, both Wightlink-LCM Systems riders moved through the peloton to gain a better position. Elton-Walters pushed hard and squeezed through the tightest gaps to find himself in the front group as the peloton began to break-up. With one and a quarter laps to near-disaster struck when Elton-Walters’s chain came off. However, he managed to kick it back on, sprint back to the front group and finally take 5th place in the sprint for the line.
This race was another strong step towards their 3rd category race licences for both Elton-Walters and Foster.
Later that day, three other Wightlink-LCM Systems riders – Simon Ambrosini, Tim Wiggins and James Ebdon – travelled to the Milland Hill Surrey League Road Race to take part in a challenging event that coupled a strong field with a brutal hilly circuit.
The three riders lined up in a field of 80 to complete the 65 mile race, which was composed of nine laps in the Sussex hills, including the 25 percent gradient Milland Hill. The race started quickly, with two escapees making a break early on. Ambrosini, Ebdon and Wiggins all put in hard turns on the front of the pack attempting to reel in the break. Their hard work paid dividends and the two were caught; however, the team were unfortunately caught off-guard for a moment as a second break of five riders got away from the main field. The team again drilled hard at the front of the bunch, largely unaided by other teams, as they attempted to bring back the escapees.
With two laps left the 25 percent gradient of Milland Hill had taken its toll on many within the main bunch with over half of the main field retiring. After their stellar efforts trying to reel the breakaway back in, Ambrosini and Ebdon retired, and left the race after an impressive performance.
Wiggins continued to work with a select group of other riders in the main field as they tried to bridge the gap to the breakaway, and as the speed picked up in the final lap the five escapees came back into sight. On the final climb of Milland Hill, Wiggins attacked off the front of the field, catching the tail end of the break on the crest of the hill. Wiggins managed to hold off the remainder of the main field to gain sixth place. The result secures his second category licence for 2013, and moves him closer to his first category objective.