Wightlink-LCM Systems Cycle Race Team sent 6 riders to the Castle Combe circuit in Wiltshire for what turned out to be a very good day’s racing yesterday (Sunday).
When the team visited just over a year ago, temperatures were still very wintry, but this time the sun was out and it was a very warm day.
In the opening 4th category race, Ed Sutton – fresh from his breakaway heroics last week, Ian Hayden and Matt Allsopp took the start line. With the wind a strong factor, the three Wightlink-LCM Systems CRT riders stuck together and stayed near, but never on, the front of the bunch.
The pace increased throughout the 30-minute plus 2 lap race, and coming into the last lap Sutton and Hayden guided Allsopp to the front quarter of the bunch, where they held their position. Coming out of the last corner, Sutton did a great stint for his teammate and kicked through the bunch before peeling off. Hayden then took over and dug in to deliver Allsopp up the home straight. Still with much to do, Allsopp put in a huge effort to pull away from the bunch and win the sprint, taking second overall and gaining more points towards his third category licence.
Next up, James Ebdon, Sam Baker and Kev Foster lined up in the 3rd category race. By now, the wind had picked up and the strength of the field made the threat of a split very likely. This tactic was clearly on the mind of some of the other teams as the pace was high from the off, but no breakaway attempts lasted.
With three of the 17 laps left, a very threatening split blew the peloton apart. Quick to the danger, Foster drilled himself to drag Baker and Ebdon across to the lead group, before peeling off and rolling round with the remainder of the main peloton, as his teamwork for the day was done.
Still with a lot to do, Baker shepherded Ebdon round the second to last lap, before Ebdon latched onto a rapid sprint train that was leading a frenetic front group. Staying glued to this, he held tight through the last corner and into the home straight before coming around most of the group to take 4th in the bunch sprint.