Saturday Broughton Hall SkiptonThe same venue as last year but the course had been laid out on a different part of the grounds and was far superior. A good mix of flowing grass hillside, a bit of mud, barriers and a beer tent! A tremendous turnout for the 'Belgians and lots of pre-race catching up as well as coffee, beer and crepes/frites to be had. The only slight letdown was the parking and although it was a very pretty walk to the course it was a fair distance especially for riders with young offspring riding in the earlier races. Although we were lucky with the rain there could have been some interesting mud related moments completely unconnected to bikes as people tried to exit the carpark field (memories of the KIMM) ;-)
|Nick rocking his new tubs|
Another battle of a race to move up through the field - thankfully the course was flowing with no real bottle necks so it was a matter of hammering it but avoiding errors. There were also lots of friends/team mates/rivals to chase and pick off on the way which was a great motivator. The slippery corners were a definite aid to the 'tub' equipped - I was running Supermuds at around 23-24psi and had no issues whereas better riders than me were struggling on clinchers. The bell lap came and I could see Stefan ahead (he'd had a few cornering issues on clinchers) and just piped him coming over the barriers to the finish.
|Carl hadn't got the memo re Flanders socks and it cost him dear ;-)|
Rich Allen 9th
Brent Carr 28th
Paul Nutton 30th
Carl Nelson 36th
Nick Waggett 40th
Rich Brewster 50th
Bruce Attwood 63rd
Andrew Bernard 67th
Alison Crutchley DNF - crashed then got run over by Steve resulting in a broken saddle - Steve did apologise and offer to replace the saddle though :-)
Ricky Feather DNF - wrong tyres Grommit! ;-)
|Beer and Crepes!|
Sunday Phillips Park ManchesterLiterally next door to the Velodrome this was an interesting venue for Jo and I as we used to live just down the road. Jo's house was compulsorily purchased as part of the re-development that gave rise to the velodrome and 'Alan Turing Way' road!
Super easy parking at the velodrome and access to the course were a bonus. The course was another good 'un with a mixture of fast flowing grass sections including the novel 'spiral of doom', technical woodland descent, deep mud and a brutal short sharp tarmac climb. Great to catch up with Duncan the founder (along with Al) of Here Come The Belgians, it's his graphic design that you see on the kit though he has moved on to other projects such as Superouler now. Emma and Ali were there too though Ali had opted not to race (boo!). Bernie was the only other Belgian to race so we were a little thin on the ground - most of the regulars had opted for the Huddersfield Yorkshire Points race. Whilst warming up I bumped into Tony who was keen to join HCTB so perhaps we'll have more of a presence next year ;-) Good to briefly cat up with Mr Haygarth (and his bike hiding hijinx) as well as Al who were both in a spectating supporting role.
No gridding but a nice wide starting 'track' meant another lung buster to get somewhere 'up there' and then settle in. The course was continually interesting and varied though I'm not sure about the 'spiral of doom'. It is certainly novel and amusing for spectators but perhaps less so for riders.
|Entering the 'Spiral of Doom'|
Rich Allen 8th
Andrew Bernard 48th