Yorkshire Road Race Championships

22nd May 2011
Elite/2nd/3rd - 142KM/88 miles

Sunday saw the Yorkshire Division Road Race Championships promoted by Sheffrec CC return to Denby Dale, venue for the 2009 Championships, which was won by Tom Barras.

In the Elite/2nd/3rd (88 mile) race Barras (Cycle Premier Metaltek) was once again on the start line as one of the pre race favourites, along with recent Lincoln GP winner Scott Thwaites (Endura Racing), local lad and defending Champion Tom Murray (Sigmasport Specialized Cycling Team) and a strong team from Sportcover Strategic Altura, which included the experienced Kevin Dawson and John Tanner.

Full support from the National Escort Group Motorcycle riders ensured a safe passage for the race

The early morning downpour that most woke up to had thankfully cleared and the race rolled away under bright sunshine, but with a fierce wind that was to hammer riders all race. The action was under way on lap one, with a number of riders trying to break away, Sportcover were using their numbers to make the favourites do the chasing early on, but the major news was Tom Barras (Cycle Premier Metaltek) had suffered a rear wheel puncture and was chasing hard to get back on. The wind was wrecking havoc in the bunch with some riders unable to hold the wheel in front and slipping out of the pack, never to be seen again.

Tom Barras (Cycle Premier Metaltek) suffers a rear wheel puncture on lap one

Scott Thwaites (Endura Racing) and Iona Sewell (Squadra Donne/Bike Food) on lap one.

Sportcover continued to send riders up the road with Matthew Robinson (All Terrain Cycles) and Jack Cutsforth (Herbalife/Wheelbase) playing close attention at the head of the race, while Murray and Thwaites sat in the front group along side Barras, who had rejoined the group after a long chase.

Dawson leading Gilham (left) and Jake tanner & Matthew Robinson on the attack (right)

Riders on one of the many short climbs

With 50 miles to go Tom Murray had made the only significant move of the day and held a lead of 2 minutes as he crossed the line with 4 laps to go, once again it was Robinson chasing, this time with Kevin Dawson (Sportcover Strategic Altura). The main field with the rest of the favourites came though a further 90 seconds down. One lap later the Robinson and Dawson had been hauled back to the main group, with Barras and Cutsforth driving the chase.

Murray goes clear, with his chasers in the distance

Ashley Proctor (Sheffrec CC) leads Joseph Moses (Paul Milnes Cycles) in the Junior event

With 2 laps to go the heavens opened and those brave souls still in the race were hit by hail stones, Murray still had over 2 ½ minutes in hand but the chasing group were clearly upping their effort. Going though the bell, Murray was still out on his own, but the chase driven by Robinson was gradually eating into his lead, whilst Kit Gilham (Sigmasport Specialized Cycling Team) played the team card and sat on Barras wheel.

Barras drives the main group in the sunshine (left), with Thwaites driving it in the rain (right)

To most people’s surprise a group of 6 came into view at the bottom of the finishing straight, with Murray nowhere in sight (his efforts had taken their toll and he’d been caught with half a lap to go). Barras and Thwaites were clearly the two strongest sprinters and had pulled clear of the others with 200 meters to go. But in the dash for the line they drifted dangerously to their right, with Thwaites catching the edge of a parked car and going down hard a long with Barras, Gilham who’d already settled for 3rd, saw his chance, swerved hard to avoid the tangled riders on the floor in front of him and raised his arms as victor, ahead of Sportcover riders Dawson and Moralee. Robinson took a well-earned fourth, with Barras and Thwaites taking 5th and 6th. Murray rolled in 8th 2 minutes down, but at least he had a smile on his face.

Thwaites (left) & Barras (right) come crashing down

Kit Gilham celebrates his win

Daniel Storey (Sheffrec CC) leads the rest of the peleton home

Kit Gilham & Tom Murray (Sigmasport Specialized Cycling Team)

Women - 55KM/34 miles

The Women’s race was torn apart on lap one. Iona Sewell (Squadra Donne/Bike Food) quickly opened up a lead of over 1 minute on Samantha Buckingham (Wakefield CC/Exponential) within half a lap of their 55KM race, with the rest of the field over 3 minutes behind, they played no further part. As the race went on the two riders came together and rode together with Buckingham taking the sprint at the end of a very hard race.

Buckingham sprinting for the line & post race, happy with a surprise win

Juniors & Masters - 88KM/55 miles

The race for Junior’s and Masters the field stayed together more on the opening laps. In the Masters event Peak RC could be seen at the head of affairs in numbers, whilst in the Junior race Ashley Proctor (Sheffrec CC) could be seen doing large turns on the front. Paul Bell (Peak RC) took the honours in the Masters (2nd Vet), from Paul Dixon (VS Cycles) and Steve Gibson made it a great day for Peak RC with third place.

Edward McParland (GT Racing UK) got the better of Proctor in the Junior race with Joesph Moses (Paul Milnes Cycles) third.

Edward McParland (GT Racing UK) takes the Junior honours and Paul Bell (Peak RC) the Masters

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