SERRL reports 2003

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Updated 28 May 2003

SERRL Round 6-Benenden 120k 1/2/3/4 - May 2003

Already round 6 of the SERRL race series, scary, just where has this season gone! This was the first long one of the series and was back on the Benenden circuit, an interesting rolling circuit with a few testing climbs thrown in. I was joined by James Peckham, who was looking forward to this after a strong performance in the 160k Fred Cowley Memorial race.

The usual suspects lined up with the exception of the Gemini boys who were hosting the event. There were a number of attempts to get away early, however it was a strong field and the bunch was in no mood to let anyone gain too much time. Both myself and James P were feeling strong, however we resisted the temptation to get carried away early on and sat in for the first lap.

On Lap two Mark Powell (VC Deal) and Chris Millets (London Fire Brigade) got out of sight quickly on the long flat section. A lap later three more rolled off and soon joined to make it five, they were Kevin Tye (Posh Bikes), Ashley Holding (GB Cycles) and Ray Palin (Kingsnorth International).

At this point we were both looking to get into breaks, and managed to get into some very useful looking ones, only for them to be pulled back as no-one wanted to work. We thought it was very negative riding at times as people were happy to chase wheels and close gaps, but when they got the gap, they were unwilling to commit. This was a bit frustrating, however it did have the effect of speeding up the bunch, particularly when James P managed to get clear with another rider for a while and the effect was to keep the breakaway at about 30 - 40 seconds.

Eventually with two laps to go it was finally reeled in on the hill to Rolvenden. Andy Meilak (Posh Bikes), Nick Cheetham (Dulwich) and Julian Clark (private) made a number of short lived attacks and at three quarters of a lap to go it was altogether still with about 35 riders.

With many tired legs now suffering, it was again Mark Powell (VC Deal) who attacked on the steep flick around the back and Andy Meilak went with him. The bunch didn't respond much with one or two trying but failing to get over to Meilak and Powell, including Palin. On the long stretch the bunch really slowed down with 5-6 miles to go and the two escapees were nearly out of site. It was then that Hill (Arctic) attacked from the back of the bunch to get an instant gap. I found myself at the front of the bunch and was surprised to see that I had drifted off the front. It was at this point that I decided to also attack and I set off after Mark Hiill Hill caught Palin and I then caught both of them on one of the climbs after chasing for about a mile. I went straight to the front and shelled out Palin and then began to work with Hill to try and stay away. As the road flicked up for the undulating ride to Rolvenden, I dropped Mark Hill and found myself out on my own. Mark started coming back on the flater section and I decided to wait for him as it was going to be tight to stay away. With about 200 metres to go, I put a big turn in and managed to drop Mark and ended up finishing 3rd, about 100 metres short of the two original breakaways. Just to round off another good SERRL race for De Laune, James Peckham got 7th in the bunch sprint and claimed 11th place. I now have 45 points as a second cat after 6 races. Although I am still a long way off the 100 points required for a first cat licence, I am pleased with my progress and feel as if I am riding well. It is a shame that I have not been able to do any more racing but just too many commitments these days. There is plenty more racing to come though as Mountain bike racing every Wednesday night returns and there is the 24 hour Reb Bull race and L'etape to keep me focused. Watch this space!

LETT James De Laune CC
HILL Mark Artic-Shorter Rochford R T
HOLDING Ashley GB Cycles
UPHILL Jeremy Pearsons Cycles R.T.
WINTON Mark Lewes Wanderers
CHEETHAM Nick Dulwich Paragon
JORDAN Ivan Jim Walker RT
ALDERSON Paul Team Luciano
PECKHAM James De Laune CC
COLBEAR Jon Ashford Wheelers
SIMMONDS Mark Gravesend CC
FLIGHT Alan Team Luciano
TOWENER Jez Kingsnorth Int. Wheelers

Surrey League: Cutmil 3/4/V/J/W 14th October 2001

Well I know I said that I had finished for the season well I lied. Just 2 points away from my 2nd cat couldn't resist. James Lett joined me for this little jaunt, his first race since July and his wedding.

Cutmil is the old favourite and James Lett and I have enjoyed some success there so I was hopeful, James however, suffering with a hangover, was not so hopeful. It started pretty quick and pace did not really ease up. Not many people where able to attack with a lot of riders seemingly willing to sit on the front riding fast tempo? Tried a break about half-way with a couple strong juniors but decided not to carry it on, too many riders willing to do turns on the front, very negative but that's 3rd cat racing. On the penultimate lap someone got away and dangled 200 - 300m off the front for just over a lap. As the got caught I went for the counter attack drove hard of the front hoping that someone would come with me. Not that sort of race, lots of people towing nobody attacking. Well I dug in for 5km or so but couldn't break the tow so eased into the bunch.

Into the finale and I was fast recovering so eased back up the bunch, someone almost crashed on my left so I attacked right with 2 - 3 others. No one fell so it came back together 2 km too the finish. Those that have sat on for the duration sat coming forward, why do people tow them round? I started losing places and was having to fight hard on the outside to maintain position. Then James reappeared (had not seen him most of the race) and towed me to the front, star performance. Hit the lower slop of the finishing climb and went to the front driving hard, someone came round so jumped onto his wheel, 200m to go, go again 100m to go leading but dyeing fast 3 hangers on come past I come in 4th almost puking. James came in with the bunch an excellent performance after so much time off and the last bit of teamwork really helped.

Mission accomplished I am now a 2nd cat.

Avec Le broom wagon.

James Peckham


Short race report:

19th Aug 2001
SERRL Sevenoaks Weald. 2/3/4/j

Well after missing so much early season racing due to Foot and Mouth, August brought us April weather just to remind us what we missed. To say it was wet would be an understatement. Arrived early and started prepping myself, snorkel, goggles etc and in walks Alan Male. So it looks like it is Alan and myself representing the club in this wet one, quite surprising really because Alan is well known for his dislike of wet weather or mud.

The race started in the usual manner attack after attack, I was in some of these half breaks, riding well near the front monitoring or attacking myself. Eventually on lap 2, two managed to snap the elastic and got away, never to be seen again. The remaining 8 laps continued the same routine hard attacks with lots of bridging efforts whittling the bunch down too about 25 riders.

I gave it one last shot with two laps to go but was closed down and then struggled to hold the front half of the bunch as the splitting continued 2 more got away and stayed out until the finish, down to 4th gone. The remaining places where fought out in a sprint which I got 7th in the bunch 11th overall. At last my second cat license was in the bag, but no officially we had only completed 98km therefore points down to 10th! Bah.

With 3 elite or 1st cat races left looks like I will start next year with my 3rd cat license still, oh well least I might win something then.

Alan did very well and finished in the bunch.

James Peckham

Race Report:

Surrey League 12th Aug 2001
 NinField. Cat 3/4/J

First time I had raced this circuit so was not sure what to expect. It had a bit for everyone 2 or 3 hills and a long 'fast' downhill along an 'A' road.

On this day the long 'fast' A road was into a howling gale so speed was not high. The wind made the difference and of the 60 odd who started, the final bunch was whittled down to about 25 ish. I was feeling good and managed to get into 3 out of 4 breaks, unfortunately, you guessed it the fourth break got away with two laps to go. Six in the break small bunch uphill finish shouldn't be a problem. 1.5 km from the finish moving up the bunch to get into position for the final push and then a twinge, then a tightening, then ping both calves cramp out, try to hold the bunch, no have to stop and stretch. So nothing to show for my labours, am looking forward to next weekend when the boys get it together once more.

James Peckham

Weekend 9/10 June 2001

Race Report: 10th June 01
Race: Surrey League
Circuit:  Lyne
Cat: 3/4/J/W 

Reporter: James Peckham

Welcome to my second race report for the month of June. After my adventure racing shoulder to shoulder, well more like groveling in the wake, with ex-national champions I returned to my true level cat 3/4 Surrey league. The race 09:30 Sunday 10th June, the circuit Lyne, just North of Woking. The Lyne circuit is a pretty easy circuit, 2 short climbs evenly spaced make this, unfortunately a negative race. At the Cat 3/4 level, race winning breaks rarely happen and a sprint is the norm. With this in mind I decided to attack at every opportunity, and attack I did.

 The best chance came after 35km of racing, 6 of use drove off the front over the longer climb and the hammer went down. I think this was the first time I had really experienced a well organised through and off break at 45 – 50 km/hr. I was thinking there was no-way we would get pulled back, 2-3 managed to bridge and join us and for several miles the bunch hovered at 200-300 metres, surely we shall succeed. The group had representatives from all the larger teams, the bunch must give in soon. I look back, 2 Twickenham are driving the front, hang on??? There are 3 Twickenham in the group??? Nice tactics, at this point the steam started to go from the break, I try countering with a guy from BA - its closed down, a sprint it shall be.

The last few laps a spent with several futile attacks and I hover around the front policing dangerous ones. Any strong boys go I jump across and work it, normally the wind defeats us. Last lap jockeying for sprint position begins. The finish is always dangerous here. A fairly narrow road with a lot of traffic leads through to a gentle uphill finish. If you do not stay in the top 6 forget it. Elbows and knees out swearing and cursing begin. I use the cars coming the other way as blockers and stay wide just sheltered waiting for the loon to go early and start the sprint. A Farnborough chap obliges, I am 4th in line perfect, one by on they die, the guy in front dies a little soon but I dig in and power towards the line. 30m from the line, still out in front, 20m a hear someone coming round me, damn just to strong, takes me 10m from the line, second.

Feel pretty pleased with that as my aim was to train for the Zipvitt race Sunday 17th, that’s why I attacked with everything. Need a top 6 finish for selection to the National finals. On present form well up for it.

Regards the Broomwagon.

James P.

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