The club had three riders entered for the Rockingham Forest Wheelers 2-day race: Dan Baxter, Richard Ostler and David Palmer, second claim member Gareth Smith was also racing for Peterborough CC. Based from the Wheeler's club house, the race format started with a 3 mile TT Saturday morning followed by a 50mile road race in the afternoon. Stage 3 on Sunday was a 56 mile road race.
Stage 1: Time trial
The TT course was flattish, straightish and directly into a headwind - not a fun way to start the day. David set the fastest time for SNCC with 7.02, but someway down on the leader with 6.35. Richard, getting over a cold, followed on 7.25. Unfortunately Dan, along with a bunch of other riders didn't check in with the commissaries so gained a 15s time penalty for an overall time of 7.28.
Stage 2: Ashley circuit road race
The Ashley circuit is a rolling one, punctuated by the Bringhurst climb and the first attack, not surprisingly came here on the first lap. 2 riders stayed off the front for over a lap before being absorbed back in, then more attacks came. The pace was fast, but the bunch was sketchy and some nervy braking made for a tense race. On the last lap David made an attack, not his first in the race either, but with not enough riders willing to work, it couldn't be made to stick. Dan had a go just past Ashley and Gareth was up the front too, but again no rider or group could make a decisive break. Onto the finishing straight and riders started jostling for position, but this is a hard finish with a tight right hand bend 250m from the finish line. On this finish you need to either be at the very front contesting the win, or at the back and out of trouble - everyone in the bunch would get the same time so nothing would be gained from sprinting for 20th. But some riders did and the inevitable crash happened. Short of the bend 4 or 5 riders went down hard. The SNCC riders stayed out of trouble, but it was a sobering end to the race.
Stage 3: Great Easton circuit road race.
If a circuit features a climb called the Devils Staircase, you can probably guess this is not going to be an easy circuit. Add to that the, wind, rain and a road surface freshly dressed with chippings; you might call it a day for the hardmen. There were fewer cars parked at HQ and a number of riders, Dan included, DNS'd. The race was neutralised to Great Easton and the start of the Staircase. Under other circumstances the Devils Staircase is a nice climb. It starts off rising gently for about 2km and affords stunning views across Eyebrook Reservoir and the Rutland Countryside. There is a sharp little dip where you loose some of the height gained, then the road ramps up to a little over 10% to the top. We only had to do it 6 times. First time around, on the steepest section, the race leader, KOM Jersey and David attacked. It split the bunch. Richard was caught on the wrong side. A lead group of just over 20 riders established followed by a smaller group including Richard and Gareth, the later unfortunately dropped when a loose chipping got stuck between his rim and break pad. By the final lap the lead group had established a 9 minute lead over the second group and through a combination of punctures and attrition been worn down to just 17 riders. David contested the sprint to finish a very creditable second, while Richard finished in what was left of the second group.
David's stage 3 finish bumped him up to 12th in the overall standings while Richard finished 29th from the 70 original starters.
- Richard O