THE weekend’s deluge soon gave a big event promoted by Harborough-based Welland Valley Cycling Club a sinking feeling.
Atrocious conditions greeted the 50-plus riders who drifted away from the start line in the centre of Owston village to contest the Cicle Classic Kermesse.
The intrepid group faced a gruelling 35 miles as the rain lashed down, the wind increased and temperatures plummeted.
Organiser Dean Barnett said: “The Kermesse circuit is mega-hard on a good day. It was very evident after only a couple of miles that this was going to be a very challenging day for riders, officials, marshals and a small cluster of spectators.
“As the rain water started to run off the surrounding farmland, streams that normally have a trickle of water were now a torrent. Standing water was also starting to have a major impact on the event.”
As the race completed lap one, Peter Cocker and Chris Metcalfe had forged clear of a chasing pack of eight riders.
When the leaders reached Marefield Lane there was a fast descent into a valley where the river had burst its banks and the water across the road was over a foot deep and increasing, raising concerns for the event and the scheduled Rutland-Melton International to follow.
It was decided that the Kermesse would complete only one further lap. As the leading duo took the bell, Lee Wiggington had broken clear from a group being led by Matthew Neel, Asa Ellkington and the promoting club’s Phil Rayner.
Information was coming back to the event HQ that the road conditions had deteriorated greatly in a short period of time.
Fifteen riders had passed the finish line and started the bell lap, and as more approached the bell they were stopped and told to head back to the HQ. There were no complaints from any of the riders, more displayed a look of relief that they could enjoy the excellent hospitality and warmth on offer at Owston Village Hall.
With 15 intrepid racers still fighting for ranking points they were being shepherded by a committed group of marshals from Welland Valley CC, Rutland Velo and Fenland Clarion.
Metcalfe gradually eased away from the 16-year-old Cocker and he climbed through Owston village to secure a well-deserved victory. Wiggington stormed to an excellent third.
First veteran home and the winner of Magnum of Duval was Rayner in sixth place.
As this race finished, the attention of the promoting club turned to the logistics of the elite race. They rose to the challenge to ensure a diversion could be accommodated by extending the circuit by three miles to bypass the torrent which had now become impassable by vehicles.
Barnett added: “On an ultra difficult day and in abysmal conditions the safe passage of the Cicle Classic Kermesse and Rutland-Melton International was made possible by a great group of people.
“The way all reacted to the changing circumstances in both races was magnificent.”
On Tuesday last week it was a case of what might have been for Tim Smith in Welland Valley CC’s 7.6-mile time trial.
He smashed his previous course record with a time of 18mins 48secs and in the process was the first rider under 19 minutes on the new course. However he took a wrong turn during the ride, costing him time and a bigger winning margin.
Peter Watson nearly joined Smith’s elite 18-minute club, posting a time of 19.08 to earn him second place on the night, ahead of Sam Crabtree, third in 19.34.
Matt Plews finished three seconds of Crabtree, recording 19.37 to take fourth and Lee Edmonds took fifth with 20.09.
The Killworth/Garratt battle was won by Louis Killworth, riding to a time of 21.44 to his clubmate’s time of 21.59.
Jake Hubbard and Jack Hall put in excellent rides, with times of 21.30 and 20.58 respectively.
Linda Hubbard was the fastest lady rider on the night with 22.20.
Sam Crabtree wins the series overall.
Results: Tim Smith 18.48, Peter Watson 19.08, Sam Crabtree 19.34, Matt Plews 19.37, Lee Edmonds 20.09, Hans Van Nierop 20.21, Jack Hall 20.58, Jake Hubbard 21.3, Nick Clarke 21.36, Loz Cox 21.39, Louis Killworth 21.44, Tom Harrison 21.57, James Garratt 21.59, Rob Hammond 22.07, Mitch James 22.11, Linda Hubbard 22.2, Matt Clasper 22.28, Adrian Stewart 22.35, Kevin Mills 22.42, David Robertson 22.44, Jonathan Durnin 23, Simon Ward 23.08, Richard Stannard 23.15, David Wilson 23.43, Jeff Green 24.37, Katie Hubbard 25.52, Richard Griffiths 25.57, Andrew Weatherby 26.01, Jack Roginski 26.15, Josh Van Nierop 26.31
Only 35 riders contested the third round of the Northants Cycle Racing Association Late Spring Handicap series on Saturday.
The race was over three wet and windswept laps of the exposed Great Gidding-Sawtry circuit.
John Ellis of Welland Valley CC, riding his first road race for 22 years, was duly given a favourable handicap but showed immediately that he had lost little over those years.
He rode well clear in lap one and went further and further ahead to win by over two minutes in 1hr 24.18.
Following on, battered by the elements into an orderly procession, were Kev Hardwick of 45 Road Club, Joel Lewis of Kettering CC, Callum Grieve of Loughborough Students CC, Blair Adams of Kettering CC, Stuart Lindsey of St Ives CC, Stephen Colbert of Renault Rotor Colbert RT, Luke Hattersley of St Ives CC, Richard Jones of Numplumz Mountain Bikers and Lawrence Cox of Welland Valley CC.
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Weather for Market Harborough
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 4 C to 9 C
Wind Speed: 29 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 6 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: North