CYCLING: Witham Wheelers road races attract full fields

GT Ellingworth Trophy winner Adam Egner heads the bunch, with Robert McAndrew in support not far behind. Photo: Alan East
GT Ellingworth Trophy winner Adam Egner heads the bunch, with Robert McAndrew in support not far behind. Photo: Alan East

Witham Wheelers promoted their two annual British Cycling road races, which both attracted full 60-rider fields on Bank Holiday Monday.

Both races were based on the challenging 12-mile circuit from Hungerton to Saltby, Sroxton, Skillington and back via Ponton Heath. Although it does not have any big hills, the rolling nature of the roads always makes for hard, attritional racing.

The morning’s GT Ellingwoth race over 48 miles for 3 and 4 category riders saw some short lived breaks over the first couple of laps, but it was not until the last lap that three riders went clear and quickly built up a one minute lead over the bunch, with another three riders chasing in the middle.

This was how it stayed to the finish, with the leading groups splitting up over the top of the final hill and on to the 1km drag to the finish line. Joshua Ravn (Wolds Top Activ) from Hull proved the strongest, from Samuel Woodfield (Peterborough CC) and James Harworth (Univ Warwick)

The best of the local riders was Adam Egner in 10th overall, taking the GT Ellingworth Trophy for first junior rider, with Robert McAndrew close behind in 14th and Ehren Courtman 23rd

The afternoon GA Bennett RR over six-and-three-quarter laps for E123 category riders saw a high pace throughout, with an average of almost 27mph for the 83 miles.

It was not until the third lap that a break of seven, including local rider Karl Baillie (Giant Rutland Wattbike) managed to push out a 30-second lead. However, with some of the teams not represented, the pressure was always on from the bunch and the break never got to more than a minute, and the gap was closing near the end of lap five.

As the bell rang for the last lap, it looked like the bunch was going to split as more riders attached over the hill, as the rain increased and the temperature dropped, but a slowing over Ponton Heath allowed a regrouping of the bunch

Jake Tanner (Cycling Sheffield) took advantage of the lull and jumped away on his own and quickly built up a lead, with no-one in the tiring bunch willing to commit to the chase other than Ed Porteus (Wellingborough Cycles).

At the finish, Tanner held on to win by 27 seconds from Porteus, with Ollie Peckover (365 4 Bike Academy) leading in the bunch 12 seconds further back

Of the local riders, Peter Cocker (Giant Rutland Wattbike) was 15th, fading in the sprint from a good position on the final hill, with Steve Young (Giant Rutland Wattbike) 26th, Reece Egner (Witham Wh) 28th and Karl Baillie 44th

Many thanks to PedalPushers (The Ultimate Bike Shop) for their continued support of these races, and all the club members who came out on the day to make for some safe and enjoyable racing.

l A strong westerly breeze slowed riders in the seventh round of the Witham Wheelers 10-mile handicap time trial league on Tuesday night.

First was John Pilgrim in 22min 43sec, whilst Carol Milne was first lady in 28:48. Fastest juvenile was Joshua Gibson in 30:19, whilst Andrea Egner won the handicap first prize with a 28-second improvement. Michael Smalley was leading veteran.

New riders are invited to this Tuesday’s league 10TT. Sign on after 6pm at Grantham Cricket Club on Gorse Lane. First rider starts at 6.45pm. All welcome.

Results: 1 John Pilgrim 22:43, 2 Henry Gould 24:28, 3 Mick Egner 25:39, 3 Michael Smalley 25:39, 5 Chris Crawford 26:54, 6 Nev Chamberlain 27:57, 7 Gavin Kettle 28:15, 8 Carol Milne 28:48, 9 Bill Harrison 28:56 PB, 10 Phil Smith 29:05, 11 Dave Herd 29:06, 12 Tracey George 29:07, 13 Wayne Searle 29:09, 14 Phil Gibson 29:54, 15 Joshua Gibson 30:19, 16 Barry Gell 30:27, 17 Kevan Woollas 30:51, 18 Julie Clark 31:53, 19 Joshua Kettle 32:07, 20 Vicky Safarris 32:46, 21 Andrea Egner 33:12, 22 Eleanor Crawford 33:20, 23 Evangeline Searle 37:04.