There was good local representation in the British Cycling East Midlands Regional Road Race Championships, held over seven-and-a-half laps of a rolling 11-mile circuit near Little Bytham.
With a 65-rider field of mixed ability from Elite full time riders to third category, this is always a prestigious race to win.
By the end of the first full lap, a break of 20 riders was already established with more than a one minute lead, including Grantham riders Karl Baillie, Steve Young and Peter Cocker, all riding for the Giant Rutland Wattbike team.
With the quality of the riders in the break, it was always going to be difficult for the bunch, including Witham Wheelers Reece Egner, Adam Egner and Llewey Byrne, to get back to the front of the race, even at this early stage. And so it proved, with the break gradually stretching its lead and riders dropping out of the bunch as the distance took its toll.
Into the last lap, and the break split through Witham-on-the Hill as Peter helped apply the pressure, and nine riders went clear including Karl.
Approaching the finish hill with a mile to go, there was a touch of wheels and Peter crashed heavily, leaving Karl to sprint in for sixth behind winner Jacob Tipper (Brother NRG). Steve followed in 10th place while Peter was able to remount and limp home in 17th.
The remains of the bunch, including Llewey, rolled in some five minutes later.
l The 16th and final round of the Witham wheelers 10-mile Time Trial League saw pleasant, calm and dry conditions, and still a good turnout of 27 riders near the end of a long season.
Fastest ride on the evening was John Pilgrim in 22min 26sec, getting the better of Reece Egner by just nine seconds, with Adam Egner just under a minute behind.
Louise George was first lady again in 27:45, from Carol Milne 28:16 and Tracey George 29:03. Of the younger riders, Billy Reed was first in 29:10, from Josh Kettle (30:31).
On handicap, it was Billy making a significant 1:45 improvement in only his second week, fitting some cycling in amidst his regular swim training. Josh also continued his steady improvement by 19 seconds, while Carol Milne recorded her best time in two years by some 13 seconds.
In the veterans, it was as you were with Michael Smalley first on +4:28, from Simon Cocker (+2:35), with Louise George tying with Dave Herd for third on +1:18.
Results: 1 John Pilgrim 22:26, 2 Reece Egner 22:35, 3 Adam Egner 23:21, 4 Adam Madge 24:03 PB, 5 Simon Cocker 24:51, 6 Michael Smalley 24:58, 7 Neil Dowsett 25:00 PB, 8 Henry Gould 25:11, 9 Matthew Kingston-Lee 25:33, 10 Ehren Courtman 25:42 PB, 11 Chris Masters 25:52 PB, 12 Nev Chamberlain 26:32,
13 Gavin Kettle 27:20, 14 Dave Herd 27:34, 15 Louise George 27:45, 16 Bill Harrison 28:10, 17 Guy Haws 28:12, 18 Carol Milne 28:16, 19 Mick Smith 28:19 PB, 20 Tracey George 29:03, 21 Billy Reed 29:10 PB, 22 Julie Clark 30:06, 23 Joshua Kettle 30:31 PB, 23 John Scott 30:31, 25 Barry Gell 32:20, 26 Andrea Egner 32:37, 27 Stephen Wells 33:47.
Subject to final ratification, league competitions finished as follows: Scratch – 1 John Pilgrim 236, 2 Henry Gould 219, 3 Simon Cocker 205; Handicap – 1 Bill Harrison 218, 2 Phil Smith 201, 3 Joshua Kettle 200 (1st Juvenile), 10 Andrea Egner 134 (1st Lady); Veteran – 1 Michael Smalley 240, 2 Simon Cocker 231, 3 Tony Hardenberg 222.
This Tuesday is the Witham Wheelers Hill Climb Championship and freewheel competition, with awards for first Senior, Junior, Juvenile, Lady and Veteran. This takes place on Harby Hill, with the first rider due to start at 6.30pm.
Meet at the bottom of Harby Hill on the Waltham road, approximately halfway between the village of Harby and the Eastwell crossroads. All welcome to have a go.
The following Tuesday (September 5), there will be the usual end of season evening social rides, starting at 7pm from Grantham Cricket Club on Gorse lane, followed by a chance for a drink and a chat.