CYCLING: Witham Wheelers in first road race

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A GOOD contingent of Witham Wheelers took part in their first road race outing of the season at Darley Moor last Saturday, but came away without any prizes.

The races saw big fields of riders eager to try out early season fitness, with 140 on the start line for the Category 3/4 event. Returning to racing after a five-year break, Sean Culpin unluckily punctured after two of the 22 laps. Chris Carter found road racing different to time trialling and retired at half distance but enjoyed the experience and will be hoping for better next week. Junior Harry Browning in his first senior race rode well until pushed out on the final hairpin bend. Paul Conneely finished safely in the bunch.

In the youth races, Kerrigan Robb finished in the top 10 in the under-12s and Adam Egner kept going well in the under-14s. In the under-16s, Karl Baillie, James Carter and Reece Egner were all placed well in the big bunch, with Karl finishing in the top 20 and James not far behind. Reece was caught up in a crash as the final sprint started.

Peter Cocker in his first race as a junior (under-18) opted to ride in the Elite/1/2/3 Category 22-lap race and helped instigate the winning break after 10 laps.

Breaking away with two other riders for three laps and then joined by four others, gained a lead of 30 seconds with three laps to go. The extra power of the older riders told and Peter was forced to drop back to the main bunch in which he finished around 20th.

 Seven Witham Wheelers turned out last Sunday for the Bourne Wheelers Hardriders time trial, which included 1,180ft of climbing on the challenging two-lap 22.8-mile course.

Riding the course for the first time, Martin Hedley, John Farmer and Martin Milne rode well and recorded very respectable times. Martin Lister recorded a massive eight minutes improvement on his time from last year and Bill Harrison also took over two and a half mins off his time from 2011. Neil Sentence rode well and was consistent with previous years’ times.

Jim Coleman managed to improve on last year’s time by 3mins 40sec to take the win at an average speed of 27mph. And in doing so he sliced more than two minutes off the previous course record held by James Perkins (Zenith RT) who could only manage fourth place.

Results: Jim Coleman 50.40, Neil Sentence 1.02.08, Bill Harrison 1.03.13, Martin Hedley 1.04.44, John Farmer 1.05.23, Martin Milne 1.06.06, Martin Lister 1.10.49.

 Last Sunday’s 64-mile reliability route took riders on a circuit from Grantham and round the bottom of Rutland Water into some lovely but hilly countryside.

The penultimate ride in the series takes in another 64-mile route tackling most of the hills in the Vale of Belvoir, with the first group leaving at 8.30am from Grantham Cricket Club in Gorse lane.

Shorter routes are available for the less energetic.

Results (average speed mph): Dave Beckett 14.2, Paul Fairey 14.2, Louise George 14.2, Tony Hardenberg 14.2, Carol Milne 14.2, Phil Atherton 17.0, Robert Barrett-Duckett 17.0, Simon Cocker 17.0, Richard Ellingworth 17.0, Phil Etches 17.0, Tony Mendham 17.0, Matt Pennifold 17.0, John Pygott 17.0, Harry Browning 17.8, Karl Baillie 19.0, Llewey Byrne 19.6, Peter Cocker 19.6, Martyn Ludlam 19.6, Russell Openshaw 19.6, Chris Sammler 19.6, Blake Conley DNF.