The East London club for all kinds of sports cycling

ESL Spring Rumble #2

Both myself (Scarlett) and Ben Preston were due to race the 4th/novices race at the second Eastway Supporters' League Spring Rumble on Saturday 22nd April. It was a glorious afternoon, and I was feeling very confident about picking up some prize money... until I went to sign on and realized I'd left my licence at home. In no position to pay for a £10 day licence, I rode back home to pick it up, and resigned myself to a more gruelling ride in the 2nd/3rd/4th race an hour later.

When I got back to the circuit, I watched the last 5 laps of Ben's race. He was looking very strong, and even sprinted over the line with 3 laps to go, confusing all the spectators for a moment who wondered if it was actually the end. Next time round, recovering from the effort, Ben had drifted back to the middle of the bunch, but as they rounded the final bend, he was back on the front with his eyes firml
y on the finish line. With 50m to go, a number of riders began to ominously fan out across the track and nudge their front wheels up alongside Ben's bike, and it looked like he was going to get pipped at the post...

But no! Showing great determination, Ben found the energy for a final surge, and finished a bike length ahead of his rivals. A fantastic effort, and his first victory. Contrary to initial details on the BCF website, the race was classified as C+, which means he'll earn 10 points, making him a 3rd cat. Who knows, perhaps Ben and Trevor might enter the Lea Valley 1/2/3 road race next year and get some glory for the host club...

The top ten:

1 34 Ben Preston Lea Valley CC 59:47.9
2 8 Dan Schaffer Hardy Athlectics 59:48.0
3 12 Tony Whale PCA/Ciclos Uno 59:48.1 4
4 10 Pete Ruffhead Artic/Shorter 59:48.1
5 35 Chris Bracewell VC Londres 59:48.4
6 33 David Gardner London Dynamo 59:48.5
7 17 Ray Snow Southend Whlrs 59:48.5 4
8 6 Simon Constable Essex Roads CC 59:48.5
9 9 Jeff Tan Dulwich Paragon CC 59:48.6
10 36 Ian Cleverly Mosquito Bikes RT 59:48.7

The pace in the next race was too tough for many (averaging 42km/h), and I had been dropped by the bunch within 2 laps. I decided that there was no way I was going to pay £13 for 5mins riding round Eastway, so I suffered like a dog for 3 laps and finally got back on, dragging someone else with me. Yo-yoing off the back on every corner made it very difficult to recover, and I nearly packed quite a few times during the first 35mins of the race - many did.

There were a couple of crashes (one on the hairpin, and one at high speed on the bend that swoops down into the back straight) but luckily they happened a few bike lengths in front of me and I had time for evasive manoeuvres. With about 5 laps to go, the pace slowed a little as people at the front started to play games with each other (no-one had managed to escape the fast moving bunch for long) and I probably could've moved up towards the front. However, I wasn't feeling gung-ho enough, and decided to be satisfied with finishing in the bunch - good training for next week's 32 lap ECCA 3rd/4th race. In the end, Dominic Gabellini (Rapha/Condor) outsprinted a class field.

Congratulations again to Ben - his weekday residence in the land of Merckx and Boonen seems to be instilling him with a new found class and confidence.