An all too rare return to the Hopton Chapel –Tern Hill course saw some fast times in glorious warm and almost still conditions as Wrekinsport CC promoted the Coaching Revolutions Shropshire Championship 10. With County medals and trophies on offer David Griffiths took The Gordon Davies Trophy and County 10 Gold on his first experience of this fast course – on the first occasion it has not been blowing a gale to disprove those credentials. Oswestry Paragon’s Griffiths dipped under the 20 minute mark by a single second, just exceeding 30mph and is no stranger to titles, having won bundles before moving from Scotland. He stated: “I was very pleased to win my first event with 'Champs' in the title for a couple of years. I'd not ridden the course before, but the first half felt very fast. I was worried I might've overcooked it, accelerating up again after a complete stop at the first roundabout, as I had been trying to save something for the return leg. The final two miles were much slower and very painful! Thanks once again to the organisers and volunteers”.
Griffiths’ final comment shows how the course can catch out the unwary, with a distinct gradient for half a mile either side of Espley roundabout just when effort is needed for the final push to the finish line. Griffiths’ nearest challenger was Nova Raiders’ Dean Callister, taking Silver in 20:22 after pushing out Holohan Coaching’s Kirk Vickers by just three seconds. Callister wasn’t finished there however, leading Nova Raiders to Team 10 Gold, with Andrew Lacon and Andy Rose providing solid backup to finish in a combined 1:03:56, pushing out Wrekinsport by 1:23. Callister was delighted with his brace of medals, stating: “I always enjoy this course; however I’ve never raced it in low wind conditions so it was a first for that. A great day for it and we managed to miss the rain. I was really pleased with my effort as the last mile is always tough. Well done, and a great ride by David Griffiths to take the win. Great to see the rest of the team on top form also to take the Team Gold - thanks to Wrekinsport for a top day”.
Lacon was surprised to have won a medal when told, with his strong 21:23 good enough for 7th Overall. However his comments appear to reveal he suffered on the harder return leg: “The ride didn’t quite go to plan personally after a good first half, but I’m really happy with the Team Gold. Another strong performance as a team, I really enjoy racing with such great riders! Thanks as always for the organisation”.
Rose capped taking a medal with a huge personal best of 22:11. He added: “I had an easy week to ensure my legs were fresh and it paid off with a 42 second course personal best. I really enjoyed the race, but the last 1½ miles never gets easier - thanks to all the volunteers and race organisers”.
Callister wasn’t the only Nova Raider going home with a brace of medals as Deb Hutson-Lumb took double Gold in the Veteran’s 10 mile Championship and the Women’s Championship too. Hutson-Lumb set a great Veteran’s Standard of +6:24 to relegate Friction Veteran’s Series leader Tim Beardmore to the Silver medal position with +5:42, and set an unbeatable 23:37 on actual to beat Market Drayton CC’s Alison Dockney by 1:07. Having had some time away from racing due to injury Hutson-lumb is clearly back to full form and was pleased to take The Gordon Davies Women's Trophy – although she did have an appeal: “I’m enjoying being back racing, and winning the Championship 10 is a real bonus. It would be great to see more women on the start sheet next year - an excellent event, thank you Wrekinsport CC”.
Beardmore was happy with his ride to take Veteran’s Silver, pushing out Wrekinsport’s Chris Halford to Bronze in +5:06 – just, as Halford beat team mate Rob Jackson by a single second to win that medal. Beardmore’s comments reflect many riders’ feelings about the Hodnet bypass: “I always enjoy this course, although the last two miles is tough. I gave it everything and managed a power PB. Congratulations to all the medallists, and many thanks to all Wrekinsport CC for organising”.
Dockney wasn’t pleased with her ride however, describing it as “Not my finest”. Despite this her 24:44 effort gained Women’s Silver, and she had praise for the victor: “Thanks to the wonderful marshals at Tern Hill for hearty encouragement as I was in traffic at the roundabout! Congratulations Deb on a great ride for the women's win; and thanks Wrekinsport hosting the event and supporting West Midlands Air Ambulance charity”.
Women’s Bronze went to another Oswestry Paragon rider, Helen Tudor, ensuring a good day for the club with Helen Tudor stopping the watch on 27:16. She commented: “Thanks to Wrekinsport for putting on the event, it was good to have the chance to use the course again. I was pleased that the rain held off after getting soaked in my last two races”!
In the Junior 10 Championship Henri Bedford showed just why he’s taken the Junior Series in record time by helping himself to Junior 10 Gold with a strong 4th place Overall. Bedford ended his afternoon on 20:45 but was frustrated that traffic held him up: “A really nice course and good weather made for a fast afternoon. Fast on the way out, but I got caught up by a slow moving tractor. Big thanks to Wrekinsport CC for hosting”.
But Wrekinsport’s Ben Southgate ended his afternoon happy with a massive personal best in his first ever Open event of 24:16 to take Junior Silver. He stated: “I was really pleased to get Silver; the hard work is paying off. Thanks for the encouragement from the members of Wrekinsport”.