With the destination of just two pairs of Gold medals resolved before the final round of the UK ICT 2-Up Series that left seven pairs to be won in the second Wrekinsport CC 2-Up. A belated substitution for a cancelled event, eight teams of two took the line on the Shawbirch – Cotwall Bank circuit on a glorious evening. With Nova Raiders’ Graeme Donnell and Andrew Lacon already having sealed Overall Gold that left other riders to try to add a win to their palmarès – with a Stourbridge Velo pair Darren Shaw and Scott O’Neill teaming up for the first time working well together. The pair finished in 22 minutes 19 seconds, with Telford-based SCCA Private Member Shaw enjoying his evening after recovering from O’Neil’s turn of pace, stating: “It was the first time Scott and I have ridden together as a pair and I couldn’t tell if it was a slow night or not because I was struggling on his wheel! We rode well together and on a better night could have dipped under 22 minutes. It was quite fast down the main road, and as usual hard up Cotwall Bank, the hardest bit of the course for me every week though is the little rise just past the bridge – it kills my legs every time! 2-Ups are very different to individual time trials and I recommend everybody give them go. We’d like to thank everybody at Wrekinsport for making us feel very welcome”.
Another first time pairing also put in a strong performance, with Newport Shropshire CC’s John Hines and Ollie Atkin posting a great time of 23:03 to take the runners-up spot – all the more impressive given they were on road bikes and had hold ups to negotiate, as Atkin explained: “John and I put out a decent performance on the night. The time didn’t really reflect our efforts to be honest. Two major traffic hold ups added significantly to our time, but I doubt it would have made a difference to the result, as the Stourbridge team put down a great time. Well done to those guys. It was our first time both representing Newport as a 2-Up. Thank you, as always, to Wrekinsport for putting on a fantastic event - really well marshalled and organised”. Hines added: “We were happy with the result & our time, especially on road bikes. I was lucky on the night that my partner had diamonds in his legs. Congratulations to the winners who put in a great ride”!
If the first two squads were first time pairings that was not the case for Hafren CC’s Emma Serjeant and Mark Hill, who repeated their feat from 2019, the last time this competition could properly be run due to Covid-19 restrictions. Already having won the Mixed Pair Championship again, they added Overall Silver thanks to taking third place on the evening in 23:52, pushing out Paramount CRT pair Eddie Emblen and Chris Riley by seven seconds and putting space between themselves and Mid Shropshire Wheelers’ James Satoor and Ben Pierce who took Overall Bronze as a result. Serjeant was delighted that a Series they have taken to their hearts has again produced dividends, commenting: “I was very happy to retain the Mixed Team Gold and was especially pleased to take Overall Silver - a huge thank you to Mark for being a super 2-Up partner”. Hill added: “A great season to be competing in after Covid-19 ruining so many plans - thanks to all clubs, competitors, and most of all Emma for riding bikes with me”.
With such an impressive maximum possible points tally of 100 points Serjeant and Hill managed to make the Mixed Team Championship their own, with father and daughter team Steve and Charlotte Chapman taking Silver and Market Drayton CC duo of Sarah Grant and Mark Milton the Bronze. Charlotte commented: “We had great fun in the few races we did together, and were surprised to come away with a medal, but not complaining! We hope to do a few more next year as the 2-Ups are always great events”.
If there has been one disappointment this year it’s been the lack of entries from all-female teams as these are an almost guaranteed method of getting quicker in solo events as pairs spur each other on. Normally pushing each other to greater heights in the Wrekinsport Evening 10 Series, Clare Cotterill and Victoria Doran set that normal level of friendly competition to one side to post a great time of 28:44 together – easily their fastest of the season, and taking Women’s Bronze as a result, having to be split from Silver medallists Helen Tudor and Vikki Jones on time per count back rules. Cotterill stated: “It was great fun racing with Vic, we have both pushed each other this season – I put out my highest power on that ride! Huge thanks to all the organisers and marshals”. Doran added: “Normally Clare and I battle it out against each other in the Wrekinsport Evening 10 Series, so it was great to work together in a 2-Up! I think it’s fair to say we both gave it our all and really pushed each other. To get a Bronze medal is the icing on the cake”!
Silver medallist Tudor took that medal with her first ever 2-Up, teaming with Oswestry Paragon team mate Vikki Jones, commenting: “Our first outing as a 2-Up pair, it was great to have the opportunity to give it a go even though our work schedules limited it to one outing - thanks to all the clubs involved”. That left the familiar sight of the Women’s Trophy and Gold medals going to Nova Raiders pair Jenny Newton and Jane Chapman.