With the SB Series joint leaders Jonathan Mills-Keeling and Tomos Hales both absent chasing riders took the opportunity to make up lost ground in Round 12, Wrekinsport CC’s Gordon Davies 19. Held over two laps of the club’s normal Shawbirch – Cotwall Bank circuit, riders faced a tough time with a north-westerly breeze hampering progress on the ‘mile straight’ and the toughest part of the course, the 1.8 mile climb of Cotwall Bank. Dan Watt took a fine win by 1 minute 12 seconds in a solid 42 minutes 27 seconds, beating off a strong challenge from the promoting club’s Chris Halford. Watts looked to be trying with all his might as he strained to reach the finish line, but his 10 mile split showed he faded a little on the second lap having already taken 56 seconds out of Halford. He confirmed this in his post-race comments: “A hard fought win with the ‘wind’ leg having to be ridden three times. 19 miles is an odd distance to pace, I had a good first lap but started to tighten up on the second, so I’m pleased to have brought the win home”.
Halford is having a quiet season by his standards, entering a limited number of races, but still took Overall runner-up spot with 43:39 as well as being Veterans winner by a huge +3:50 margin from Bridgnorth CC’s Christopher Wood with a fabulous +7:44. He stated: “I’m only riding to stay fit this year, so it was unexpected to get in the top three. Big kudos to me for not getting lost or having a bike related issue”!
There was a real battle for third spot with Ian Bond holding a 12 second lead over Phil Roberts at the 10 mile point. However Roberts came back strong, stopping the watch on 46:32 to push Bond into fourth by 26 seconds.
In the Women’s race Emma Horne took a great win of 2:57 from Wrekinsport’s Clare Cotterill, as well as third spot in the Veterans with +2:14; but Horne’s 54:24 left her disappointed due to being 2:06 down from her 2021 effort around the same course. This she put down to the after-effects of a bout of Covid-19: “It felt like hard work all the way round. I had forgotten my bike computer so no idea how I was doing so a bit disappointed to see two minutes slower than last year, but I’m just getting over Covid-19 so I should be pleased! Thank you to all the volunteers, and nice to see some other riders I know including Telford Triathlon Club”.
In the SB Junior Series Ben Southgate took Gold after taking another 20 points and putting himself into a mighty 110 point Series lead with his 48:01 effort – good enough for 6th spot overall. He stated: “Conditions were tough; however I pushed through the pain”. When told of his Series win he added: ”I’m very happy with my result, ready to push harder next time”.
Southgate also went home with Wrekinsport Gordon Davies Silver after the handicaps were applied, losing out to Ashley Kirkham who took Gold in an adjusted 37:04.