First use of a brand new course had the shine taken off it a little by persistent drizzle as personal bests and benchmark course records were guaranteed in Wrekinsport CC’s 10, Round 17 of the Friction Hydraulics Series. Held on a simple ‘out and back’ course between Shawbury and Hodnet, the overall event was won by Grant Bigham – but it was nearly a quite different outcome as he made his start with seconds to spare. Bigham arrived with just 11 seconds to go, and out of breath making his unusual early slot. The adrenalin shot seemed to do him some good however as he set a benchmark course record of 20 minutes 30 seconds. Whilst he enjoyed the new course the same couldn’t be said of the conditions: “I certainly cut it close to making the start, about 10 seconds to spare thankfully! I enjoyed the course despite the poor weather conditions; the road surface is second to none. I’m looking forward to racing it again in better conditions and seeing if the sub-20 is possible. Happy with my ride despite the legs disappearing the last few miles”! Those grim conditions put a quarter of the field off from starting, with a distinct chill and a tricky headwind on the return leg adding to the mix.
Bigham wasn’t the only rider struggling as Dean Callister had to rely on pure strength following a position tweak that just saw him beat Wrekinsport’s Tomos Hales by three seconds to take the maximum 60 points on offer with a fine 21:28. Like Bigham he was complementary about the new course, which despite being rolling features a surface that allows the wheels to zip along and the sort of non-technical simplicity that time triallists enjoy: “A great new course, I was pleased with taking the County win on the day but not a great ride for me. I made myself incredibly un-aero, which cost me a-lot of time. I’m looking forward to racing the course again and setting a much better time - thanks to all made the event happen”.
Hales was unusually first rider off and took the opportunity of having no riders in front of him to charge around the course in 21:31, and lead his club back to the head of the Top Club Award competition with a 130 point advantage. Hales pushed Paramount’s Simon Romei out by 27 seconds, tightening his grip on the Bronze medal position in the Friction Series in the process. He commented: “I really enjoyed the new course for the Wrekinsport 10 mile time trial. The roads are nice and wide and well paved, just the return leg was hampered by a strong headwind. Well done to Dean for the County win, and Grant for the overall win; and thanks to Wrekinsport for hosting and all that helped out”.
Pretty much every comment on the course was positive, and that was no different from Deb Hutson-Lumb who set the inaugural Women’s course record in 23:33, a ride strong enough to share 5th spot Overall; and the Veteran’s win by 2:08 from Romei with +6:42. Hutson-Lumb extended her lead at the head of the Friction Women’s Series and closed the gap on Veteran’s Series leader Tim Beardmore to 35 points in a fine afternoon’s work. It was definitely a game of two halves as she powered out to the turn before fading into the wind on the return: “I tried to get as much help as I could from the strong wind to the turn. I found it a very tough ride back into the headwind and my power was dropping in the last mile. A great new course with good road surface which in better conditions I expect will see some faster times. Kudos to everyone out in the rain marshalling, timekeeping and singing”!
Hutson-Lumb’s nearest challenger was Paramount’s Hayley Wells, who set a great time of 24:16 to take 8th spot Overall, assuring her of the Friction Women’s Series Bronze medal.