Chris Halford took a narrow win by just seven seconds in Round 13 of the SB Sports Injuries Series as the destination of Gold medals in two of the four Championships were resolved and the Women's Series leader put in a powerhouse performance. Halford stopped the watch on 43 minutes 4 seconds over two laps of the rolling Shawbirch - Cotwall Bank circuit in Wrekinsport CC's Gordon Davies 19 on a warm, sultry evening to beat Series leader Ian Nisbett - who sealed Veteran's Gold and extended his Overall lead.
Halford, riding a giant 60-tooth chain ring mauled his way around the circuit coping best with the heat, also taking the Veteran's win in +7:42, but was surprised to take that victory given the quality of the top portion of the field: "I was shocked to win as I was on my training bike! Kudos to Charlotte Chapman, fast lady". Halford's comments concerned the Women's Series leader who finished a strong 5th Overall in a fabulous 45:49. Chapman stretched her lead to 56 points with her light weight being a distinct advantage on the double climb of Cotwall Bank. She stated: "I love the 10 course - not so sure about twice in one go though! I tried to be tactical and save some effort for the hills as I thought I’d make up the most time on those being light- it seemed to work! I enjoyed all of it, and thanks as always to everyone there".
Nisbett finally reaped the benefits of a Series he has made a 2018 target with his 43:11 effort as he added another two points to the differential between himself and Ed Middleton, who lies in the Overall runner-up spot and finished third on the night in 44:38. But it was the 18 points gained for registering a Veteran's plus of +7:26 that finally earned Nisbett the first Gold medal of the Series with 100 points available over the final five rounds with the Hafren CC rider earning a 118 point differential to Halford in runner-up position.
Nisbett is used to going 'eyeballs out' but had to reel his expectations in a little, as he explained: "I had to ride quite conservatively as I was recovering from the 100 mile Championship four days earlier, and I had the Oswestry Paragon 10 the next day. I aimed for a consistent effort without kicking too hard on the climbs, and was pleased with a decent time in the end. Congratulations to Chris for taking the win. I'm very happy to clinch the Veterans Series. Due to work and injuries, this is the first year I've been able to put in a proper season of racing, so it's nice to be rewarded for the effort".
Middleton meanwhile has not given up the battle for Overall honours with Nisbett currently possessing a 22 point lead. The Nova Raider continues to post strong times in a fine season and Nisbett will have to be on his mettle to double-up on Championship Gold. Middleton stated: "Thankfully it was a fast night, so the two laps went quickly. Great rides by Chris, Ian and Charlotte. Thanks to Wrekinsport for hosting a great round".
The destination of the SB Junior Series was resolved on the night with 14 year-old Henri Bedford posting a huge course personal best by over two minutes thanks to a significant position change. The Revolutions Racing youngster posted a superb 47:04 to take 8th place Overall from a 23-strong field and was clearly fired up as he blazed towards the finish line. Bedford has come on leaps and bounds as the season has progressed and now has a 104 point advantage over Kieran Morris with 100 points available. He stated: "I'm delighted to have been fortunate enough to win the Series. I have thoroughly enjoyed riding all the various courses and completing longer races, pushing myself to improve my technique and times. This year has really cemented my enthusiasm for time trial racing. I would like to sincerely thank all the volunteers, marshals and administrators who give their time up so unselfishly to allow me and all the other competitors to go racing. I really enjoyed racing the longer distance over a route I am getting familiar with. I'm also delighted to have improved my personal best time on this course. Many thanks to Wrekinsport for organising and marshalling the event".
That wasn't the end of the medals won on the evening however with Wrekinsport running a handicap competition for The Gordon Davies Trophy within the event. After the handicaps were applied top of the pile was Tomos Hales in an adjusted 40:28, 19 seconds ahead of Peter Mulloy who earned Silver for his efforts. Getting used to tribars in only his second race with the aid paid dividends for Ian Bond as he took Bronze in exactly 42 minutes.