A collapsing drain caused mayhem at Round 11 of the SB Sports Injuries Series as late-appearing traffic lights meant a rapid course rethink in Wrekinsport CC's planned 25. With the Crudgington - Shawbirch leg a no go, after some furious head scratching to come up with an alternative marshals were despatched for an 18 mile journey to Market Drayton's Gingerbread roundabout as a 25.8 mile emergency course was called into action, with riders being briefed on the change just minutes from the event start.
The change and the extra distance didn't seem to affect Dan Watts however as he took a superb win by over two minutes in a great time of 55 minutes 8 seconds. Watts took the maximum 26 points on offer in this bonus point round as he took his fifth straight win from the seven rounds he has entered, showing the tremendous form he is in. Watts clearly enjoyed his first taste of the super new Peplow surface and the near perfect conditions after thinking the race would be cancelled, and he had some favourable words for the re-jig: "I was pleased to take the win on a lovely evening and got to test the new ‘Peplow pavé’ for the first time, which was much better than the original - a shame they haven’t relayed the tarmac from Tern Hill to Gingerbread island. The SCCA is by far one of the best organised time trial league setups in the country and the organisers and helpers that managed to sort a new course at short notice is testament to that, so a huge thanks to them is owed".
It was a close call for the runner-up spot as Chris Halford and Sam Morris were split by just 30 seconds, with Halford stopping the watch on 57:19. The Wrekinsport rider won his Club's 25 mile Championship which was run within the race and also took runner-up spot in the Veterans on Standard competition too with a fine +12:22. Halford wasn't finished there either, moving into joint top spot in the SB Series to tie on 170 points with Ian Nisbett, who finished 4th on the night in 58:38. Halford stated: "The course was good, I was putting power down on the drags and easing up on faster bits - and some lovely warm weather too. A big thank you to all the people that made a time trial possible due to road works, the real heroes of our sport".
Meanwhile 19 year-old Sam Morris took third spot in only his second appearance of the Series in 2019. The Revolutions Racing rider also commented on the condition of the Tern Hill - Gingerbread section called into action unexpectedly: "Fair play to everyone who got the course so close to 25 miles! Not my best ride, not my worst. I struggled going over the bumpy section after Tern Hill and never really recovered".
The only rider beating Halford in the Veteran's Championship doubled up with a fine win in the Women's too at Deb Hutson-Lumb proved what a great rider she is. The Nova Raider stopped the clock on 1:03:27 Actual and +13:45 Veteran's Standard as she looks to make up lost ground. Hutson-Lumb has only ridden four rounds in the SB Series in 2019 but has left a big impression on all of them - and from her comments almost for the wrong sartorial reasons: "Thanks to all involved in rapid course re-planning, it was too good an evening to miss. My third 25 mile time trial in a week and probably the most fun with the fabulous tailwind on the way back. I had a bit of a dilemma because my Tripsockz kept sliding down - pull them up or just Nora Batty it? In the interests of looking vaguely 'cool' pulling up was carried out! A great evening, and good to see so many riders out".
Taking the Women's runner-up spot was the rapidly improving Alison Dockney, who narrowed the gap to Women's SB leader Louise Hurdley who finished fourth on the night in 1:10:55. Dockney ended her evening on 1:08:39, raising her effort thanks to a good deal of support on course. She stated: "A massive well done and thank you to Wrekinsport for managing a very last minute course change due to temporary lights on the course. I was really pleased with my result but paced it badly on tired legs. Big thanks to my mates who turned out to cheer me on which gave me a much needed boost on the return leg! Well done all, some fast times on a lovely evening for racing at last".
Meanwhile Henri Bedford almost has the SB Junior Series title within his grasp for a second year as he opened up the biggest lead in any County Championship with another win - 136 points. Bedford crossed the line in 1:01:04 to take 9th spot Overall from a fine field of 36 riders, beating Evolve's George Coombes into Junior runner-up spot by 5:33. Bedford commented: "A good ride, although a little hot. I was pleased with my time given the additional distance on the revised course. Thank you to the marshals involved, and well done to all riders - a great win for Dan".