Report on Round 4 of the SB Sports Injuries Series = Helen Blake moves to the top of the SB Women's Series.
Wrekinsport CC 25
The only bonus point round of the 2020 SB Sports Injuries Series brought the leading riders out for Wrekinsport CC’s 25, taking place on the A442 and A53 between Shawbirch and Tern Hill – with the Series leader registering a PB and Dan Watts being squeezed out by a solitary second for the second event in a row. A sultry afternoon produced some fabulous times, although riders did have to cope with excess traffic diverted off the A41 due to a closure at Sandford Bridge which cost more than one rider time.
The overall win was taken by Wrexham RC’s Benjamin Goodfellow, showing an excellent return to form with a strong ride of 52 minutes 37 seconds in his first race of 2020 after an accident kept him off the bike. He revealed: “Not only had I had the break from racing Covid had caused, but just as racing was resuming I broke my collarbone badly. I set out too hard and paced badly, leaving me struggling in the heat over the second half. As the average power was dropping I had to dig deep. Hitting the line I was glad it as over. The result was a 25 speed and power PB, but I am sure I can improve again over the remaining part of the season”.
Goodfellow wasn’t the only rider to record a PB with Tim Beardmore taking the maximum 26 points on offer in both the Overall and the Veteran’s SB Championships with a fine 53:18 – but it could have been so much better if not for a hold up of over 10 seconds at Tern Hill due to traffic that nearly cost him that County win in his first 25 of the truncated season. The Nova Raider explained: “It was so good to be racing a 25 again; the distance and the course suit my strengths. I had good vibes out on the course, and knew I was on for a good time despite a small hold up at Tern Hill which was in gridlock when I got to the turn. I was delighted to knock over a minute off my PB. Yet again massive thanks to all at Wrekinsport for organising, and well done to all who raced”.
Watts meanwhile was philosophic about being the bridesmaid for the second time in a row by a second as the reigning Champion narrowed the advantage of Series leader Henri Bedford to just four points with a great effort of 53:19. Watts post-race comments were tongue-in-cheek: “Another race missing out on victory by seconds, I should probably think about slipping the timekeepers some money for future races! I didn’t have a bad ride to be fair, but Tim straight up out paced me with a stellar ride. I’m happy to get a busy block of initial races out the way time for some rest before the next races”.
Things weren’t so close in the Veterans with Beardmore posting a solid Veteran’s plus of +16:26, with nearest challenger Chris Halford, who was riding to Wrekinsport 25 Championship Gold despite suffering with a bad back, pushing Bedford out by 24 seconds with a good time of 55:24 which converted to +12:16 on Standard. A bad back was the least of Halford’s worries though as a dropped chain forced an unscheduled stop, as he explained: “I enjoyed the course, but I had to stop and get off after Tern Hill due to my chain coming off. Some really quick times posted”.
16 year-old Henri Bedford remains at the top of the Overall standings and almost has a successful retention of his Junior SB title within sight as he moved up to 66 points Overall and 86 in the Junior SB Series – the maximum tally possible. The youngster is having a fabulous season, breaking PB after PB and this race was no different despite a number of hold-ups due to the unusual traffic pattern: “It was good to get a PB at my first 25 of the year even though the weather conditions weren’t favourable and the traffic was quite busy at the islands - thanks to Wrekinsport CC for putting on yet another amazing event”.
In the Women’s SB Series Oswestry Paragon’s Helen Tudor made her first appearance of the season in this Championship with a good ride of 1:10:26 despite still getting used to a new bike which is requiring positional tinkering. She beat off a challenge from Wrekinsport’s Liz White who won the club’s 25 mile Women’s Championship with her 1:15:40 effort. Tudor stated: “Riding a 25 was a shock to the system, I had a new bike three weeks ago and the set up is not right yet and I suffered because of it. It’s great to see so much enthusiasm for time trials at Wrekinsport again, thanks to all involved”. It was left to another of Wrekinsport’s females to move into the SB Women’s Series lead with Helen Blake now holding an eight point advantage over Tudor.