Report on the club's Open 10 which was Round 3 of the Friction Hydraulics Series
Wrekinsport CC 10
It was a race of two halves as Storm Ellen took its toll on Round 3 of The Friction and Hydraulic Services Series, Wrekinsport CC’s 10 based on the normally fast Hodnet by-pass. Seeing its first use since 2016, the D10/23 course can catch the unwary rider out as it turns directly into the prevailing wind just at the toughest part of the course – the half mile either side of Hodnet island where the gradient rises. Gains made on the longer ‘out’ leg to the turn at Tern Hill island saw riders being bowled along – but then having to fight their way back with some reporting struggling to control their bikes and watching the mph dip, with best efforts limited to 18mph amongst the pack.
The event was won overall by Bridgnorth-based semi-professional George Mills-Keeling, riding for Ribble-Weldtite Pro Cycling, the only rider to dip below the 20 minute mark on the toughest of afternoons with 19 minutes 52 seconds, just 12 seconds off equalling Ryan Perry’s 2015 Course Record. To beat 30mph average in such hostile conditions says everything about the quality of this ride, in what Mills-Keeling described as “Some crazy, windy conditions” He elaborated: “It was a tough one, the wind was a killer on the way home. I felt good, but I went a little bit easier on the way out to compensate for the massive head wind on the way home”!
SCCA Private Member Kieran Morris took the honours amongst the affiliated riders with a strong effort of 20:42, with teenagers occupying the Top 3 spots; showing that coping with the conditions was a youngster’s game. There was a hint of sadness in Morris’ post-race comments at the end of a truncated season – even more so for the 19 year-old, who revealed: “I struggled from the off. I still had the previous week’s triathlon in my legs. A great course and a fabulous ride by George - on a windy day I even managed to find the rain! Thank you to everyone involved, it means the world to be able to race again; and well done riders - my last SCCA event this year as I am off to university”.
Making a first appearance in the Friction Series for 2020 Mid Shropshire Wheelers’ 17 year-old Ben Pierce, who shocked Junior Series leader Henri Bedford to steal the maximum 60 points on offer in the Junior Series as well as snaffle the County runners-up spot with a fine ride of 21:03, 9 seconds ahead of Bedford despite the Revolutions Racing rider posting a personal best 21:12. Pierce stated: “A great event. It was hard going on the way back but I’m still pleased with my result”.
Bedford wasn’t overly concerned however thanks to that PB, stretching his lead at the top of the Friction Junior Series, and moving up into joint lead of the Overall Friction Series, tying with Nova Raiders’ Tim Beardmore. The 16 year-old stated: “I enjoyed the lovely tailwind as I think everyone did on the way out to Tern Hill. On the way back was just a matter of hanging on and trying to get a good time. Well done to Ben for winning the Juniors, and a big thanks to Wrekinsport for hosting the event”.
Beardmore lost sole lead of the Series after finishing 5th County rider in 21:33, ironically pushed out by team mate Dean Callister by 8 seconds. Another team mate Deb Hutson-Lumb did similar to Beardmore in the Friction Veterans Series with the two entering the race tied at the top of that Series, but with Hutson-Lumb registering a fine +5:28 she earned five points more that Beardmore who was runner-up with +5:07, beating Wrekinsport’s Chris Halford into 3rd by 6 seconds. Beardmore was still pleased with his efforts however having had to fight his bike most of the way around: “The wind made it a very tough race on what is usually a fast course. Controlling the bike was difficult in the wind, especially on the return leg. I think my pacing was good given the conditions. I was happy to get runners-up in the Veterans. Well done to everyone who raced for staying upright, and a big thanks to Wrekinsport for organising another event”.
Hutson-Lumb had no such handling issues thanks to a new bike, although she did have an unscheduled stop at the turn. Her 24:04 effort was just 7 seconds off equalling Hetty Niblett’s Women’s Course Record of 23:57 set in that 2016 event as she beat off the dual challenge from Hafren CC’s Louise Hurdley and Wrekinsport’s Bethan Till who tied for the runner-up spot amongst the females in 27:24, showing how good Hutson-Lumb’s ride was. She revealed: “I was very pleased with my ride despite the wind and having to stop and unclip behind a car at the turn. My new bike felt very stable in the breeze, and with a few races in my legs now I was better able to keep the power on. That said the last mile after the Hodnet roundabout was tough – my legs were screaming to ease off and I was glad to finish. Another fabulous Wrekinsport event, and thanks to everyone involved”.