The course record was smashed in Round 5 of The SB Sports Injuries Series as George Mills-Keeling became the first rider to dip under the magic 40 minute mark over two laps of the lumpy Shawbirch – Cotwall Bank circuit in Wrekinsport CC’s Hannah Phipps-Jones 19 – despite it being held on a significantly chilly evening. Mills-Keeling was racing here for his amateur team Bridgnorth CC, but is normally found riding for professional outfit AVC Aix En Provence. The 19 year-old breezed around the 19 miles in 39 minutes 53 seconds after being the fastest rider through the 10 mile point in 20:46, maintaining an average speed of over 28½ miles per hour.
Mills-Keeling’s nearest challenger was SB Series leader Henri Bedford, who was just 38 seconds off the pace at the end of the first lap and finished on 41:05. Riders were assisted by not having to battle through the wind, on a very calm evening, with Bedford stretching his lead of both the Overall and Junior SB Series as a result of this ride. He stated: “I loved the extra challenge of another lap on the Wrekinsport course. The weather wasn’t too kind, but it was good fun and I felt smooth. Well done to George for the win and course record, and thanks to Wrekinsport CC for putting on this event”.
Bedford pushed out another Bridgnorth CC rider, Nathan Fullwood in the Junior race, with the 16 year-old making his Series debut with a very creditable 47:52, assisting Bedford to put extra space between himself and Harry Corney to stretch his Junior lead to 20 points, with the Market Drayton CC rider 54 seconds back from Fullwood. Overall Bedford beat off the attentions of Nova Raiders’ Dean Callister, who finished third in 41:32. Callister moved up to Overall runner-up spot in the Overall Series, although he has some tough ground to make up with Bedford now holding a 26 point lead. He stated: “I was happy to take third considering how cold it was! Shivering on the start line is never ideal but it was the same for all. The second lap started to bite a bit after twice up Cotwall Bank - thanks to Wrekinsport and all the marshals for putting the event on”.
In the SB Women’s Series it was another debutante making an immediate impression, with Emma Horne stretching herself from the club 10’s she has competed in so far. Horne stopped the watch on 52:18 to beat Wrekisnport club mate Clare Cotterill by 2:32 – and found herself enjoying the extra distance, commenting: “I really enjoyed my first 19 mile time trial with Wrekinsport despite the cold! I surprised myself with finding it easier than I expected, and in some ways easier than the 10 mile one – I was very grateful for the tips on the starting line given to me by Rob Jackson which definitely helped my pacing. I was wrapped up more than most but still struggled – I felt some spots of rain but it just about held off. It would be great to see a few more women so we’re not quite so outnumbered - everyone is very friendly and supportive, so I’d encourage others to have a go like me”!
In the SB Veterans Series it was another Wrekinsport rider, Chris Halford, who took the win and consolidated his lead at the top of the Veteran’s standings, now holding an 18 point lead over George Mills-Keeling’s father Jonathan, who ended his evening as third Veteran in +7:36. Mills-Keeling was beaten by a rider returning from injury, Tim Beardmore, whose Standard was 13 seconds betterl but there was no touching Halford who ended his evening on +8:21 – although he nearly didn’t get to ride thanks to a wheel issue, as he explained: “I’m not sure whether to thank or curse team mate Tomas Hales who got me a spare quick release after forgetting mine – I was still shivering the following day”!
Wrekinsport riders were in competition for The Hannah Phipps-Jones Trophy, based on handicap and rewarding best improvement. Taking Gold was Steve Porter-Knott in an adjusted 40:14, 11 seconds in front of Victoria Doran and 59 seconds ahead of Tomos Hales.