In the last few years the BUCS cycling road race has drifted of the calendar, however this year the UoY Cycling Club made sure the event ran and also grew the event by adding circuit racing on the Sunday a yorksport. After a lot of hard work behind the scenes it all came together! Some Sunshine and high temperatures even graced the weekend!
The First race of the weekend was the Women’s race. This was over 6 laps of an 8 mile rolling circuit just north of York with a short climb each lap through the village of crayke (the hill claimed to fame for the grand old duke of York song).The front of the race stayed together, despite a spirited attack by Hayley Simmonds (Cambridge), however riders lost contact off the back every lap till just 15 riders remained on the last lap. A fast finish saw the sprint for the line test riders tactical nerve to time there sprint to perfection. A really strong performance by Madeline Crosswaite saw her take 15 in only her second road race!
This was followed by swift turn around for the men! Same course but just over 10 laps this time! A big crash after only a couple of miles held some riders up but most made it back to the bunch. On the Start of the 3rd lap 2 breaks one of 4 men closely followed by 6 who work well to quickly establish a healthy gap approaching 2 min, with Jonny Ruffell working well for Alastair Hepworth, who made the second group of riders.
The 2 groups joined up to form a group of 9 at just of about a minute for most of the race. Most of the strong teams had a rider in the break and all the big names made it! However when the Cambridge rider initial away punctured a strong Performance by Edmund Bradbury (Cambridge) used his TT strength to bridge across the gap.
The group stayed away, and became 6 as riders dropped back with fatigue in the heat, until the run into the finish where they got caught by a couple of others who closed across from the main group as the games of cat and mouse started on the approach to the finish seeing the groups lead drop drastically, with Alastair finishing and excellent 5th after 70miles away.
The Sunday saw and ever hotter day however this time there was a strong breeze at the exposed Yorksport circuit. The first race was men’s E/1/2/3, which set off at a fast pace until a break of 3 riders got clear, and worked together to lap the field at one point (who later unlapped themselves). On the run to the finish Chris Nicholson (UCLan) was unable to get the better of his 2 Birmingham counterparts who rode tactically to ensure they could take the silverware!
Next up was the 4th cat (novice) race which generally all stayed together except for a few riders dropping off the back. With Chris Bevan (UoSheffield) who crashed early in on the hairpin making it back into the bunch, then winning the sprint! A mention must go to Sam Skerrat (UoYork) who was piped into 3rd in his second ever race!
The penultimate race of the weekend was the women’s, a Handicap race saw all the riders caught quickly by the scratch group. With No attacks sticking from the lead group of 5, at one point it was 3 but the 2 that dropped got back at the start of the last lap! On the sprint for the line local rider Iona Sewell (York St john) beat Gabriella Shaw (Manchester met) for the win, with Hana Booth coming in 9th for York.
The final race was the men’s 2/3/4, the biggest field of the day, the fast pace saw riders dropped nearly every lap however the front end stayed together with UoBirmingham controlling the race. With 6 lapps to go Southampton turned the pace up on the back straight, however a crash on the hairpin saw about 12 riders go clear with many others held up behind the crashes saw the sprint coming down to those riders at the front. Strong performances by Neil Harris ans Sam Skerrett were unfruitful due to the crash.
Overall an impressive weekend for York, both in competition and hosting such a large scale event.