Whether you look at the last race of 2016, or the first one of a new season the Velo29 winter series kicked off 31.12.16; first race being at Croft Race Circuit, Darlington. After a few suffering man flu type symptoms along with the seasonal over indulgence a number of usual suspects tested their legs on a cold winter loops session mid week. This seems to have either inspired or scared people into having a crack at the Saturday race to perhaps see where they stood in terms of fitness and get back into a race after a couple month off.
The format at Croft was either a Cat 4 race which Des Young made his debut race on hard ground after putting a few CX performances over the season. The alternative being a combined handicap which the majority entered, 5 by my recollection. First to set off was the cat 4 riders which included velo riders Dave Nearney, Dave “Goose” Deacon and Matty Sutcliffe, having a 2 minute head start of the cat 3’s where Manu and Dan set out to chase down the lead bunch and chased by the other riders who were set off at 1 minute intervals.
To me pace was quick from the start and ramped up in the 4th/5th lap which I presume is when the faster riders caught on and put down the power to lose the hangers on, me included. The race seemed made up with 3/4 smaller groups from what I could see, picking up riders from others who got popped off and losing others. There was two sections with a brutal head wind that no one liked and to be fair most people just seemed to muck in and take a turn on the front, although you always feel badly done to when it’s you.
The end was a bit confusing for some which I think come from the elite riders going a lap up towards the end and the rest of the field being fragmented. Places I know of were Manu in 10th and Matty 11th which are good results. It’s good to see things moving in the right direction was far as strengthening the race team and getting the Velo represented.
The support crew was out in force and continues to be greatly appreciated. Not to mention names but it may have been a trip to get the racing juices flowing for some and bring more people into racing this year.