Round Two of Gorrick’s Spring Series took place under blue skies at the fast, bumpy and technical Heath Warren on 20 February. The course certainly highlighted any bike handling weaknesses thanks to some nasty ditches, sharp climbs and blindingly fast singletrack.
After launching the new Extreme Endurance race team, manager Rob Lee led by example recording wins in both the Master and Sport races.
Lee made light work of the Masters race, drawing ahead of the field during the opening lap before cruising in after just one hour for three laps. Lloyd Bettles (Numplumz.com) took second, two minutes behind Lee, with Anthony White making it two Extreme Endurance racers on the podium.
The second victory was harder work, and Lee had to be battle it out over four laps with Gorrick regular George Budd (Foska/Titus UK). Both riders took turns to lead the race with Lee just outsprinting Budd on the line. Jeff Clark took the final step on the podium in another very close and well attended Sport race.
The Expert/Elite race was another spectacle, with 17 riders on the line after the cash prize. The opening lap saw a group of five established at the front, which was whittled down to three by the start of lap two. By lap four Richard Wood (Extreme Endurance) had dropped off the back, leaving it to John Veness (Evans Cycles) and Robert Enslin (VinerBikes.com) to battle it out in a repeat of the first round. This time, though, it was Enslin who pulled away in the closing stages to seal victory.
The Elite/Expert women’s race saw more action, as Jenn O’Connor (Specialized) came up against Lydia Gould (Hargroves). O’Connor got away fast, but soon Gould was back on her wheel and stuck with her for the rest of the race. She couldn’t get ahead, though, with O’Connor the winner despite nearly putting her foot through her back wheel after a pedal/tree stump collision. O’Connor’s Specialized team-mate Kate Potter was third, having suffered from chain problems after the start.
The start of the annual Varsity race between Oxford and Cambridge
Universities had to be delayed after the Oxford team locked their riding kit in their minibus. Gorrick soon sorted everyone out with helmets and riding gear and everyone was off with little delay. Oxford’s Lloyd Pallett took first blood in the men’s race, followed by four Cambridge riders: Jonathan Blackburn, Jonathan Everitt, Andrew Cockburn and Chris Pedder. In the women’s race it was Oxford’s Marcie Reinhart stomping to victory ten minutes ahead of Cambridge’s Emma Pooley. Katie King (Oxford) rounded out the top three.
Matthew Hill (Primera) won the Youth race, ahead of Jake Moxham (Dysons Cycles) and Jay Spetch (Team Torq). In the Juvenile category Michael Butler (VC Deal) made it two wins from two races, putting himself firmly at the top of the series points table.
Supermaster Darren Shepherd (Tri UK) claimed he just couldn’t hang on to flying Simon Willats (Ride Cycleworks) who not only won the race but took home £50, courtesy of bumpybikes.com, for the fastest lap of the race – a cool 19.09. Mark Hutt was third.
Another Ride Cycleworks rider was on top of the podium in the Veterans race. Roland Tilley did what he does best, leading out the race and then putting the hammer down on lap two and leaving the field for dust. Steve Farmer (PedalOn) and Steve Jones (AW Cycles) were second and third respectively. In the Grand Veterans race there was another surprise as Norman Butler (BikeGuatemala.com) took first ahead of Michael Thyer (Beyond MTBs).
66 riders took to the line for the Open race. Oli Pepper (Ladies Who Lunch) took the lead early on, but dropped back to third. Ian Grist (Dysons Cycles) and Alex Darby (Rigid Not Frigid) fought it out for the top two places, with Darby coming out ahead. The women’s races saw a superb turnout, with 14 in the Master/Veteran race. Theresa Jordan (Luton CC) got a flying start but on the second lap snapped her seatpost and frame. It may have slowed her down but Anita Hibberd (Berks On Bikes) could only pull the lead back to just nine seconds, with Louise Fenwick (Berks On Bikes) taking a close third. Nicky Hughes (Team Walton) was first in the Supermasters, followed by Nicky Jones (Berks On Bikes). Katie Curtis (Leeds Uni/Torq Evans) won the Sport race and Catherine Powell took the honours in the Open category.
The best riders are now positioning themselves around the top of the points table. Round three will be in three weeks time at Yateley Heath. After the relatively flat Heath Warren course, Yateley has some tough climbs and should be a real test of fitness.