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Colour-Tech Road Race, Round 3 – U23s

Edenbridge, Kent, 28th May

Dreadful overnight weather threatened to prevent the Colour-Tech Road Race from being
run, with race HQ in Edenbridge in Kent in the middle of some of the worst affected
areas. The riders gathered at the start to find many of the local roads partially
flooded. However, following a meeting between the organiser and the Chief Commissaire,
it was decided to run the race, but only after the riders had been briefed to be
extra vigilant. In the event, the race was run without major incident, with only
a few extra punctures resulting from debris on the road surfaces. Happily the only
rain which fell during the race was an occasional shower. The event was the third
round of the BCFís National Under 23 Road Race Series, comprising of six laps totalling
95 miles.

Almost from the start, three riders – Ben Powell, Neil Swithenbank and Martin Loney
ó went clear, but their break was short lived and they were swept up after 10 miles.
Immediately there was another attack with Dan Bridges, Tom Southam (both Alsager
Addidas) Robin Sharman, James Griffiths (Linda McCartney) and David McGowan going
clear. By the end of the first lap they had lead of 45 seconds. Early in the second
lap, Bill Nickson and Neil Swithenbank bridged the gap and joined the leaders to
form a leading group of seven riders.

A chasing group quickly formed, including John Ibbotson, Deiter Droger (Raleigh),
James Williamson, Ben Powell, Gary Bragan, Ian Jeffrey, Mark Perry and Lee Finch.
For two laps they remained approximately 1 minute behind the leaders, unable to make
contact, with both groups working hard. Eventually the effort told on the chasers
and they began to drop back.

With 30 miles to go it was clear that the winner was going to come from the lead
group and Dan Bridges (Alsager/Addidas) attacked and managed to build up a one-minute
lead over the next six miles. With some indecision in the break as to who should
chase, Bridges looked like he might go all the way but, on a climb at the back of
circuit, James Griffiths attacked and rapidly closed down and passed Bridges. For
a time Bridges held Griffithsí lead to only 10 seconds with team-mate Tom Southam
also on his own a further 10 seconds back.

At this point Southam made a decisive move, passing Bridges and joining Griffiths
at the front of the race. The two leaders then worked hard together to consolidate
their position, building up a cushion of two minutes over their nearest chasers.
On the last climb into the finishing line, Southam out-sprinted Griffiths to record
Team Alsager/Adidasís second win of the series. There was further good news for the
domestic team of the World Class Performance Programme as Neil Swithenbank won the
sprint for third ahead of Bill Nickson, with World Class Potential rider David McGowan
fifth. The series leader Jamie Alberts was forced to retire after a crash, but is
reported to have only minor injuries.

Tom Southam was understandably pleased with his win, especially as it was also his
19th birthday. “I had it all under control” were his first words when his
relieved manager, John Herety, congratulated him at the end of the race. Herety went
on to praise Southamís ride: “Tom did very well, especially since he punctured
mid race and had to chase to get back onto the leading group. He only lost 30 seconds,
but you can lose touch in situations like that.”

Former series leader Jamie Alberts crashed during the race and retired. However,
his injuries are minor and he is unlikely to miss any racing due to the accident.

Colour-Tech RR, Edenbridge, Kent, 28th May

Results (provisional)

1. Tom Southam (Alsager-Adidas) 95 miles in 03:54:48

2. James Griffiths (Linda McCartney Foods/WCU) @ 4 sec’s

3. Neil Swithenbank (Alsager-Adidas) @ 1:48

4. Bill Nickson (Paul Moy Associates) @1:50

5. David McGowan (Pro Vision E PlanetX/Powerbar) @ 1:52

6. Robin Sharman (Alsys-Bradgate CRT) @ 1:55

7. Dan Bridges (Alsager-Adidas) @ 2:09

8. Benjamin Powell (Team Synergy) @ 3:17

9. David Clarke (Alsys-Bradgate CRT) @ 4:13

10. Mark Perry (Somer Valley CC) @ 8:46

11 John Ibbotson (Gore Bike Wear) @ s.t.

12. Iain Armstrong (Ribble Valley) @ s.t.

13. Robert Palmer (Midlothian Race Team) @ s.t.

14. Jon Rutherford (Prickett-Atom Elite) @ s.t.

15. John Taylor (Woolwich CC) @ s.t.

16. Daniel Lloyd (Raleigh Factory RT) @ s.t.

17. Lee Finch (Arctic 2000 RT) @ s.t.

18. James Williamson (Prickett-Atom Elite) @ s.t.

19. Gary Wills (Velo Ecosse) @ 8:50

20. Karl Freeman (High Wycombe) @ 13:55

Series Standings to follow on Tuesday

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