Joshua Croxton (Team Tor 2000 KALAS) sprints to victory in A Bridge Too Far Road Race in the penultimate round of The Steele Davis Cotswold Cycle Racing League, hosted by Bristol Road Club.
With only 10 points between Jamie Wilkins (Veloton) 152 pts, Ross Phelps (Bristol RC) 143pts, Ben Luckwell (24/7) 142pts and 2 rounds to go, it was all to play for in the overall for The Steele Davis Cotswold Cycling League. With Ross on holiday it was opportunity for Jamie and Ben to gain some ground.
With added presence from non Cotswold League teams such as Team Tor 2000 and Mid Devon CC, the race was far from predictable. However it was Bristol Road Club’s Shaun Cook who was riding aggressively with two hard attacks within the first 3 laps. With the second attack sticking, he was joined by Nic McKibbin (Bath Cycling Club), Charlie Beake (Tri UK) and Ben Lockett (Saint Piran). With the four riders working well together they built up a lead of up to a minute from the main pack.
Back in the bunch, strong southerly crosswinds left limited space to hide on the long drag at the top of Cheddar and a string of attacks stretched out the bunch. However it also took its toll with the lead riders losing Nic McKibbin on lap 4 and Charlie Beake on lap 5. At the start of lap 5, Shaun Cook and Ben Lockett’s lead had been reduced to 15 seconds by a chasing pack of 10 riders which had initially broke away on lap 4, which included Josh Croxton and Graham Collins (Team Tor 2000 Kalas), Ian Cullen and Ashley Towey (Mid Devon CC), Tom Sharp (Bristol RC), Lewis Braithwaite (24/7), George Kimber (Cycle Sport Dynamo), and Ashley Hutchinson (VC St Raphael). With the chasing peloton 30 seconds behind including Ben Luckwell and Jamie Wilkins closely watching each other for the overall.
By the last lap the 10 riders had caught Shaun Cook and Ben Lockett. However a chase from the peloton had now been made by a further group of 6 riders of the main contenders for the overall including Ben Luckwell, Jamie Wilkins and Matt Franklin (Bristol RC 6th overall.) Jacob Pilkington (Velo Club Montpelier 7th overall).
On the last drag the climbers of the leading group were trying to make their attacks count. Attacks came from Alex Fanshawe, George Kimber and Ben Lockett but none of the remaining 12 riders were willing to give up, so it came down to a bunch sprint. In the final corner Graham Collins Team Tor 2000 took the lead with fellow teammate Joshua Croxton on his wheel. Joshua sprinted strongly from 200 metres to go to take the win, albeit with a slight scare when celebrating a little bit to early as a close 2nd was Ian Cullen (Mid Devon CC) who was riding his first race since a double fractured of the left pelvis in the Totnes Vire RR earlier this year and had only started riding his bike again after a 12 week layoff. Lewis Braithwaite (24/7) took 3rd place. Best Bristol RC rider was Tom Sharp in 5th.
With chasing group of 5 riders coming in 50 seconds behind, Matt Franklin had managed to make a breakaway to come in 13th, followed in with a hard fought sprint between Ben Luckwell (14th), Jacob Pilkington (15th) and Jamie Wilkins (16th).
1st Place – Joshua Croxton on the race.
“Knowing there was a race within a race, with the Cotswold League regulars looking at one another, I felt confident a group of non-threats could be allowed to get away. I managed to miss the first and my teammate Graham went with the second, so needed to bide my time. On lap 6, I went over the top, just as two were brought back – stupid really, I was never bridging that gap alone! Thankfully Mid Devon’s Ian Cullen made it over and we were full gas. 14 minutes of hurt later, we’d made it.
I was fortunate to personally know half the riders in the break, meaning I knew a couple of them would have to try something on the climb. I made sure I was positioned near the front and followed the panicked chase when Alex Fanshawe & George Kimber showed their hands, doing my best to preserve my fast-diminishing box of matches.
Once the hill had been dealt with I was happy, I’m always happy to sprint! I was unsure who’s wheel to follow, but Graham’s work in putting me in the right position was perfect and it all fell into place nicely – even if I did need to cancel the early celebration to finish the job!”
2nd Place – Ian Cullen (Mid Devon CC) on the race
Yes – This was my first RR back since the crash. Which left me with a double fractured my left pelvis, I couldn’t walk for 6 weeks and was on crutches permanently. I did another 6 weeks in rehab. Then I started training properly at the end of July. It’s taken me a while to get my confidence for riding in a bunch again so I’m pleased to be re-acquainted with road racing again.
I missed the early breaks by sitting to far back in the peloton so with 2 laps to go at the foot of the drag Josh and I hit it hard to bridge across. We made contact with the front group with a lap to go. I’m pleased with 2nd although a win would have been a great return.
|1. Joshua Croxton||Team Tor 2000 KALAS|
|2. Ian Cullen||Mid Devon CC|
|3. Lewis Braithwaite||Ride 24/7|
|4. George Kimber||Cycle Sport Dynamo|
|5. Tom Sharp||Bristol RC|
|6. Ashley Towey||Mid Devon CC|
|7. Graham Collins||Team Tor 2000 KALAS|
|8. Ashley Hutchison||VC St Raphael|
|9. Shaun Cook||Bristol RC|
|10. Ben Lockett||Saint Piran|
|11. Richard Cleaver||Velo Club Montpellier|
|12. Alex Fanshawe||Saint Piran|
|13. Matthew Franklin||Bristol RC|
|14. Benjamin Luckwell||Ride 24/7|
|15. Jacob Pilkington||Velo Club Montpelier|
|16. Jamie Wilkins||Veloton Team|
|17. George Jones||VC St Raphael|
|18. Charlie Beake||Tri UK|
|19. Mark Perry||Ride 24/7|
|20. Robert Willcocks||Royal Air Force CA|
|21. Ashley Fletcher||Southfork Racing.co.uk|
|22. Steven Jones||Mid Devon CC|
|23. Jack Mundinano||Cheltenham & County CC|
|24. Trevor Smith||Cotswold Veldrijden|
|25. Jack Thompson||Performance Cycles|
|26. Simon Ward||Bristol RC|
|27. Charlie Shields||Bath Cycling Club|
|28. Samuel Westlake||Bristol RC|
|29. Steve Thomas||Ride 24/7|
|30. Rick Hawker||VeloVitesse|
|31. Mike Skidmore||Cheltenham & County CC|
|32. Christopher Hill||Bristol RC|
|33. Matthew Griffin||Radeon-Bike Science RT|
|34. George Dallimore||Radeon-Bike Science RT|
|35. Johnny Arce Uruena||Unattached|
|36. Cameron Smalley||Cotswold Cycles-TREK|
|37. Dave Tilling||Ride 24/7|
|38. Matt Lelliott||Severn RC|
|39. Craig Wallduck||Latchem Sunwise Race Team|
|40. Nic McKibbin||Bath Cycling Club|
|41. Aled Jones||Veloton Team|
|42. Daniel Marshall||T1Diabetes.info|