2016 Club Road Race Report

Saturday 4th June and many club members are off to Gravesend for the 2016 Road Race Champions. It was quite a good day for racing, perhaps a little chilly and a little windy but the riders soon warmed up when the action started. First race was the Ladies Race.

2016 Ladies Race
11 Ladies started the race and with the double defending Champion Hayley Williams absent this year we were getting a new name on the trophy. Immediately from the off a group of four took the race lead, Denise Kemp, Hannah Shean, Jordan Kemp and Lesley Pearce with a group of 3, Carol Cartwright, Julie Kane & Nicola Wright, a little further behind. Jane Harris, Sarah Lisovsky in her first race, Chris Knowler and Eileen Bristow, tempted out of retirement, followed behind the 2 groups. About halfway into the race the pace was too much for Jordan and the leading group of 4 became a group of 3. The three ladies each took their turn at the front but it came down to a bunch sprint with Hannah Shean's speed too much for the other two ladies with Denise second and Leslie taking the final podium place.

2016 Road Race Championship Race
There was no separate Novice Race this year so we were straight into the main race. Like the Ladies, the 2015 Champion James Jenkins was absent so we would be getting another new name on the trophy. The race started at a blistering pace with the group of favourites eager to get away quickly. The group was quite large at first, being composed of David Pennington, Chris Pennington, Ben Willy, Bob Barber, Barry Simpson, Chris Smith (snr), Martin Sutton, Chris Smith III, Terry Butcher, Russel Whitford and Peter Stiff. The pace was too high for some and Chris Smith (snr), Terry Butcher and Martin Sutton soon dropped out of the leading group. They would all regret mixing up with the favourites at the start as all were eventually caught and passed by Martin Harris and both Chris and Terry were also passed by novice rider Richard Dean.
Upfront the pace increased and soon Bob Barber, Russel Whitford and Chris Smith III were jettisoned, though Chris did win the Novice Rider award. Less than halfway into the race David Pennington made his move and escaped from the bunch and despite their frantic efforts they were not able to catch him as he soloed his way to victory. Ben Willy won the sprint the second with the podium rounded off by fastest Veteran Peter Stiff. Jack Evans finished a very respectable 14th place to take the Junior title.

Sprint Elimination Race
A large group of 19 riders took to the track for this the fan's favourite event. One of the smaller circuit is used for this event which sees the last placed rider eliminated every lap. The pace was hectic from the start and with riders jostling for position and sprinting for the line each lap, those riders who don't race regularly were eliminated fist leaving a group of favourites. Jack Evans, the only juvenile in the race, lasted until the seventh from last elimination; an excellent result in his first appearance. Another novice, Chris Smith III was fifth, Barry Simpson was the last veteran remaining in 3rd place leaving the two Penington brothers battling the the top prize. Perhaps his efforts in the road race took their toll as Chris outsprinted David to take the prize.

Relay Race
The relay race was meant to signify the start of the fun events but this race was taken very seriously. Randomly-drawn teams of 3 had to race 3 laps of the full circuit but had to pin the team number onto each rider in turn as they took their lap. There were several calls to commissioners as friends and rival accused each other of pre-pinning jerseys and hoarding pins. Eventually the race got off to a start and riders got away once their number was securely pinned-on by all four pins. The change-over at each lap was mayhem with team-mates pushing their colleagues off despite being in danger of being hit by riders from other teams. This happened at least once! The commissioners were called to make a ruling when one rider confessed to accidentally not riding the full circuit. The winning team was declared as Mike O'Kill, Nick Elliston and Peter Stiff (despite claims from unhappy rivals that each team should have a lady rider).

Tandem Race
The day finished with the Handicap Tandem Race which had its own controversy as the Handicapper would not explain how the Handicaps were calculated. Lady Veteran pair of Eileen Bristow and Carol Cartwright were first to start and it looked like the Handicapper had got it wrong as they lead all the way until the bell lap when they were finally overtaken by mother-and-daughter pair of Denise and Jordan Kemp, who had started third. The last pair to start, Chris and David Pennington, moved up to third on he field overtaking Arthur and Chris Knowler and the scratch pair of Jamie Maidment and Andy Merchant but realising that they couldn't win waited for Jamie's team to set up an exciting sprint for the line.


Thanks to Adrian Cartwright and his team of volunteers for organising the event.

The web master apologises if this account is not factually correct but he was busy racing.


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