By Ian Homer, Ian Homer Photography
A month earlier than last year and on a redesigned course, the Betty Pharoah Memorial Legstretchers Road Race organised by Cardiff Ajax CC proved every bit to be a Spring Classic – bar the wet weather dogged by a slightly bigger one in Italy the same day.
In the Elite 1,2 category the 111km 4 lap affair was dominated by a full Team UK Youth contingent who sent Jon Mould and Ian Wilkinson up the road from the dropping of the flag just out of the new start town of Cowbridge. They were quickly joined by other team members establishing a gap on the peloton of a minute by the conclusion of lap 1. However not everything went the way of the boys in blue and white as Mould suffered a double puncture in Death Valley just before the prime in St Brides Major putting paid to his aspirations of a home-country win. This forced a regroup as Wilkinson was left on his own. Normal service was soon resumed as UK Youth attacked with Yanto Barker, Josh Hunt and Rob Partridge in a move that stuck for the remaining laps despite some hard driving by the peloton including Cardiff Ajax home rider Dave Medhurst.
UK Youth managed to get over 3 minutes on the bunch by the end of lap 3 as their leading group swelled. Juniors Tristan Robbins of Cardiff Jif and Rob Westwood of Cwmcarn Paragon did manage to join a couple of the UK youth riders in a move off the front of the peloton but didn’t stay it out.
With no sharp hill near the finish, the entrance to Llandow Racing Circuit was set up for a bunch gallop – albeit one involving only team members who closed 4 minutes up after having something of a TTT. Yanto Barker celebrated a little prematurely, veering over with hands off his bars towards his left, had to readjust and almost got pipped on the line by the fast finishing Niklas Gustavsson.
Last year’s winner Colin Parry, now riding for SpinRotor-PrimalEurope-C-Originals RT, had to settle for 8th place – the first non UK youth rider to come home in a smaller breakaway group.
Yanto Barker praised his team’s professionalism on regaining the trophy Freddy Johansson won in 2011 and remarked ; “I’m very pleased …it was so nice to be out in front with team mates as no-one missed a turn.” Of course they do have a major advantage over club teams with regard to training and nutrition and it really showed with a flat finish.
In the Regional category 3,4 race no such team dominance occurred for the 3 laps. Any attacks were either for the Prime points at St Brides Major or were short-lived and easily countered. So for the most part it was ‘Gruppo Compatto’ on the Vale of Glamorgan undulating course.
Cardiff Ajax’ Alex Tuck did try for a long one in the final km but was overwhelmed by the rouleurs and sprinters as they turned left into the finish. The ensuing gallop produced a fine win by a few bike lengths by 3rd cat Hywel Silvester of Bike Doctor with the juniors Jordan Bason MG-Maxifuel Pro Cycling in second and Jack Reed Royal Dean Forest CC in 3rd. Ajax rider Zach Minto managed to get in the points, in this his debut in a RR, which is highly creditable.
We’d like to thank all those who organised such a great event, notably Chris Landon and Mick Tinning; commissaires Liz Slater and Hannah Pole for the E/1/2/3 and Steve Thomas and Rob Jones for the 3/4 , National Escort Group, marshals, our sponsors who provided the cars, those who baked such wonderful cakes(!) and ,of course, the riders.
1. Yanto Barker Team UK Youth E Sen
2. Niklas Gustavsson Team UK Youth E Sen
3. Ian Wilkinson Team UK Youth E Sen
4. Rob Partridge Team UK Youth E Sen
5. Josh Hunt Team UK Youth E Sen
6. Chris Opie Team UK Youth E Sen
7. Marcin Bialoblocki Team UK Youth E Sen
8. Colin Parry SpinRotor-Primal Europe-C-Originals RT 1st Sen
9. Rob Westwood Cwmcarn Paragon RC Jun
10. Tristan Robbins Cardiff JIF 2nd Jun
11. Gerry Bowditch NFTO 2nd Vet40
12. Craig Seaman County Cycles Racing Team 2nd Sen
13. Joseph Wiltshire Cwmcarn Paragon Cycle Club 2nd Jun
14. Andrew Feather Exeter Wheelers 2nd Sen
15. John Holt County Cycles Racing Team 1st Vet40
16. Michael Serafin Guernsey Velo Club 3rd Sen
17. Matthew Osborn GVC Edmond De Rothschild 2nd Sen
18. David Medhurst Cardiff Ajax CC 2nd Sen
19. Malcolm Dixon Severn RC 2nd Sen
20. Graeme Boswell Cardiff Ajax CC 2nd Sen
Category 3/4 race
1. Hywel Silvester Bike Doctor 3rd Sen
2. Jordan Bason MG-Maxifuel Pro Cycling 3rd Jun
3. Jack Reed Royal Dean Forest CC 3rd Jun
4. Ryan Bevis NFTO 3rd Sen
5. David Gorton Team Tor 2000 3rd Sen
6. Christopher Fairclough Cwmcarn Paragon Cycle Club 3rd Sen
7. Mick Ballantyne NFTO 3rd Vet40
8. Hannah Walker Matrix Fitness Racing Academy 1st SenW
9. Michael Tarling West Wales Cycle Racing Team 3rd Sen
10. Joseph Lally CC Abergavenny 3rd Sen
11. Charles Solomon Bynea CC 3rd Jun
12. Gary Sturch Pontypool RCC 3rd Vet40
13. Adrian Peall Forza Cycles Racing Team 3rd Sen
14. Zach Minto Cardiff Ajax CC 4th Sen
15. Geoff Ripley Bristol RC 3rd Sen
16. Mark Davies Cycle Coaching Wales RT 3rd Sen
17. Ross Porter Team AC/DC 3rd Vet40
18. Sam Shannon Rutrainingtoday CC 3rd Sen
19. Alex Tuck Cardiff Ajax CC 4th Sen
20. Calum Challenger Onit Sports 4th Sen
Courtesy of Ian Homer are some photo’s of the event. Please visit his website to view and purchase.