Race Report - Phil Ward Memorial - WMRRL 2/3/4 -
It seems like race reports have been well received, so I'll take it up for the Phil Ward Memorial. First up, and needless to say, a massive congrats to John and the team for a really professionally organised race. So onto the detail. Samuel Blackbourn Simon Bromley and I took to the line in PCRT Jerseys, all looking loosely for the same thing; a solid/comfortable finish.
The pace for the first half of the race was quick; approx 26.5/27mph for the first 3 laps. I tried to go from the gun in an early move, a tactic that has worked out well in previous years in this race for others. However given the frenetic pace and the caliber of the field this year, nothing was permitted to go so early. Lots of the big hitters tried the same tactic with the same result. I then trundled to the back of the pack to observe whilst the pace stayed high.
A break of 11 (?) went on lap 4 (possibly 5), in a pretty soft move considering the quality of rider. But the soft ones often stick...
I tried again on Lap 4 (possibly 5) (over the top of the climb) to get over, I believe just after the main break had gone in a bid to get across. Again this was clamped down on very swiftly by Clee Cycles and RST who had men in the larger break.
Sam and Si very sensibly kept concealed in the mid-pack for the first half of the race, given the conditions (hot & fast) then showing themselves a little more as the race entered its final laps. Simon was unlucky to miss out on the small move that went with Matt Davies and Dave Griff to soak up the minor placings.
All 3 PCRT riders finished pretty comfortably mid-pack, not really with a sprint as the points had all gone up the road.
Congrats to Chris Pook for taking the win, especially as he out gunned Chris Childs of Clee Cycles (3/4 wins to his name already this year) and Matt Higgins of RST (former Elite with >700 points in a season to his name) in the finale.
All in all, this should give all PCRT riders in the race a measure of their mark for upcoming races. For myself, it was a confirmation that after an awful winter, I'm not as far off the pace as I thought I might be. A few more weeks of hard work and we'll see what happens in June/July.
Again, hats off to John and the team, and a big thank you to everyone who gave up your time to either help out or support us from the roadside!
I'll ask Sam and Si to give input in more detail from their perspective in the comments.