Cycling: a full field of 50 riders out to compete on windy and testing Laughton Circuit

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The second round of the Lewes Wanderers Evening Criterium Series, with prizes sponsored by the Tri Store, Eastbourne, saw a full field of 50 riders turn out to race on the Laughton Circuit on a dry evening with high winds.

This ferocious headwind for leading riders coming down the Broyle – and a tailwind up the Lewes road – made for testing conditions on the night.

The first prime saw Simon MacNamara from the Southdowns Bikes team easing clear from LWCC overall series leader after round one, Rob Pelham, and Shane Pope from the Bayeux Cycling Team.

Two more prime skirmishes saw both Pelham and MacNamara win one each, a testimony to the consistency and strength of both riders.

The organiser was pleased to see several teams fielding junior riders including Lewes, Eastbourne Rovers, VO2 development, ASL360 and – riding his first Lewes crit – triathlete Jago Leckie from Hailsham.

All rode extremely well against their older colleagues.

There were several attempts at a race-deciding breakaway, including a concerted team effort by Team ASL 360 mid race.

Lewes riders Nick Dwyer and Dominic Lowden in particular did some hard work to protect Pelham’s lead in chasing down attacks.

The race ended in a bunch sprint after a hectic fight for position on the final lap.

Unfortunately, Lewes rider John Miller fell heavily and suffered a broken collarbone in the final 500 metres.

This is rotten luck for John as he is due to attempt the gruelling London-Edinburgh-London Audax at the end of July.

At the front of the race, MacNamara looked almost untouchable as he crossed the line ahead of a frantic sprint, which saw Pelham prevail over the experienced Martin Markowski of ASL 360, in a very close photo finish at the front of a fast moving bunch.

Going into the final week, the talented and tactically astute MacNamara goes head to head on equal points with strong man Pelham for the last event, although, with double points on the last night, several other riders have sufficient points to put themselves into contention.

On the previous Monday, the LWCC Evening Ten series incorporated the Fixed Wheel event – which proved to be a closely fought contest between Paul Gibbons and Dom Lowden, and which saw Paul claim victory by a mere two seconds in a fast time of 23:44.

The weekend saw three of Lewes’ premier riders compete in the Hemel Hempstead 10 mile event held near Tring.

This highly anticipated ride is held on one of the fastest courses in the country and had attracted a full start list of 150 competitors. Such was the scramble for places that a cut off time of 21:24 was set, meaning only the top competitors in the country had the necessary qualifying times to compete.

Hopes of super-fast times were dashed with a combination heavy downpours and fierce winds.

However, despite the foul weather, Nick Dwyer, Rob Pelham and Tom Glandfield managed to smash the club Team Record by over two minutes by recording times of 19:54, 20:07 and 20:56 respectively.

Such was the quality of their rides that they managed to finish as second team in this high calibre field. Rob Pears of Bath CC won the event in a time of 19:08.

In the Southborough 25, held on the local Boship-based course, the Wanderers had a solid day out, with Pete Morris being the first Lewes man home in a time of 55:47.

Other times were: Mark Paton 59:21, Sam Ramsey 59:30, Michael Valks 59:39, Micky Turner 1:01:32, your correspondent 1:01:44 and Stephen Gaston 1:07:02.

The overall winner was Steve Kane of Brighton Excelsior in a time of 53:59.

The final rides of the weekend were made by Dom Lowden and Duncan Fuller who took part in the Axiom 25 held on the A3, and both riders had fine rides setting personal best times of 58:33 and 56:03 respectively.

More details of all these events and further club activities can be found at www.leweswanderers.co.uk, or follow the club on Twitter via @ LewesWanderers