The final round of the Lewes Wanderers Cycling Club Criterium road race series, sponsored by the Tri Store in Eastbourne, took place on the Laughton road circuit last Thursday (June 20).
The average speed was exceptionally high this week due to a calm evening and a highly competitive field.
The early primes were hotly contested, with the returning rider, Jamie Lowden, getting the early points for Lewes – and Simon MacNamara, of Southdowns Bikes, doing enough to gain points in each sprint.
The previous week’s race leader, Rob Pelham, was unable to contest these high speed battles and one rider at the finish seemed perplexed that his 37.8 mile per hour finishing pace was not quick enough to win him even a minor sprint!
The race was shaped by Nick Dwyer, one of Lewes’ top short distance time trial specialists.
He set a relentless pace on the front of the bunch and this caused many riders to head back to the race HQ early.
On the last lap a break of four riders formed, containing Dwyer, Nigel Langridge of Crawley CC, Nathan Fletcher of ASL360 and Marc Townsend of the Neon Velo team.
In the final sprint, Fletcher took an impressive win from Townsend with Dwyer finishing third.
After some tense inspection of the final points scores, the series overall was won by MacNamara, who had done enough on the final night by leading home the bunch sprint for fifth place to edge out Lowden in second, with first round winner, Lewes rider Pelham, completing the podium.
The Lewes team of marshals and helpers did another fantastic job in putting on the race and we look forward to next year, which will be the 50th consecutive running of this popular event.
Lewes Wanderers Cycling Club would like to thank Chris Hough and his large team of helpers for putting on the show.
After his spectacular midweek ride, Lowden made the long trip home to his base in France and entered a prestigious French Federation race, which featured some of the premier riders in the region.
Jamie sported Lewes colours and did the club proud by grabbing an impressive win.
The first half of the race was largely flat, but ferocious winds meant a grim battle all the way.
The thrilling climax to the race unfolded on the mountain top finish on the Col d’Ahusquy where Jamie powered up the final 20 per cent incline to grab victory from a strong bunch of seven riders.
Meanwhile, this side of the Channel, four Lewes representatives had to content themselves with the slightly less glamorous settings of the A24 to compete in Sunday’s tough SCCU 50 mile time trial.
The undulating course around Dial Post is a notoriously difficult one to master, with the addition of the stiff headwind down the A24 compounding the challenge.
Rob Pelham had another strong ride and made light of the conditions by securing third position in a time of 1:54:42.
With Peter Morris (1:57:32) and Phil Allen (1:58:29) both finishing in the top six, this talented trio are provisional winners of the team award.
Your correspondent was the fourth rider and I completed my ride in 1:16:49.
Overall winner was the impressive Steve Dennis of East Grinstead Cycling Club who underlined his class by posting a very fast time of 1:51:42.
More details of all these events and further club activities can be found at www.leweswanderers.co.uk