INCREASINGLY heavy rain made for tough conditions for riders taking part in the second round of the Lewes Criterium Road Race on Thursday night.
The opening lap of the race set off at a fierce pace, with Lewes stars Pete Morris and Rob Pelham gaining first two places at the first prime.
The tempo of the race was certainly more intense than in round one and the unremitting pressure saw a continual stream of riders detaching from the peloton.
The rain increased in intensity as the race unfolded, making it a testing examination of riders’ resolve and technical ability, which enables them to power at breakneck speeds along slick roads. The race climaxed in a thrilling sprint for the line, with Matthew Butt of ASL 360 breaking the tape in top spot.
Lewes ace Rob Pelham was well placed for the final sprint, but a clash of wheels cost him valuable seconds, but he still had a great ride to finish in eighth place.
The scene is set for a thrilling denouement of the series with Todd Leckie on 23 points, edging ahead of Rob Pelham on 16.
With double points on offer for the last round the overall title is still very much in the balance, with any of the top ten riders in with a fighting chance of being crowned champion on Thursday.
After the dismal weather of the last few weeks, it made a pleasant change to see temperatures edging up and the wind easing as riders prepared for the Southborough and District Wheelers 25 run on the A22.
The wind unfortunately had not completely died down and the gusty conditions did not promise fast times on the day.
Despite this several Wanderers managed to record personal best performances, including Mark Frost (58:02) and the racing revelation of the season, Sam Ramsey, who sliced over a minute of his previous best, recording a fast time of 1:00:55.
The overall winner was a young racing phenomenon Eliot Porter of Team Corridori-Specialised who, in his first ever 25, recorded an incredible 53:39.
Nick Dwyer, despite feeling below par, still managed to put in a fantastic ride to grab second place, and first Vet’s place, with a time of 54:29. Nick teamed up with Rob Pelham (56:04) and Pete Morris (56:13) to capture the team prize for the fastest team of three.
Other Lewes times were:Tom Glandfield 57:30, Duncan Fuller 58:34, Neil Midgley 59:14, Mark Paton 1:00:25, Michael Valks 1:00:34, Dominic Lowden 1:00:40, Michael Turner 1:00:52, your correspondent 1:03:54 and Natasha Fuller 1:05:44.
Earlier in the week the club promoted round six of its evening ten series, which incorporated the fixed gear event. On a fixed gear bike riders do not have the luxury of gears to help them over the changing profile of a course.
Although this might seem a severe handicap the payoff of a fixed machine is its lightness and lack of gear friction.
The evening itself was a usual June one, dark, dank and miserable.
Several riders opted out of the ride, choosing an angst-filled evening of watching England grinding out a 1-1 draw with France.
I for one rather wished I had opted for the pain of a ten-miler in the rain rather than suffer the agonies of watching England.
Jamie Lowden, fresh from his French conquests, stormed around the course in an incredible time of 22:35 (surely one of the fastest fixed times ever on this course) to be crowned fixed champion of the year (this is not to imply that the race was fixed!)
More news of all these events and further club activities can be found at www.leweswanderers.co.uk