Yorkshire Road Race Championships 2011

Elite/2nd/3rd – 142KM/88 miles

Sunday saw the Yorkshire Division Road Race Championships promoted by Sheffrec CC return to Denby Dale, venue for the 2009 Championships, which was won by Tom Barras.

In the Elite/2nd/3rd (88 mile) race Barras (Cycle Premier Metaltek) was once again on the start line as one of the pre race favourites, along with recent Lincoln GP winner Scott Thwaites (Endura Racing), local lad and defending Champion Tom Murray (Sigmasport Specialized Cycling Team) and a strong team from Sportcover Strategic Altura, which included the experienced Kevin Dawson and John Tanner.

The early morning downpour that most woke up to had thankfully cleared and the race rolled away under bright sunshine, but with a fierce wind that was to hammer riders all race. The action was under way on lap one, with a number of riders trying to break away, Sportcover were using their numbers to make the favourites do the chasing early on, but the major news was Tom Barras (Cycle Premier Metaltek) had suffered a rear wheel puncture and was chasing hard to get back on. The wind was wrecking havoc in the bunch with some riders unable to hold the wheel in front and slipping out of the pack, never to be seen again.

Sportcover continued to send riders up the road with Matthew Robinson (All Terrain Cycles) and Jack Cutsforth (Herbalife/Wheelbase) playing close attention at the head of the race, while Murray and Thwaites sat in the front group along side Barras, who had rejoined the group after a long chase.

With 50 miles to go Tom Murray had made the only significant move of the day and held a lead of 2 minutes as he crossed the line with 4 laps to go, once again it was Robinson chasing, this time with Kevin Dawson (Sportcover Strategic Altura). The main field with the rest of the favourites came though a further 90 seconds down. One lap later the Robinson and Dawson had been hauled back to the main group, with Barras and Cutsforth driving the chase.

With 2 laps to go the heavens opened and those brave souls still in the race were hit by hail stones, Murray still had over 2 ½ minutes in hand but the chasing group were clearly upping their effort. Going though the bell, Murray was still out on his own, but the chase driven by Robinson was gradually eating into his lead, whilst Kit Gilham (Sigmasport Specialized Cycling Team) played the team card and sat on Barras wheel.

To most people’s surprise a group of 6 came into view at the bottom of the finishing straight, with Murray nowhere in sight (his efforts had taken their toll and he’d been caught with half a lap to go). Barras and Thwaites were clearly the two strongest sprinters and had pulled clear of the others with 200 meters to go. But in the dash for the line they drifted dangerously to their right, with Thwaites catching the edge of a parked car and going down hard a long with Barras, Gilham who’d already settled for 3rd, saw his chance, swerved hard to avoid the tangled riders on the floor in front of him and raised his arms as victor, ahead of Sportcover riders Dawson and Moralee. Robinson took a well-earned fourth, with Barras and Thwaites taking 5th and 6th. Murray rolled in 8th 2 minutes down, but at least he had a smile on his face.

Women – 55KM/34 miles

The Women’s race was torn apart on lap one. Iona Sewell (Squadra Donne/Bike Food) quickly opened up a lead of over 1 minute on Samantha Buckingham (Wakefield CC/Exponential) within half a lap of their 55KM race, with the rest of the field over 3 minutes behind, they played no further part. As the race went on the two riders came together and rode together with Buckingham taking the sprint at the end of a very hard race.

Juniors & Masters – 88KM/55 miles

The race for Junior’s and Masters the field stayed together more on the opening laps. In the Masters event Peak RC could be seen at the head of affairs in numbers, whilst in the Junior race Ashley Proctor (Sheffrec CC) could be seen doing large turns on the front. Paul Bell (Peak RC) took the honours in the Masters (2nd Vet), from Paul Dixon (VS Cycles) and Steve Gibson made it a great day for Peak RC with third place.

Edward McParland (GT Racing UK) got the better of Proctor in the Junior race with Joesph Moses (Paul Milnes Cycles) third.

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