NUMBER TWO FOR BIGHAM
Can Dan Bigham (Brother NRG Wattshop) continue his great run of form for another week? After taking the RTTC National Circuit Championship last weekend and this Sunday’s Team Time Trial Championship with team mates Charlie Tanfield and Simon Wilson can he make it three in a row by adding the 50-mile title next Sunday? We shall see.
Yorkshire DC’s promotion was blessed with the fine weather for the 31-mile TTT title race, even though the hot weather did not suit everyone, some coming to a stop with heat exhaustion, you certainly needed to keep well hydrated as temperatures climbed.
With 50 teams entered it was the women’s Championship that was the first to be cut and dried with eight squads chasing the medals. This time out defending champions Chester RC (Jill Wilkinson, Rebecca Holland, Gina Riley) had to give best to Jocelyn Lowden, Emma Lewis and Crystal Lane the road racing trio from APRIRE Bicycles-HSS Hire, whose 1-09-55 put them 3-02 clear of Chester RC.
Second in 2016, TORQ Performance had to settle for third this time with Melanie Sneddon, Janet Birkmyre and Madeline Moore.
“We have a good mix in the team,” said Jocelyn Lowden, “I’m good at going up hills, Emma is strong in time trialling while Crystal is our track star.(She has Paralympic medals from the Rio Olympics).”
“I was a runner before taking up cycling. I found I was good at going up hills, last year I finished fourth in the National Hill-Climb Championship and I aim to win it this year, Lowden laughed." Lowden’s current season was put back after a couple of accidents, “a motorist opened his car door on me and brought me down,” she recalled. “Today is my come back, so I’m pleased with our performance.”
It may be recalled that last year Emma Lewis won the RTTC Closed Circuit Championship after finishing third in the open road Circuit Championship.
The action in the Men’s Championship centred on the last 20 teams with the Army Cycling Union’s Paul Jones, Rich Hunt and Jack Webb setting the early standard with their 1-04-57. That was quickly bettered by the Rhino Velo RT’s Matthew Davies, Matthew Garthwaite and Kirk Vickers with a 1-03-28. They had to give way to Pro Vision Cycle Clothing who were just four seconds quicker after trailing Rhino Velo by 19 seconds at half distance.
After being 29 seconds down on Pro Vision Cycle Clothing (John Archibald, David Griffiths and Robert Friel) at half distance a strong finish brought Lutterworth Cycle Centre home with a 1-03-15, 15 seconds behind Team Bottrill-HSS Hire’s Charles Taylor, Daniel Barnett and George Evans. Taylor’s trio fell victims to their team mates Joshua Williams, Stuart Travis and John Dewey, a 1-00-06 heading the leader board back at the event HQ where Mike Smith (Team Swift) was keeping the crowds entertained with his knowledgeable commentary.
Four teams were still out on the A168 course, Velotik RT, Brother NRG Wattshop, the Matthew Bottrill led Team Bottrill and SSLL RT, silver medallists in 2016.
Judging by the split times Brother NRG Wattshop were the ones to beat, their 30-57 the day’s fastest, 27 seconds up on the John Dewey Team Bottrill squad the current leaders. Bottrill’s team were on 32-09 while SSLL RT had clocked 32-08.
Mike Smith had been predicting an under the hour ride would win the event and so it proved with Dan Bigham, Charlie Tanfield and Simon Wilson carrying the Brother NRG Wattshop colours to the top step of the podium and victory with a 59-36. A 1-01-57 earned Matthew Bottrill yet another time trial medal .
“We were getting time checks on Team Bottrill (Dewey’s trio) so we knew when to push on. I had a few problems early on when my chain came off at 10 and 15 miles, I was testing a new chainring, and Charlie (Tanfield) went the wrong way at a roundabout,” Bigham said. “We were well prepared for the heat we had ice packs to cool us down.”