The 4th race of the 5 race NCRA Spring Handicap Road Race series took place on Sunday 16th April on the circuit from Old to Mawsley, Foxhall, Lamport and back to Old.
The premise for running the series is to give newcomers and perhaps riders coming back to road racing the opportunity to road race under conditions that allow anybody in the field to do well and make progress in the sport. The less experienced riders go off in the early groups and the more experienced road racers start in the later groups and have to ride faster if they want to be at the sharp end of the race by the time it comes to the finish. It’s a formula that works well.
For our race a full field of 60 had entered but 52 riders took to their line spread out fairly evenly into the 5 handicap groups each one having a 2 minute gap on the following group.
Riding in Kettering colours were Lucas Buksh, Andy Fairley and Mike Cowland. Lucas and Andy are both 4th cat riders so went off in groups 1 & 2 respectively. Mike as a 3rd cat with more experience and a past record of success went off with the 4th group.
In the race the first 3 groups came together as did groups 4 and 5 and by the end of the 2nd of the 3 laps the gap between the two bunches was around 50 seconds. It more or less stayed that way until Paul Gazey from Lichfield City CC crossed the line 1st with his arms aloft. He was followed over the line by Dan O’shea of VeloElite and Gary Roberts, one of the many riders supporting the series from Welland Valley.
Crossing the line in 10th place and winning the ladies prize for the day was Eleanor Humphries of Welland Valley. Eleanor was “chuffed” with her performance as she had every right to be. I know that she’s looking forward to doing more races as the season progresses.
Of the juniors Dominic Switzer from Welland Valley was 5th overall and 1st junior. James Wicks from Hart Performance Coaching was 11th overall and 2nd junior. Both were really good rides and show a lot of promise for their futures in racing.
Of the Kettering riders Andy “Furbs” Fairley was 17th and Mike Cowland 30th. Lucas Buksh got a puncture on the 3rd lap while in the winning group and unfortunately didn’t finish. That’s racing I’m afraid but I’m sure he’ll be back doing well in more races as the season progresses. Both Andy and Mike enjoyed their races with Andy, whose last road race was the last race in the area before lockdown in 2020, saying that he’d forgotten how exciting road races can be and looked forward to getting back into it.
After the event I was pleased to get a lot of positive feedback from riders about the quality of the support they’d had from all of the people around the course who’d help to make the event a successful one. To run the event we needed around 20 people in roles ranging from Race Commissaires, Lead Car Drivers, Accredited Marshals, Red Flag Marshals, Race Motorbikes, Emergency Medical cover, HQ coordinators, Finish Line Judges and Refreshment provision. Many of those roles are undertaken by British Cycling accredited personnel and commercial operations but other roles fall on Kettering CC members or from within the NCRA team.
KCC members who helped out on the day were
Victoria Bell, Andrea Woolcott, Scott Barber, Roland Bell, Ian Bird, James Belton, Marcus Buksh, Roy Crombie, Mike Deely, Darren Gillings and Danny Metherell. Thank you so much for your contributions to the day.
A couple of other thank yous need to go to Ian Wild and Rowland Summerlin from the NCRA team. Without their help and advice I couldn’t have run the event anywhere near as well. And to our friends at Welland Valley CC who lent us some of their race equipment without which the race wouldn’t have been possible.
Finally thank you to KCC member Michael Dobbs from Michael Dobbs Photography. He’s supplied most of the photos that you see in this post. Anybody wanting any copies (without the watermark) can contact him on any of the following :
Facebook: Michael Dobbs Photography
If you’d like to know more about the options for going road racing then mail me and I’ll gladly help you as much as I can.