ASHLEY Cox and Roy Chamberlain were Team Corley Cycles-Cervélo’s top finishers in Sunday’s inaugural road race promotion by the Essex based PCH UK Racing Team.
But Russell Hampton of Sigma Sport-Specialised proved to be the dominant rider of the day, soloing the last two laps of the wind-blown Ugly circuit near Saffron Walden to take the chequered flag by 1 minute 22 seconds.
A full field of 70 rides lined up at the start of the 120kms race and they’d hardly left the neutralised zone before the opening attack of the day got underway. Hampton first showed his face at the front of the race half way round the second of 10 laps and was joined by Dave McLean of the Pasta Montegrappa team.
Those two formed a partnership that equally shared the workload to keep themselves clear of the ever reforming chasing bunch and, until just over 20kms to go, their lead stretched out to around 1min 15secs. and was never pulled in to less than 35 seconds.
As they crested the climb to the finishing line with two laps to go, a group of nine riders finally hauled them in, but Hampton wasn’t quite finished even though he’d been at the front of the race for so long, so he attacked again.
Team Corley’s Chamberlain and Cox had featured in a number of the moves that tried to pull Hampton back but it was Chamberlain, linking up with Twenty3c’s Andrew Griffiths, who was the most prominent in the closing stages.
As the two turned left onto the final climb of the day, they in turn were pulled back by a now chasing quartet that included Dave McLean who had used the kilometres since he’d lost the lead with Hampton to sit in and recover to prepare for the final sprint.
It was Cox who then lined up alongside McLean as the riders climbed into the last kilometre of the race, but despite his earlier efforts, McLean proved to be the stronger sprinter leaving Cox to settle for 3rd place overall.
Chamberlain was caught up in the battle for 4th place and after going shoulder-to-shoulder with his rivals during the sprint, was forced to settle for 5th place.
Riding in the colours of the PCH UK squad, Castlethorpe’s Dan Crawley was 14th and Wolverton’s Wayne Maguire finished 33rd.
>> Further afield on Sunday, Team Corley picked up two bronze medals in the 80 mile National Masters Road Race championships held in very wet, blustery conditions around the Thruxton motor racing circuit.
Richard Cartland collected his medal in the race for riders aged between 30 and 34, with Ian Knight finishing in 3rd place in the 35 to 39 year old category.
It’s proving to be another very successful month for the riders from the Stacey Bushes-based squad with Mike Smith recently winning the Ras de Cymru stage race for the second year running, and Gaywood and Hales finishing in 10th and 11th places respectively in the fourth round of this year’s Elite Circuit race series.