A STUNNING day’s racing saw riders in the colours of Corley Cycles – Cervélo – Alpha RC bring home two prestigious Regional Championships at the weekend, placing the city outfit in second place overall in British Cycling’s National Team rankings.
Chris McNamara started the memorable day for the Stacey Bushes-based side in the 142km South East Regional race on a hilly circuit in Kent.
As the only Team Corley man in the race, Chris had to fight off other team supported riders in his efforts to win one of the few Southern based top flight races that was previously missing from his CV.
He was part of the three-man move that finally shook itself free from the competitive field and, although it looked like they’d be pulled back with only a handful of kilometres to go, he cannily slipped around the eventual second placed rider to take a well deserved and acclaimed win.
“It was really a war of attrition throughout the race,” he said. “It was very windy and a quite hilly circuit. I know, I sat in for the last couple of kilometres. Nick Hutchinson was really going strong at that stage. But on this occasion I’m just happy to say that the end justified the means.”
And in the team’s ‘home’ championship it was the red, black and white colours of Team Corley that filled six of the top 12 places in the Central Region’s race – a 140km affair over the tortuous climbs linking the villages of Chearsley, Ashendon and Dorton.
And it was the case of a wise head on old shoulders that won the day, with Newport Pagnell’s own Roy Chamberlain taking the chequered flag five seconds clear of another local rider, Matt Jones of Team Raleigh.
With three laps of the nearly 20km circuit to complete, Chamberlain was part of the group that included his team-mates Simon Gaywood – the 2010 champion – and Ashley Cox that formed at the front, drove hard and split itself away from the chasing peloton.
On the final lap the vastly experienced Chamberlain made his move and, with Cox covering any efforts by the Raleigh rider to pull him back, he soloed away to his sixth Regional championship.
“It really was a team effort,” Roy said. “We knew we had the numbers so we planned before the race how we wanted to do things.
“We knew we had to cover young Jones as he’s really going well and Ashley was the perfect team man to cover him so I could go for the race win.”
And with all the weekend’s racing points taken into account, Team Corley have now moved above many top domestic and fully professional teams in the British Cycling team rankings, and in doing so repaid the faith of their sponsors in spades. And the big races keep coming with Corley in city Tour Series action in Peterborough and Colchester this week.