Saturday was my first Darley Moor of the season. I normally kick my season off with it but with being all over the country I haven't had chance to get over and race. The course is very flat, with great quality tarmac and minimal braking required on each lap. This makes it super fast, with the average speed of most E12 races there around 44-45kph!
I hadn't managed to get a win on the road yet this season, with a 5th, 3rd and two 2nds in my first four National B road races, so was pretty desperate to get on to the top step. I had the support of two team mates, Jonny Wale and Rob Orr, so we should be able to battle for the win against what was a very strong 80 man field including pros from JLT Condor, Raleigh GAC and Bike Channel Canyon.
The race started as every race ever does: going out hard and a few futile attacks on the first lap. Rolling across the finish line for lap 1 and in to the fast left hander on to the main straight, I carried a lot more speed than those around me, rolling off the front with relative ease. I put my head down for a lap and opened up a gap of around 5 seconds quite quickly. A 50km race, 1 lap in and I'm away solo, ideal haha! Over the next few laps I built this gap to around 15 seconds and held it there, hoping one or two riders might come over. Adam Kenway of Raleigh GAC had a good go but was reabsorbed by the pack after a couple of laps dangling off the front. Once it become clear nobody was jumping the gap I picked it up and got my lead to around 45 seconds over the bunch. In the final 20 minutes, a group of 4 jumped cleared including my team mate Jonny, who had been vigilantly marshalling the peloton to ensure nobody got away without him on their wheel. This group of four, including Adam Kenway (Raleigh GAC) and Matt Gibson (JLT Condor) stuck and started to make inroads in to my advantage. In the final 2 laps I still had a 30 second lead, Matt had broken off from the group of 4 and Jonny had gotten on to his wheel. It was quite fun watching this evolve whilst being just off the front. I rolled over the line to take the win, averaged 45.4kph for my breakaway. Jonny rode wisely and took the sprint to claim second place. A solid 1-2 for the team and a well executed race!
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We'd like to thank Mick Brown for the use of his fantastic photos.