Richard Wilkinson provides a race report for the Eddie Soens memorial race that Team took part in at the weekend.

First race of the season and lot of apprehension about my form and some worry since this race has never been fruitful for me in the past. Pan flat, very fast and funnily enough not my sort of race. I need a few rolls and lumps for me to be happy.

However, the race ended up being a bit of a non starter as the handicap allows the juniors to start 3.30mins ahead of the race. Unfortunately there are about 40 juniors many of which are cracking GB talent team riders and who are fast! The juniors came round to lap the elites just as the 3 min 30 sec handicap allowed the elites to start. Now the juniors were joined to the elite group and it meant that they had a lap and that was that! However, we did have some PBK representation in the junior field in the form of PBK junior rider Mike Gregg. He was one of those who gained a lap and got a superb finish of 12th.

I was a bit confused as to why the elites didn’t try and attack the juniors to get a group away that did not have any juniors in???  I don’t know if they did since I was ambling along waiting to get caught in the group in front. However, all the groups then joined together quickly and I started to make some attacks and follow moves. There were several riders looking pretty fit and strong no more so than Ben Swift of Sky, who showed some fast legs to close gaps down to several hopeful moves.

All of this was to no avail however as the large teams continued to neutralize each other and not let any breaks go far up the road. I tried my hand and got in a number of promising moves as well as a few lone moves. In the end though there was really no escape and the remainder of the race was played out in a mass sprint for the line. Knowing the varying abilities in the group I decided to give the sprint a wide berth and stayed on the outside of the final corner finishing in the bunch, which was sensible since a rider went down in the final hundred yards; nice start to the season for him!

Thanks to Richard for the rider’s eye view of the race.



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