Family commitments meant no Surrey Rumble for me, but a last minute chance to ride at Brighton (provided I can meet the nephews for their party); a 05:50 start, two trains and a ride through London notwithstanding.

My first ride at the Preston Park circuit (the oldest in Britain) in perfect sunny conditions. Some 35 riders, with one Dynamo, one Paragon and myself from London. A big field from Crawley and Blazing Saddles meant I would be hoping for support in chasing breaks.

Blazing Saddles attack very early en masse in a well-planned manoeuvre. Three riders get away and I’m kicking myself that I can’t stay with them – not fully warmed up or just plain tired! There isn’t a lot of help and the points ride away. The next 30 minutes are spent close to or on the front, some riders working together with good, safe handling skills. Blazing Saddles are refusing to work, of course, until the first three rejoin the group. I then sit in, top five and chase a five-laps-to-go attack.

The Bell Lap and I recall tales of being boxed in and crashing. I take a good position second wheel and attack early with about 300m to go, taking the inside line for the sprint. But this is a sprinters circuit and I am not one. Good position on the final bend with good speed. I’m passed by riders for fifth or sixth in the pack. Some more BC points, but I’m not sure where the three leaders were placed so final result to be confirmed. UPDATE: Seventh place and three more points.

Some riders commend my efforts, so I leave for the seafront satisfied with my efforts. I will see if I can ride a few more of these Sunday races with other Cat4s before Hillingdon and the Surrey League take off. The logistics are brutal (for me), but the racing is good. Drop me a line if you’d like to come along.

Kind regards,

Daren

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