In a break from the tradition for the Bayeux series of races, number 3 was a relatively fast and rolling affair, despite the “Ditchling Common” location conjuring up thoughts of quite the opposite. 10 laps of a 6.5 mile course, with no real climbs to speak of and a 200m sprint finish after a left turn at a roundabout.

Myself, McCarthy and Les made the early morning trip for a 9:30 start, and rolled out with a slightly reduced field of 40 or so. Points were only available for the top 20, and after #2’s washout there were plenty of people for which coming all the way down wasn’t really worth it. Yet despite the small field, Dynamo made up 1 in 4 riders…

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Photo courtesy of Glyn Durrant, Surrey League.

The first couple of laps saw a few attacks, between myself and a few others, we kept them all in check. The Dynamo were employing some infuriating tactics of quite literally blocking the road at the front of the race, letting a couple of their guys get away. Cue lots of semi-sprints to chase down breaks.

On about lap 3 a racer with no club kit goes off the front (having done so a couple of times already) and puts 100m or so between him and the pack. No-one really seems to care as a VCM guy (who I’d had my eye on as the winner from two weeks ago, and a strong performance at the handicap at Staple Hill), rides off the front after him. The road was rolling and there was quite a headwind blowing yet still no-one seemed to care. Not quite so confident of the lack of danger myself, I took it upon myself to bridge to the VCM rider. I broke clear of the pack and made it over to him, and in turn we joined with the 3rd guy.

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Photo courtesy of Glyn Durrant, Surrey League.

Over the next 5 laps we pull out our lead to a maximum reported 1:04, all the while acutely aware of the number of Dynamo in the pack to organise a chase. Myself & VCM working well together, however I get the distinct impression that the 3rd bloke has spent very little, or no time riding in any kind of organised fashion. He seemed intent on killing himself as quickly as possible – doing a turn and then coming round from the back after he’d had enough of resting. Despite this, we seemed to be extending our advantage and the pack didn’t seem to be in too much of a hurry to chase. Meanwhile, an ASL guy and Dynamo guy apparently had decided they were going to spend a lap or so attacking each other, so when the time gap was subsequently report as 40s, the mentality of the pack shifted somewhat. We were reeled back in with about 3 laps to go.

With some assistance from Mr McCarthy, we cover the multitude of counter attacks over the course of the next lap – I find myself up the road of a split a couple of times – but nothing sticks. 2 laps to go and a Dynamo rider heads off the front, with some exemplary riding… I’ve got little left to give at this point and he solos off on his own. A lap later and traffic causes the race to be neutralised, restarted with 1 to go, and the Dynamo rider given his 30s lead. Coming into the rolling headwind-y straight before the left turn to the finish, we can see him 100m up the road. Over the next half a mile the pack gets increasing messy and dangerous, as we gain on the solo break and prepare for the final sprint. Just before the corner, another Dynamo rider attacks the bunch, makes the turn, overtakes the leader and takes the win. A momentary lapse of judgement leaves me boxed in and I roll in about 20th. Les just ahead, James just behind.

Great work by all, especially James, who having been dropped in the first of this series is now holding position and doing excellent work to control the front of the race. Chapeau.

James Bradley

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