Andy and I made the trip down to Dunsfold on Friday night for the first of the cat 4 series as part of the Surrey League. Work and heavy traffic meant we arrived with little time to spare – and we knew that Darren wouldn’t be there to help us out as he had at our first Hillingdon race

As we set off, we tried to stay top third without doing too much work. The first couple of laps were pretty pedestrian but it felt a lot more relaxed than the Hillingdon cat 4 races I’d done previously – certainly fewer shouts of “hold your line” from people at the back of the group. Two laps of ten down and a break away as we crossed the start line – three riders from the same team. I jump on the end of it thinking I’ll make the most of them working together – but they can’t work together and the bunch catches with ease. This is the story of the race really. A few further attempts at a break but nothing sticks. As the laps run down everyone’s resigning themselves to the inevitable bunch sprint. There are 65 riders in the race so I tell myself I need to keep to the front to stay out of trouble if nothing else. Just as I thought that, a guy to the right of me hits a rut in the road, clips someone’s wheel and supermans over his handlebars (he was fine when we saw him at the finish).

I spot Andy with a couple of laps to go. We’re both well positioned on the inside near the front. If Andy’s feeling the effects of his commute earlier in the day he’s not showing it! There’s a swarm of riders to the right trying to position themselves for the sprint. There’s still a couple of kms to go though so we hold our position and wait for the gaps to appear as the pace picks up. Four riders decide they’re going to have a go from a long way out but it’s too early…way too early! The bunch increases the pace to catch the mini break and I jump on the back of someone’s wheel knowing this is where we need to make it count. We’re in to the final straight, riders start to spread and go for their sprints early and fall back. As the line approaches I ease past a couple of guys who’ve gone too soon and point myself at the free space on the right of the road. My eyes are focussed on the space in front, as I cross the line I look to my left – one guy in front and then me!! I think I finished second. My first surrey league and BC points. Andy finishes in the bunch – top 20. We’re both chuffed and looking forward to round two next Friday.

If anyone else is interested you can join the Surrey League online and entry to the race is pay on the day at Dunsfold Park. The series is on for around 10 weeks with racing starting at 7pm.

Neil Kerr

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