Report by Neil Higgins
On a bright but cool morning I picked Tony up in Horwich at 06:45 and we headed down to The Black country where Graham and Anne had spent the night in the “team camper van”.
We got to the HQ in plenty of time and, once ready, went for a warm up. We cycled up the main drag on the circuit which didn’t look too bad. Back at HQ we met up with Graham and had a brief chat about our tactics.
The race was neutralised to the top of the climb, but just before the top the first attacks went and that set the tone for the first lap. Graham, Tony and myself all tried to get in a break hoping the strong riders would join us and form the winning break, all failed so as we hit the long drag it was a fast but steady pace with myself and Graham near the front and Tony not far behind. Second time up Tony set a hard tempo, but near the top Rich Edwards and Craig Wilson attacked; this caused a reaction in the bunch and I had to put in a hard effort to stay near the front. That attack failed and soon after Tony Grassby attacked and got a good gap, again there was plenty of attacks up the shot sharp hills.
3rd time up the drag Edwards and Wilson attacked and this time they got clear, over the top and on to the main rd about 6/8 riders did some through and off and we could see the leading 3 riders but the over halve the bunch sat on and not willing to race the break pulled clear, by this time Tony was paying for his early efforts and was off the back of the bunch.
Over the last lap or so there was a few riders willing to race and up the drag for the last time there was a split in the bunch Graham was in the front split and I joined him after a big effort over the top of the climb, in to the last mile or so and riders tried to steal a march on the bunch as we approached the finale km The sprint for the line started at about 300m Graham was up there and I was just behind the pace setters I tried to kick but my legs were feeling it, so I sat down and just rode as hard as I could to the line.
Rich Edwards won from Craig Wilson and Tony Grassby 3rd Graham finished 3rd D and about 7th in race and I was 4th D and about 10th in race, Tony DNF but all in all a good day for Team ASL.
48miles in 2hr 5mins.