What a fantastic early season for our Forge racers. We had it all; two victories, one podium, two top 10s, a debut, a move-up in category and all the delights in between.
First up the wins.
Man-mountain Lewis C has a 100% record in 2023. One race, one win.
The Category 3 rider (the lower the category number, the higher the standard) took top spot at Hillingdon Cycle Circuit, out-foxing the peloton in a confused and chaotic breakaway.
The drama started with five laps to go, with the race being black flagged in order to let paramedics onto the track after a crash. Prior to the neutralization, the race was punchy with a few attacks. But each time it came back together. With confusion over the final bell, most riders sprinted for the line, only to be told the bell was for the end of the Women’s race. The Men’s race actually had two laps remaining!
This completely split the race apart, with riders all over the place. Showing their race guile, Lewis kept his head and bagged the 10-points for a win, with a solo surge. And Tom B (ToBo) made it a great day for Forge, winning the bunch sprint for an excellent 8th.
ToBo is building his season points tally with a Top 10 at Hillingdon two weeks’ previously. Boxed in in the bunch sprint, he still managed to weave his way to an excellent 7th spot.
And that same day, over at Lee Valley in the Olympic Park, our Club Chair Paddy O (back racing for the first time in decades, yes… decades!), powered home to win the bunch sprint at the Full Gas Winter Circuit Series round 14.
In a testing blustery sprint, he timed his effort to perfection, hitting the front with 20 metres to go. No-one more surprised than him, to this late-blooming return to the top spot.
He backed this up with a second place in another bunch sprint at the same location two weeks later. In another category 4 race, he and Dev S did well in a cagey race dictated by a strong headwind in the home straight.
Dev was comfortable in the bunch and all on for a Top 10 but got baulked in the final corner to come in 14th. Improving and learning all the time, it’s only a matter of time before he bags some points.
Meanwhile Paddy lost a vital two positions in the last corner, starting the bunch sprint in 7-8th rather than his hope for 4-5th, finishing strongly to grab second by sliding up the inside.
He thought afterwards he might have overhauled the winner if the race were 10 metres longer. Ifs, buts and maybes… however, what is certain is he moves from Category 4 to Category 3! Chapeau.
And on to our debutante, the super strong Bex C, who lined up for her first ever race at Abingdon Cycle Circuit in Oxford on another blustery day.
Up against a host of Category 2 riders, she more than held her own, with the breakaway going on the fast tailwind section. Bridging a few gaps and then organising the pursuit, she led in the remnants of the bunch for a scintillating 7th place!
The only way is up for Bex – and for all of the Forge racers. Remember, it’s only February.
At Forge we have riding for all types of riders.
From social riding right through to racing, there always a ride for you.
Why not join us for an Introductory Ride one Sunday soon… and see where Forge takes you.