Gordon Wiseman writes – Dan Crawley (PCH UK Racing Team) scored his – and his team’s – debut win in Sunday’s Chelmer CC Road Race and in doing so boosted the challenge of the PCH UK outfit to win the team completion of the 2011 Eastern Road Race League.
Now living in Castlethorpe, Crawley has connections with the Essex based PCH UK team having lived in the county for over 20 years before moving to the Milton Keynes area but throughout that time, and since, he raced regularly in events held in Essex. Four of the PCH UK riders lined up with nearly 70 other competitors at the start of the 100km race that was held on the mainly flat roads around Chelmsford. “Not quite pan flat” Dan later described the circuit, “just enough lumps to make it hard”.
After an initial flurry of attacks, a group of less than a dozen riders finally broke the elastic holding together the full race group leaving Crawley’s team-mate Ian Franklin to form a chase to bring the race back under control.
With Franklin being pulled back by the rest of the peloton, Crawley himself attacked and managed to get across to the six riders left from the original breakaway (that included the Glendene CC pairing Daniel Young and Jim Lewis) who then worked together to form a lead of around 90 seconds.
General road traffic caused a few problems which then lost the rest of the field a further 2 ½ minutes but that delay stirred up those chasing riders in their efforts to bring the race back together. “But at the same time, some in our leading group thought that with 4 minutes to play with we were home and dry and so our lead was soon pulled back to around 1 ½ minutes again” explained Crawley after the race. “I think the bunch worked so well together because they were angry at being delayed but their efforts nearly cost us the race” he said.
With less than 1km to go, the chasers were back in sight but still no one in the lead group really committed themselves and so with then only 450m left to go, Crawley attacked on his own to solo to his first ever race win. “It’s a good job I attacked then because the next couple of riders to cross the line had been part of the chasing group. If I’d left it any later I doubt I’d have won. To say I’m delighted for myself would be an understatement. But to get the first race win for the team as well, that’s the real icing on the cake” Dan enthused later.
Dan’s win puts him at the top of the ERRL standings for the year and with the 12th place finish of Steve Griffiths also taken into account, PCH UK are now in second place overall in the team standings. Milton Keynes Sean Dines (Virgin Active) finished one place ahead of Griffiths.
There was further success on Sunday for the red, yellow and white colours of the PCH UK boys at the 90km Fleche Welwyn organised by the Welwyn Wheelers. Dan Scott tried first to cover the early breaks with Matt Cowan then trying to bridge a gap with a small group but never got closer than a minute behind the leaders despite a furious chase. Cowan stayed with that group until they were contesting the sprint for 5th place and, as he later recalled “I managed to hold on despite my legs screaming to take 8th spot in the uphill finish”.
Scott finished in the main bunch whilst Mark Howard, the other team entry, had to pull out with mechanical problems. Matt’s points with his eighth position helped secure the current second place position for PCH UK Racing Team in the ERRL team standings.
Chelmer Road Race
1. Daniel Crawley PCH UK Racing Team
2. Jamie Caldwell St Ives CC
3. Clem Berrill Cycling Club Hackney
4. Daniel Young Glendene CC
5. Jim Lewis Glendene CC
6. Gray Turnock Finsbury Park CC
7. Mike Smith Colchester Rovers CC
8. Gonzalo Rodriguez East London Vélo
9. Neil Chapman Maldon & District CC
10. Darren Cainey East London Vélo
11. Sean Dines Virgin Active
12. Steven Griffiths PCH UK Racing Team
13. Daniel Zagni Ipswich BC
14. Jason Rogers Gateway Cycling
15. Craig Chappell East London Vélo
16. James Sale Eagle RC
17. Felix Barker Cambridge CC
18. Mark Westrup Velo Club Baracchi
19. Piers Brown Finchley Racing Team
20. Nigel Hobday Cambridge CC
1. Edward Clemens VC10
2. David Miller West Suffolk Wheelers & Triathlon Club
3. Daniel Snow Glendene CC
4. Joshua Maynard Welwyn Whls CC
5. Simon Hime Finchley Racing Team
6. Philip Melling Team Milton Keynes
7. Jonathan Munns
8. Matt Cowan PCH UK Racing Team
9. Jason Bates Team Milton Keynes
10. Dermot Kealey Finchley Racing Team