2012 Clayton Velo Spring Classic

Against the odds, Richard Hepworth (Cycle Premier) has won the Clayton Velo Spring Classic handicap race in Lancashire in an eight man sprint. David McGowan (UK Youth) was second and Robbie Hassan (Herbalife Leisurelakes) third.

With the five Node 4 riders not riding due to being in a training camp in Benidorm, the numbers in the scratch group were reduced and so then was the lead given to the junior group off first. Just as well, as no sooner had the last group left the start (Scratch), the juniors came around looking purposeful. While the second and third groups appeared to be riding within themselves, it was the Juniors who were looking the best bet to stay away as they raced through the finish with 12 of the 13 laps to go.

Ivor Armstrong does his best to get the riders in the groups and ready to leave the start at their allotted start time.

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Then, after four or five laps, Chris Lawless (Maxgear) broke clear of the juniors to try and go even quicker and was quickly joined by two Mountivation riders, Tom Armstrong and Matt Flynn. These three led the way while the scratch group started to pick off the riders in front. Lawless meanwhile, a first year junior, wasn’t happy with the two Mountivation riders with him and so he went solo and with four laps to go, led the race with the rest of the race in one big group.

With three to go, his lead was only 30 seconds and the group behind was starting to split. Dean Downing lead a small group though but that was short lived and soon an nine man group came though ahead of the race and it was this group that was to stay away. For Rapha, expected to win due to their firepower in the team and their number of riders, the break was not ideal with two ‘climbers’ in it and Kristian House did force a chase group away which Richard Lang (Rapha) joined but even the former British Road Race Champion wasn’t able to bring the leaders back.

Chris Lawless on the attack chased by Tom Armstrong and Matt Flynn.

The group comprised of Richard Hepworth (Cyclepremier), David McGowan (Uk Youth), Robbie Hassan (Herbalife), Andrew Hawden (Herbalife), Simon Wilson (Metaltek Scott), Robert Smail (Team Wallis), Mike Cumming (Rapha Condor Sharp), Sam Jackson (Vanillabikes.Com) and Richard Handley (Rapha Condor Sharp). The winner was going to come from one of the nine and Sam Jackson of Vanillabikes.com opened up the finale trying to go clear before the final corner. Richard Hepworth was quick to react though and he hit the front as they came out of the final corner and was left in a quandary, do I sprint or hold back.

There was still 300 metres to go and the Yorkshire rider decided to go for it and he was a clear winner ahead of McGowan and Hassan. Well done to the officials and marshals for yet another great edition of this long running race.

Team manager of Rapha Condor Sharp speaking on the Madison website said of the race  … “The break went, and it might have had the wrong combination for us, but once it had gone, we as the biggest team in the race, were the only ones who could even think about closing the gap. Ideally for a finish like that we need Downing, House or Lang up there. But I want all of our riders to learn to race a finale, so Richard and Mike went to the line with the group. Richard perhaps made a mistake by attacking 600m out when, on the evidence of the sprints he was doing in Benidorm, he could well have won the sprint anyway.”

“They know that they didn’t finish the job today, and we talked about why. One thing that they took from it, which Richard said to me, was that he couldn’t believe how marked he was now he was in one of our jerseys.”

“This is undoubtedly true, and it is a big lesson these guys are going to learn this year, that when you ride for a team like this, there is an added pressure in terms of being watched. But if you are going to be good, you have to learn to win even when everyone is watching you. They will have to revise their tactics to do so, but it will make them much better bike racers when they do.”

A time trial win the day before and Richard Handley was riding strongly as were the riders from the VanillaBikes.com team including Ben Greenwood.

An interview with Richard and another rider will follow during the week.

With only Chris Lawless out front, the MaxGear team do their best to slow the chase down.

It was strong ride by Chris Lawless who should do well in the Junior National Series in 2012.

Dean Downing tries to force a group clear with David McGowan on his wheel and Ben Greenwood (Vanillabikes.com) not far away.

The break of nine riders  working hard with two laps to go.

Richard Hepworth starts the celebration as his long sprint nets him a win in this long running early season ‘classic’

David McGowan, Richard Hepworth and Robbie Hassan, the podium for the 2012 Clayton Velo Spring Classic.


1 Richard Hepworth Cyclepremier Rt
2 David Mcgowan Uk Youth
3 Robbie Hassan Herbalife
4 Andrew Howden Herbalife
5 Simon Wilson Metaltek Scott
6 Robert Smail Team Wallis
7 Mike Cumming Rapha Condor Sharp
8 Sam Jackson Vanillabikes.Com
9 Richard Hadley Rapha Condor Sharp
10 Declan Byrne Cyclepremier Rt
11 Ben Greenwood Vanillabikes.Com
12 Richard Lang Rapha Condor Sharp
13 Alistair Rutherford Vanillabikes.Com
14 Chris Sherriffs Team Bglobal
15 Kristian House Rapha Condor Sharp
16 James King Mountivation Academy
17 Dean Downing Rapha Condor Sharp
18 Oliver Rossi Rapha Condor Sharp
19 Andy Coupe Herbalife
20 Hugh Carthy Champion Systems
21 Sam Boast Hope Factory Rt
22 Ben Dean Team Bglobal
23 Conan Mayman Team Bglobal
24 Chris Jennings Rapha Condor Sharp
25 Luke G – Mellor Rapha Condor Sharp
26 Steve Gibson Peak Rc
27 Hamish Graham Asfra Rt
28 Harry Grey Vanillabikes.Com
29 Chris Laythom Champion Systems
30 Matt Pilkington Team Bglobal
31 Francis Pilkington Nickson Rt
32 Jacob Ragan Champion Systems
33 Ben Kellett Vs Cycles
34 Andrew Leigh Velocity Rt
35 Chris Lawless Champion Systems
36 Nathan Harrison Buxton Cc
37 William Thomas Velocity Rt
38 Stuart Mccluskey Leslie Bikes
39 Josh Knights Mountivation Academy
40 Shane O’neil Team Bglobal
41 Richard Bott Herbalife
42 Ady Lawrence Team Bglobal
43 Jody Warrington Rock Racing
44 Graham Payne Whitfield Rt
45 John Crellin Team Wallis
46 Ash Finn Vanillabikes.Com
47 Cal Nicholson Team Wallis
48 Jack Waller Team Wallis
49 Tom Barras Metaltek Scott

Should there be an internet feed on the route of this race, VeloUK will be posting live pictures from the event




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