Team News: Scott Thwaites wins British Circuit Race Title

Endura Racing recorded a 1-2 in the National Circuit Race Championship in Otley on Wednesday night with home grown hero Scott Thwaites winning from Russell Downing and Matt Cronshaw (Node4-Giordana) third in front of a huge crowd in the West Yorkshire town.

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The race was ultra-agressive from start to finish with teams like from the 100%ME (GB Olympic Academy), Rapha Condor Sharp, Cycle Premier Kovert and IG Sigma Sport and others trying to split the field up, but even on a tough course like Otley, the championship ended up being decided in a big bunch kick.

After the title is won comes the interview with the Layla … another victory for the Endura Speedsuit.

After a late attack in the closing laps by George Moore (Cycle Premier Kovert) was brought back, Ian Wilkinson led a dangerous looking move with Steve Lampier (IG Sigma Sport) and Sam Harrison (100%ME) gaining a few seconds with two laps to go. As the bell rang out, Wilkinson was still leading the race through the line, a few lengths clear of the Raleigh-GAC train for defending champion Graham Briggs. As Wilkinson was reeled in however, Ian Bibby saw his chance to go for it on the climb, where he had noticed he’d been able to gap his rivals. Over the top of the hill, he had a small gap and the chase behind was having to be led by Raleigh and the other teams as the riders from Endura Racing stayed close to the front in the wheels.

The headwind across the top of the course made it tough on Bibby and he was brought back by the chasers as they got to the second last corner where Russell Downing, with Scott Thwaites in his slipstream, yelled to Bibby to go again on the descent. Bibby responded, sprinting for another 100 metres and Russell Downing lead Thwaites past a spent Bibby and into the final corner where Thwaites knew the line to take after his victory in 2011. With Russell Downing on his wheel riding shotgun, Thwaites surged ahead as Downing closed the door on Matt Cronshaw to take second ahead of the Node 4 rider in a 1-2 for Endura Racing.

Scott Thwaites: I’m over the moon. It was always going to be a hard win after last year as everyone knew I could do it so there was a lot of pressure. I came into the race not thinking too much about it and took as it came. We have such a great team and we showed again tonight how strong it is. We rode like we did in the Halfords Tour Series really, nice and aggressive, and it paid off. On the last lap, Ian Bibby put in a big attack and that was really good as it put the pressure on the other teams. Raleigh had a few guys there doing a leadout for Briggsy (Graham Briggs), and myself and Russ sat on the back of the train.

It always gets a bit sketchy at the end with everyone trying to move up but I knew where to go from last year and I timed my effort well. I went up the inside again because I knew I could take people wide but I think I had a clear run to the corner anyway and luckily Rus followed me into the corner and gave me a bit of space so I had a clear run out of the corner. I have been on good form and it’s always nice to win the National Champs but I didn’t really set it as a goal because I didn’t want to put too much pressure on myself.

A quiet thoughtful Scott Thwaites relaxes with a bottle of SiS prior to the race. All part of the ritual!

Russell Downing: The race was good. I played an attacking role and lit it up quite a few times and it was hard and fast out there. Bibby did an amazing job attacking with a lap to go and it worked perfectly for Raleigh to chase it and I was sat third wheel. I took it up when we caught Bibby and asked him to go a bit more and knew if we got into that final corner, we’d be good. Scott got the jump and I just backed him up and there was no-one coming from fourth back. Scott went round that corner great.

I was undecided on doing this tonight. I crashed in Ronde de l’Oise (France) and suffered a bit of an injury but I had some great treatment there and that was in the back of mind but to be honest. I got second in the National Circuit Race Champs the year I won the Road Race Champs so maybe it’s a good omen; we’ll see.

The team is going from strength to strength. These guys have been together for five weeks at the Tour Series and we came out on top. You saw tonight, everyone wanted it but Thwaitesy got the stripes and he deserves them to be honest. What I’ve noticed in the racing tonight and in other races is the strength in depth and everyone is working as a team. It’s no longer just two riders from a team you have to look for, everyone is doing credit to the sport and the racing has stepped up in Britain this year.

Full gas, Russell Downing picks his line through the corner at the end of the home straight.

Julian Winn (Sporting Director): Winning any race means a lot to the team, that is how the team sets itself out but getting the champions jersey is special and the rider who won it fully deserves it. I’m not in the slightest surprised it was Scott who won that. He was pretty subdued when I got here even though he doesn’t say a lot anyway so I could tell he was motivated.

He knows his way round here and the plan was to take the pressure off him. Everybody was out there to stretch it out a bit and take him to the finish and the sprint had his name on it. The perfect person to take him to the finale into that last bend was Russell. He goes for it like he’s going for the win and Thwaitesy was faster. It was s superb win.

Ian Bibby: “I did a few attacks on the hill and I had a go with six to go by hitting the hill really hard and when I was doing it, I noticed I’d have a decent gap by the top. I did it with three to go but for some strange reason, no-one would ride with me which would have been the perfect move. So I sat in and I planned to go with a lap to go and I hit it up the hill and put the head down. I looked back at the top and had a decent gap”

“It was headwind along Birdcage Walk where normally we’d have a tailwind and it was surprisingly hard. You think if you get to the top, you’d be alright but it was still a long way and I got caught halfway down the hill and all I heard was Rus’s voice saying ‘go go’. So I stuck my head down in the biggest gear and went for another hundred.”

“I swung off and then Scott and Rus dived on the inside and I went round the corner crapping myself with riders coming round me both sides!”

“I had a virus early on in the season and went to the doctors and got the tests back and so I had to have nearly three weeks off doing nothing and that was probably two weeks before the Halfords Tour Series. I got better and better in the Tour Series and when I got away with Briggsy in one of the rounds I knew my legs were coming back. Through out the last few rounds of the Tour Series I felt like my old self. The results may not have been brilliant but I was certainly able to dish it out so the legs are definitely back.”

“It may take a while to get my road racing legs back as I haven’t done a stage race for ages but hopefully it won’t take long to get my road legs back.”

The team warm up with fans, photographers and tv crews capturing it as the big race approaches…

Mandri 3rd in Estonian Time Trial Championships
Rene Mandri opened up Endura Racing’s National Championship week in the Estonian Time Trial Championships on Wednesday afternoon with a bronze medal behind Rein Taaramae (Cofidis) and Tanel Kangert (Astana) over the 40km course.




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