Elite Circuit Series: Brighouse (Rd 1)

Round 1 of the Elite Circuit Series in Brighouse (West Yorkshire) has been won by Graham Griggs from Dean Downing and Matt Cronshaw.

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Our thanks to Dean Downing of Rapha Condor Sharp for taking the time to tell us about the race and Joolze Dymond for the excellent images and the result sheet!

After a gap of a few years, town centre racing returned to Brighouse in West Yorkshire on Tuesday and the night was yet another triumph for Raleigh-GAC. On a night where the weather was threatening to rain on the circuit series parade, the gods were smiling on the riders and in front of yet another big Brighouse crowd, the racing was full gas from the word go in the warm and dry conditions.

Graham Briggs just manages to hold off Rapha Condor Sharp rider Dean Downing. Photo: www.joolzedymond.com

With most of the usual suspects in attendance minus the Halfords Tour Series winning team of Endura Racing, the attacks to try and form a break came quickly and within five laps a small group escaped with no less than two former circuit race champions in it.

Graham Briggs (Raleigh-GAC), Matt Cronshaw (Node 4), Jack Pullar (Wheelbase), Jake Hales (IG-Sigma Sport) and Dean Downing (Rapha Condor Sharp) opened up a gap quickly and seeing the danger, Liam Holohan (Raleigh-GAC) quickly bridged to them to give the Raleigh team still on a high from the Road Race Championships, two riders in the group of five.

The riders were racing on the normal D shaped circuit with its tight bends and two long straights which Dean Downing explained was as normal, very fast especially in the dry conditions. “We worked together really well straight away and lapped the field quite quickly after about 20 minutes” Dean Downing (Rapha Condor Sharp) said afterwards.

The Photo album by Joolze Dymond

The break carried on at speed, riding straight through the bunch and continuing to lap riders all the time. With only ten laps left, they were again looking like they were going to lap the peloton a second time. “We were coming into the home straight and they were coming out of it and that is when the cat and mouse stuff started in the break” Dean explained.

Dave Clarke was unable to repeat his top 6 placing he did so superbly in the National Champs on Sunday. Photo: www.joolzedymond.com

With two riders in the break, Raleigh-GAC started to try and use their numerical advantage by attacking their breakaway rivals and Dean Downing explained that neither of them could be given any room as they were both capable of winning on their own. “Liam is no slouch and can finish fast and ride on his own and he was doing some attacking and you’re not going to let him go away so I had to chase.”

“Matt Cronshaw had to chase too and then we got away with Graham (Briggs) and Jack Pullar chased so it was quite an attacking last ten laps. In the end, Graham Briggs attacked on his own and Matt (Cronshaw) went after him and I chased them both. It was like a three man race the last five laps with us separated by only about fifty metres”.

Downing was only 25 metres behind Cronshaw who in turn was going full gas to catch Briggs and with a lap to go, Downing knew he was going to have to dig really deep to catch Cronshaw. “I brought Matt back and attacked over the top of him and tried to catch Graham but didn’t quite make it.”

“Graham was strong tonight and has been strong all season. I was just happy to be back on the podium again.” Dean was part of a strong team for the men in black with Kristian House, Ben Grenda, Richard Lang, Richard Handley and doing his first crit, Chris Jennings. “When we lapped the field, they were all at the front of the bunch looking after us so that was great”.

Dean Downing coming back into form was very pleased to make the podium and go close to getting the win. Photo: www.joolzedymond.com

“For me personally, it was nice to be feeling like my normal self again and what was nice was seeing everyone happy for me to be on the podium. I have to thank my wife, my teammates and my manager John and Andy the soigneur who have helped me get through the last few months which have been so frustrating.”

Dean said despite being told not to panic about his loss of form, that it’s impossible not to panic and now that he has some form, he’s a lot happier. No doubt, with a second place tonight, Dean Downing will be looking to go one better at Leases in Newcastle on Friday night.

Graham Briggs second major win in 2012 in a crit series after his first in the Halfords Tour Series a few weeks ago. He said after the race “The win tonight was a obviously a good start to the elite series. I was really disappointed not to win or podium last week at Otley (National crit championships) so tonight I was determined to do a good ride.”

“We went out hard and to put a couple of us guys in that front group helped made things that much easier when it came down to controlling the race. I said to Liam when we got to the last 15 laps that we should make things that little bit harder on the rest of the group.”

“I knew we had a big gap on the rest of the field so we able to dictate the race. I had a really good warm up before the race because I had a feeling tonight would go from the gun so I was ready. I’m having a few days holiday now before Stafford next Thursday but its always good to go into a break on the back of a win and with good condition.”

 Photo: www.joolzedymond.com

1. Graham Briggs, Raleigh-GAC
2. Dean Downing, Rapha Condor Sharp
3. Matt Cronshaw, Node 4
4. Jack Pullar, Wheelbase
5. Liam Holohan, Raleigh GAC
6. Jake Hales, IG Sigma Sport
7. Ben Grenda, Rapha Condor Sharp
8. Rico Rogers, Node 4
9. Tobyn Horton, Raleigh GAC
10. Tom Murray, IG Sigma Sport
11. Jeroen Janssen, Raleigh GAC
12. Kristian House, Rapha Condor Sharp
13. Matt Jones, Corley Cycles
14. Tom Stewart, RST Trigon Bikes
15. Richard Lang, Rapha Condor Sharp
16. Matt Holmes, Raleigh GAC
17. Simon Holt, Raleigh GAC
18. George Tansley, Cycle Premier Kovert
19. David Clarke, Node 4
20. Richard Handley, Rapha Condor Sharp
21. Blair Windsor, Cycle Premier Kovert
22. Dan Storey, RST/Trigon Bikes
23. Lewis Craven, Wheelbase
24. Adam Duggleby, Sportscover Altura
25. Edward Parland, GT Racing
26. Michael Smith, Corley Cycles
27. Matt Higgins, Node 4
28. Daniel Hollway, Raleigh GAC
29. Jake Womersly, Sportscover Altura
30. Jake Martin, Cycle Premier Kovert

Cat 3/4
1. Paul Dixon V S Cycles, Brighouse
2. Marc Etches Sheffrec CC
3. Lee Brown Holme Valley Whls
4. Alex Orrell-Turner V S Cycles, Brighouse
5. Benjamin Pygott Pedalsport Cycling Club
6. Dominic Turner V S Cycles, Brighouse
7. Ady Rudd Dirtwheels Cycles
8. Thomas Randall Rock Racing Team UK
9. Stephen Coates We Love Mountains Racing Team


Under 16
1. Gabriel Cullaigh RST Racing Team
2. Levi Moody Pedalsport Cycling Club
3. Joey Walker RST Racing Team

1. Melissa Lowther Aire Valley Racing Team
2. Abby Parkinson RST Racing Team

1. Reece Wood Aire Valley Racing Team
2. Thomas Humphrey Eastlands Velo
3. Robert Scott East Bradford CC

First Girl: Lucy Aldridge Eastlands Velo




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