Report: Colne Grand Prix

A Raleigh GAC 1-2 as Russell Hampton, a rider more at home in road races than crits, was the winner of the Colne Grand Prix on Wednesday night.

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Russell Hampton wins the Colne GP from teammate Graham Briggs. 

Hampton got clear of the rest with teammate and series leader Graham Briggs with still a third of the race left to do but despite a strong chasing group of six behind, the two Raleigh riders were going that strong they could have lapped the field at any time in the last ten laps.

They didn’t lap the peloton though as it would have made the finish rather messy had they not been able to go straight past what was still a rather larger group. In the chase group behind, Matt Jones (Corley Cycles) took a flyer in the last few laps and seeing the danger, Dean Downing (Rapha Condor Sharp) bridged up to him and it took a photo finish to separate the two for the final podium place which went to Downing.

The night began with a 3-4 race won by Ollie Wood from Bill Nickson and Francis Pilkington and that was then followed by the Chopper race which was so successful last year, it was run again. Judging by how many ‘choppers’ came out to race a few laps of the circuit, many in fancy dress, that race again was a big success.

Then came a ‘parade’ of Olympic torch bearers who had been part of the relay when the Olympic torch was in the North West before the main event of the night, the Elite Circuit Series event. A photo report of that race follows.

It was a good sized field for the race, dry conditions and a good crowd .. you could say it was all good!

Russell Hampton: “It feels a bit strange to be winning a crit! I won Hillingdon earlier on in the year as well and it’s a bit weird. This is one of the few circuits that I can get the horsepower down and make a difference.”

“I just sensed the moment to go really. It was pretty fully on and you could tell people were tying up. A lot of attacks were like riders attacking, getting ten metres and blowing up. Brigga was in a small group, I knew if I could get across to that, we’d have the horsepower. I was doing the headwind sections though so think I drew the short straw!”

On the decision not to catch the peloton in front, Russell explained “we could have caught them with ten to go but it was always going to be better if we finish on our own. The commissaire did say that it would be best for the race if we didn’t catch the group so we were just keeping an eye on the gap on the group behind and pressing on if the gap came down and took our foot off the gas if the gap went up”.

One of the first breaks and one that stuck for a while was this one led here by Felix English from Matt Higgins and  Jeroen Janssen.

Graham Briggs: “It was tough at the beginning and the team rode really well to try and control it. It was on from the gun and I think I was away with (Matt) Cronshaw and let the wheel go and Russell jumped and I jumped across to him and we were with Lewis Craven. He gave us a few turns which put himself into the red and we committed. That was it”.

On letting Russell win, Graham explained “Russell has done a hell of a lot of work for me, help win the Premier, helped in the nationals and I can’t do enough to repay him for that so why not…”

“It was a good circuit tonight and nice to have a real fast one with no real break in it. It was very flowing and we were able to keep the momentum going and I felt if we went hard, we’d get a move away.”

Graham and the riders have two more Elite Circuit Series events left, one in Beverley on Friday night and another in Sheffield which for a few of the riders will be very special. “That will be a battle between me, Dean And Russell (Downing) there. Everybody wants to do well on their home patch and its not far from home for me. I’ve been riding well so hopefully the team can get a result there.”

A lot more short breaks were seen at the start finish, including this one led by Aussie Ben Grenda but it never stuck.

Dean Downing: “I felt a lot better tonight even though I was tired. I’ve had an up and down season having been sick. I have been training now for two weeks without any illness.”

“It was a tough tonight as team Raleigh are riding so well as a unit and have a number of riders that could have won tonight. We (RCS) were in all the moves, like young Felix English rode well tonight and all the lads. Young Luke is improving as well. He’s not really a crit rider but he’s riding well.”

“I was the lucky one to get the move. We were working hard to get them back but Russell has got some power and so has Briggsy and working as a unit it was going to be hard to bring back once they had the gap. The last lap was messy and Matt (Jones) got the jump so I had to go flat out for the sprint and just nicked it on the line.”

“I am looking forward to Sheffield next week. I think I’ve said before at the start of the season if Sheffield is the only one I win this year I’d be happy and it now looks like it’s the only left! I’ll be going all out for that one and with my form continuing to build a bit with the training and I can breathe a bit easier… so hopefully!”

This one though did stick, all the way to the end, Graham Briggs leads Lewis Craven and Russell Hampton. Hampton and Briggs soon distanced Craven who went back to the chase group and finished 7th.

Pete Williams led the chase group which had the numbers and the firepower but were unable to stop Hampton and Briggs opening up the gap on them.

Matt Jones has a dig in the closing laps and was later joined by Dean Downing.

And it was a photo finish between for third!

Rico Rogers showed what damage he can do in a bunch kick, finishing 8th in the race.

My favourite shot! Jimmy Mac (James McCallum) trying to scare me as he decided to make a run down the barriers where I had been standing all race! … and Jimmy, yes, it worked!

Series leader Graham Briggs shares the champagne with everyone

Top 3, Graham Briggs, Russell Hampton and Dean Downing.

As you can see, from the start, Raleigh-GAC were all over this race like a rash and no-one had an answer to their ability to get a gap and hold it.

Olympic Torch bearers have a parade in Colne.

Oli Wood wins the support event in a downhill, tailwind bunch kick… quick… very quick…

As you can see, the chopper race was a colourful event for the big crowd to enjoy.

These suits are becoming popular …

Wow.. what a big crowd there is …


1 Russell  Hampton TEAM RALEIGH GAC
2 Graham Briggs TEAM RALEIGH GAC
3 Dean Downing Rapha Condor Sharp
4 Matthew Jones Team Corley Cycles/Blue
5 Pete Williams NODE4 Giordana Racing
6 Adam Duggleby Sportscover Altura RT
7 Lewis Craven WHEELBASE/MGD
8 Rico Rogers NODE4 Giordana Racing
10 Dale Appleby Metaltek SCOTT
11 Marcel Six Metaltek SCOTT
12 Andrew Hawdon Herbalife/LeisureLakes
13 James McCallum Rapha Condor Sharp
14 Chris Whorrall M G Kvis Norda Pacific
15 Jeroen Janssen TEAM RALEIGH GAC
16 Richard Lang Rapha Condor Sharp
17 Stuart Reid WHEELBASE/MGD
18 Ben Grenda Rapha Condor Sharp
19 David Clarke NODE4 Giordana Racing
20 Richard Hepworth Cycle Premier – Kovert
22 Tom Barras Metaltek SCOTT
23 Dave Collins Team Hope Factory Racing
24 Paul Oldham Team Hope Factory Racing
25 Dan Booth Team Hope Factory Racing
26 Will Bjergfelt Cycle Premier – Kovert
27 Daniel Holloway TEAM RALEIGH GAC
28 Coupe Andy Herbalife/LeisureLakes
29 Michael Berling Cycle Premier – Kovert
30 George Tansley Cycle Premier – Kovert
31 Alistair Rutherford
32 Sam Boast Team Hope Factory Racing
33 Andy Hastings Metaltek SCOTT
34 Jordan Hargreaves Team Hope Factory Racing
35 Ben Dean Team BGlobal
36 Jacob Tipper Team Wallis CHH
37 Matt Higgins NODE4 Giordana Racing
38 Luke Grivell-Mellor Rapha Condor Sharp
39 Felix English Rapha Condor Sharp
40 Jack Cutfsorth Herbalife/LeisureLakes
41 Alastair Kay Herbalife/LeisuireLakes
42 James Gullen Metaltek SCOTT
43 Bernie Sulzberger TEAM RALEIGH GAC
44 Grahame Sumner WHEELBASE/MGD
45 Jake Martin Cycle Premier – Kovert
46 Robert Watson Dirtwheels Cycles
47 Matt Cronshaw NODE4 Giordana Racing
48 Blair Windsor Cycle Premier – Kovert
49 Jamie Sparling TEAM RALEIGH GAC
50 Conan Mayman Team BGlobal


Sprint 1
1 Graham Briggs TEAM RALEIGH GAC
2 Adam Duggleby Sportscover Altura RT
3 James McCallum Rapha Condor Sharp
4 Daniel Holloway TEAM RALEIGH GAC

Sprint 2
1 Graham Briggs TEAM RALEIGH GAC
2 Russell  Hampton TEAM RALEIGH GAC
3 Lewis Craven WHEELBASE/MGD
4 Adam Duggleby Sportscover Altura RT

1 Ollie Wood Sportscover Altura Racing Team
2 Bill Nickson Bill Nickson Cycles RT
3 Francis Pilkington Bill Nickson RT
4 Luke Boulton Tameside Cyclesport/ Base2Race
5 Ashley Proctor Sportscover Altura Racing Team
7 Simon Maudsley RVO Racing
8 Nathan Harrison Buxton C.C./Sett Valley Cycles
9 Giles Pidcock Chevin Cycles – Trek
10 Alastair Hepworth VS Cycles
11 Richard Sagar NLRC
12 Steven Clarke WHEELBASE/MGD
13 Tom Garwell Dirtwheels Cycles
14 Tony Greenhaulgh WHEELBASE/MGD
15 Jason Livesey Dirtwheels Cycles
16 Dave Haygarth Planet X
17 Matthew Pearce Bronte Wheelers
18 Andrew Marsh Dinnington Racing Club
19 Dave Micklethwaite 3RT
20 Lee Baldwin Buxton C.C./Sett Valley Cycles
21 Alastair McNicol
22 Dave Starkey Fred Williams RT
23 Martin Woffindin Cycle Sport Pendle
24 Lindsay Gordon
25 Peter Danby Bill Nickson Cycles RT
26 David Mirfield Ride On
27 Aidan Holgate North Lancs Road Club
28 Simon Capstick North Lancs Road Club
29 Ashton Payne Hope Factory Racing
30 Luke Beswick Buxton C.C./Sett Valley Cycles
31 Craig Morgan VC ST Raphael
32 Gordon Park NFTO
33 Tom Dalton Bill Nickson Cycles RT
34 Adam Blakeley Pendle Forest CC
35 William Thomas Velocity Race Team
36 James Dyson 3RT
37 Andy Leigh Velocity Race Team
38 Zack Whitehead Dirtwheels Cycles
39 Stephen Robinson 3RT
40 James Warren Bill Nickson Cycles RT
41 Hannah Barnes Team Ibis Cycles
42 Alex Fold Dirtwheels Cycles
43 Nick Armitstead Dirtwheels Cycles
44 Neil Hendry Dirtwheels Cycles
45 Alice Barnes Twenty3c Orbea
46 Jordan Rigby Team Wallis CHH Racing Team
47 Stephen Jarmuz Dirtwheels Cycles
48 Matthew James Rossendale Road Club

With three rounds to go of the Elite Circuit Series (including Beverley and Sheffield), Raleigh GAC rider Graham Briggs has a 132 point lead over his teammate Tobyn Horton with 180 points still on offer. Whilst the series does not carry the importance of the Halfords Tour series for teams, especially with it being show on a TV channel few admit to actually having, winning the individual events will always be a target for the riders & teams still motivated to race the crits.

For some teams, their goals have shifted to preparing for the Tour of Britain now that they all know that the six UCI British teams will get a start in the country’s biggest international stage race. In Abergavenny, there was the smallest field I’ve seen for a major British event but then with a lot of riders having breaks prior to their training blocks leading up to the Tour of Britain, the door has been opened for other riders to make their mark. A field of 73 riders have entered the event which means we may well see 50 to 60 race on the night where rain is forecast! Missing is Endura Racing and many riders from the top teams avoiding the mid week travel that comes with such races but in amongst the 73 riders entered are plenty of the country’s best.

These include series leader Grahgam Briggs, and the riders in second and third in the series, Tobyn Horton and Rico Rogers. Potenial winners include Ben Grenda, Bernie Sulzberger, Daniel Holloway, David Clarke, Dean Downing, James McCallum, Marcel Six, Matt Cronshaw, Matt Jones, Pete Williams, Richard Lang, Rico Rogers, Simon Gaywood & Tom Murray.

Colne GP Programme

19:00 – Regional A support race – 45 minutes
• 19:45 – Chopper Dash – Raleigh choppers like you’ve never seen them before
• 20:00 – Olympic Torch Parade
• 20:15 – Colne Grand Prix – National A race
• 21:15 – Prize presentation – First three from both support race and Colne G.P.

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