Talkingshop: Graham Briggs hard work pays off


In events as brutal to race as the Tour Series, Raleigh’s Graham Briggs is quickly up to speed in Australia for the Bay Crits

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Previous Interview: Graham Briggs Heads Down Under to take on the Aussies

Talking to the former British Circuit Race Champion, he explained how the Bay Crits in Australia this year have had a bit of a British vibe to them with two teams competing and other riders in British teams spread out across many of the other squads.


Graham Briggs who has swapped the heat of the Tour Series at Aberystwyth in 2012 for the heat of Australia where he’s holding his own against the Aussie best 

For Briggs though, he was wearing the colours of his country rather than those of Team Raleigh. “It was good to pull the skinsuit on with the national colours and that always gives you a boost on the bike. It was great too when you’re called up to the line over the PA and that’s got be worth a few extra percent in the race!”

The crits started on New Years day after a late evening celebrating the New Year in with two firework displays; one for the kids and another for those seeing the New Year in at midnight. There was the obligatory celebratory party in Geelong with no sign of the rain that can dampen any such celebration back home in Britain. Graham says of the day “there was a carnival atmosphere here in Geelong and it was great being part of that right here on the sea front”.


Getting his hands in the air is the big goal for Graham Briggs with four days racing left during his Australian racing holiday.

Asked about the advantage of going to Oz to race and train as Britain drowns in constant rain making it hard for riders needing to get the long hours in, Graham replied being in Australia is proving to be a big help. The time there is giving him a great base of hours on the bike and as he pointed out, should he get ill in March as many can do as the racing commences and immune systems are tested to breaking point, he’ll have those miles to fall back on.

And if he doesn’t get ill, even better as he’ll have a great base to put the top end onto as the quality racing commences on this side of the world.

Talking about his experience in the Bay Crits which has a long history going back to 1989, Graham explained how not being as well known in Australia as he is in British crits, has given him a little room to move in the races. He was quick to add though that he does know he’ll be marked in the final race on January 3 as he lies in third position in the overall standings for the series.


The racing at Revolution 38 has helped give Briggs the speed he’s needed to compete with the top Aussies  in the Bay Crits

After a fourth in race one, Graham explained how the second race felt a lot better. “It was a lot better today and I wasn’t riding with any pressure on my shoulders. As soon as I started racing yesterday (race 1) I felt good and that is a nice feeling”.

Talking about that second race in the series, Graham explained “it was a tough course and a bit like Torquay in the Tour Series last year. GreenEdge controlled the bunch after the three got away (with Kristian House) and while there were a few attacks with ones and twos drifting off the front, GreenEdge controlled it despite the racing being very aggressive.”

“Today was on par with a race like Durham (Tour Series) where the strongest riders came to the front and it was hot, knocking on for 30 degrees although not as bad as it can be. The year before it was 40 degrees plus and they had to have a feed station and cut down the distance.”

With the series Down Under coming during the British off season, and asked is it as brutal as some have said it can be, Graham replied “I think it’s down to how you prepare. I was mentally ready as Zak (Dempster) had said they were as hard as the Tour Series or harder so I knew I had to be in good shape.”

“So I worked hard in November and December and that has paid dividends. There is nothing worse than coming to a race like this and getting your head kicked in. I certainly didn’t want to show myself up. I haven’t done anything really specific except ride my bike and look after myself.”

“I only had a week off after the 2012 season when I normally have something longer but I knew I was going to have some time off after this racing to enjoy myself. Despite not having had the quality racing that I’d normally have prior to the Tour Series, it was nice to have that top end I had yesterday in the first race.”

Asked if he’s had a chance to catch up with the other Raleigh riders racing there for different teams, Graham explained “I met some of them in Bendigo and have been speaking to Sam Witmitz a little bit in the races as well and then there’s Langy (Richard Lang) who I already know.

The final race of the series is a double header for many of the riders with the hour long crit on at lunch time and then the prologue for the Sun Tour in the early evening making it a tough day for the riders. The circuit for tomorrow’s final race of the Bay Crits is said not to be as tough as the second round with only a dodgy corner before the finish to be aware of.

But the rider leading the series with Briggs in third is one many expect to take the World by storm when he’s old enough to ride professionally, Celeb Ewan from Bowral in New South Wales (Australia).

Video of Race 1 in the Bay Crits

Asked for his assessment of the pocket rocket, Graham replied “he’s like a little ball of muscle and even shorter than me but has such an explosive acceleration.” Briggs though will looking to do all he can to hold his position in the overall standings or even move up and challenge the Aussie youngster. He’ll then move on to the four day stage race, the Sun Tour.

“I’m in good condition for the Sun Tour” he says “and if you can get round a crit mixing it up with these kind of guys, I’m hoping that form will translate onto the road as well.” In 2012, Graham not only crossed the line first in many crits but was also up there in the road races such as his win in the North East in the Stockton Grand Prix Premier Calendar event.

The Sun Tour though will signal the end of his 2013 Aussie campaign as heads home to attend his brother’s birthday mid January but having had a taste of the Aussie lifestyle and summer racing, he did hint that perhaps he’ll be able to stay longer in future years and is already trying to plan another trip Down Under for 2014 having bagged some good results.

Good luck to Graham in the final round of the Bay Crits and the Sun Tour.

Previous Interview: Graham Briggs Heads Down Under to take on the Aussies

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