Report: Peak RC Evening Road Race


Danny Lowthorpe beats Ashley Proctor to the win in the Peak RC Evening Road Race

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Race Report (Simon Owens)
With the weather gods smiling on the club for the third running of this race, we returned this year to the strangely popular Barlow Triangle circuit on the windswept moors of Derbyshire.

57 entries, with 41 starters, meant an enhanced prize list over 17 laps of this grippy little circuit, and a points contest spread over 3 primes and the finish positions was enough to guarantee that the field was active from the second the race was de-neutralised. Throw in some local rivalries and the stage was set for an evening of constant attacking.

True to his word, newly promoted first category rider and winner of the previous week’s Danum Trophy, Ashley Proctor (Bike Box Alan), was out of the blocks on the first lap and stretching the bunch by the time they hit the line again, but by the end of the second lap it was local boy James Baille (Langsett Cycles) who took the prime and the points from Daniel Kelley (Zapp Pro-cycling) and Buxton CC’s Lee Baldwin.

The early pace was enough to send 6 riders straight out of the back with Ian Littlewood (RVO Racing)set adrift and looking ahead to a lonely ride. The attacks continued, and with Proctor continuing to dole out big turns on the front by the 3rd lap the bunch had exploded and spread across five groups and 45 seconds. The next lap, with the bunch reforming, Sam Ward (Dirtwheels Cycles) was the man with the hammer leading 25 riders through with the rest of the field 30 seconds adrift and the first riders throwing in the towel.


Ashley Proctor. Photography by David Hecker

Edward Pickard (Beeston CC) was the next to try his luck, but pegged at 5 seconds he wasn’t going anywhere. Evergreen Steve Ellis (Out of the Saddle CC), looking as tanned and lean as ever, was swinging on the back of the main bunch as it stretched out in pursuit of Ward. The 2nd group hadn’t given up hope though, with Langsett Cycles’ James Thompson powering the front of the group as they fought to bring themselves back into contention.

From swinging on the back, to launching off the front, a slowing in the bunch was all the invite that Ellis needed to try and break clear as the next prime loomed, but remember those local rivalries? Langsett Cycles comeback rider, Andy Sedgewick was showing the bunch why he used to be a force to be reckoned with as he dragged the break back in, with team mates James Baille and Danny Lowthorpe tucked comfortably in the wheels. Their intent and plan was beginning to become clear to those watching, and with strength in numbers up front the bunch would need to take note.

Experience showed at the prime with Duncan Moralee (Strategic Lions Cycling) pipping Sam Ward and Lee Baldwin, with Baldwin now taking the lead in the points contest. A flurry of attacks from first Lee Allen, then Lee Baldwin saw the race fragment again and the abandons start to come in earnest.

In the space of a lap the 2nd bunch lost 30 seconds and their fate appeared sealed as Ian Littlewood, Chris Hayes and Dan Shoreman suddenly found themselves lapped, and Graham Morgan suffered the night’s only puncture as he found a pothole on the descent. Surely now the front of the race was set with 12 riders coming together at the front. Junior Aaron Handley was hanging on for dear life, fighting to stay in contact, with Steve Ellis adrift in a chase group of 4, and James Thompson still driving the 2nd bunch over a minute down.


Paul Armstrong. Photography by David Hecker

As the riders came towards the final prime, it was the turn of Matt Bulmer, (Dirtwheels), to throw his hat in. Face contorted, he quickly opened a 20 second lead with Lee Baldwin driving behind to hold the gap. Remarkably, the chase behind was coming together and the Ellis group was making ground again on the bunch, finally making contact as they hit the prime.

Lone leader Bulmer took the cash and the points with Baldwin and Moralee fighting out the sprint, Baldwin grabbing the 2nd place that would seal his victory in the contest. The sprint sent Handley off the back of the group and as Bulmer stretched his lead to 45 seconds the shivering and wind battered spectators were readying themselves for a lone victory.

Timing is everything on this circuit, the wind eats away at the soul, and with 3 laps to go the pace was ratcheted up Lowthorpe, taking clear 4 other riders, crucially including team mate Baille and danger man Ashley Proctor. Pulling Bulmer back to 14 seconds, the gap held there for another lap, but as they came through the bell, Bulmer was a spent man.

Still moving quickly, but heaving out of the saddle as he came through the line, James Baille drove the chase just 10 seconds behind. 30 seconds adrift, the hard work of the chasers finally paid off as the Ellis group made contact again with a hesitant main field, and behind that the last two groups also came together.

As the leaders caught Bulmer on the climb to the top of the course, Baille drove on and Lowthorpe readied himself for the finale on his favourite circuit.

First to kick out of the steep, dead turn into the finish straight, Lowthorpe might have been considered to have played his hand too early, but with a strong tailwind all the way up the long, uphill finishing straight he held onto the narrowest of gaps to bring home a huge grin just 2 bike lengths clear of a fast closing Ashley Proctor. Sam Ward held off James Baille for a well earned 3rd place, with Bulmer staying in contact for 5th.

Phil Giles (Beeston CC) led in the sprint behind from Moralee, Dominic Smith, Edward Pickard and Pete Barusevious.
First 4th cat home was Stewart Taylor, having ridden a canny race, hung on for 12th with first 3rd cat Chris Hayes taking 17th as the 2nd bunch sprinted in, led home by James Thompson. First Junior Arron Handley, dispatched from the lead group in the last few laps and completely out of his tree by then, came home in 19th.

And on to a well attended presentation in the Fox and Goose, and some additional prizes from race sponsor, Sheffield Cycle shop La Bicileta, a long time supporter of our events. Matt Bulmer was the well deserved winner of the combative prize, with even the Marshals in tears for him when he was caught on the last lap.

Alan Dawson took home the “Most Distressd Rider” award for a gurn of truly awesome proportions as he fought each lap to hang on to the fast moving back group.

Least Stylish Rider…sorry Michael Birkby, but elbows should be tucked in. Good ride though!

Steve Ellis walked, nay slithered away with the most stylish rider award with a matching of kit to bike that can only be achieved by buying Michael Rogers team sky bike. Seriously, he did that, it would have been cheaper to re-design the kit!

And finally to Danny Lowthorpe again. To add to the custom made winner’s mug from Iowna Gem Ceramics, he also took the Combined Prize after finishing 2nd in our other promotion, the Circuit of Longstone Edge, the previous week.

Thanks from me to all the marshals and drivers, Nick Whitaker and Hazel for allowing themselves to be roped in, Julia and Simon for missing Cuckney 10 to come and Marshal, Pete Dungworth as ever, Nicola Holloway for signing on, Craig and his team at the Fox and Goose, Alex Galbraith at La Bicicleta for his continued generosity, and Sheffrec CC, NMRRL and Rutland CC for the loan of equipment again.

See you next year folks! Simon

1. Danny Lowthorpe, Langsett Cycles RT
2. Ashley Proctor, Bike Box Alan/Whiston Velo
3. Sam Ward, Dirtwheels
4. James Baillie, Langsett Cycles RT
5. Matt Bulmer, Dirtwheels
6. Phil Giles, Beeston RC
7. Duncan Moralee, Strategic Lions Cycling
8. Dominic Smith, Retford & District Wheelers
9. Edward Pickard, Beeston RC
10. Pete Barusevious, Dirtwheels


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