Feature – Jock Wadley Memorial RR


Australian Steele Von Hoff opened his account in Britain racing for NFTO in the fastest ever Jock Wadley Memorial

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Feature – Jock Wadley Memorial RR


L-R: Yanto Baker, Steele (NFTO)  and Rory Towsend

There has been a lot of hype and press surrounding Steele Von Hoff recently with his wins in Australia earlier in the year but no-one ever knew how that was going to transfer to British roads in British races. Today we had our answer.

The Australian NFTO rider was at the front during the neutralised part of the race and always near the front from then on so it was no surprise after many laps of attacks coming and going, that when a dozen or so riders got away, Steele was in there with a lot of other strong riders.

Along with Steele, no surprise that Ireland’s Eddie Dunbar also of NFTO, who had been covering everything early on, was also in there along with the likes of Yanto Barker and Marcin Bialoblocki, youngster Rory Towsend, Will Bjergfelt (Sportgrub Kuota), Mike Cuming, Richard Handley, and Will Goulbourne. There were others too and the break quickly opened up a massive gap on the peloton which at one stage was so far behind, it was in danger of being stopped before the finish.


After a late attack from Rory Towsend who didn’t want a group from behind to catch them, Steele Von Hoff (NFTO)  launched his sprint and won as many expected.

That never happened as team managers told their riders in the peloton to race and this they did full gas at about the same time that the likes of Yanto Barker and Marcin Bialoblocki started to try and split the front group too. Riders were soon being shed in both the break and the peloton and with a few laps to go, three riders got clear at the front of the race; Barker, Von Hoff and Townsend.

Then Townsend was distanced before getting back to the other two for the final lap of the circuit.

With the cat and mouse between Von Hoff and Barker, Townsend was forced to do most of the work whilst behind a chase group led by Bialoblocki was making ground on the leaders. Townsend was determined not to finish fourth so with Bialoblocki and co closing in fast, Townsend attacked and Von Hoff took the wheel before launching his sprint a long way out and gaping his rivals all the way to the line.

NFTO and their prize rider had won the Wadley for 2015. Bring on the big races!


Peloton rolls out to the circuit in bright sunshine.


Steele Von Hoff: “My first day of racing in Britain and I came home with the win, it’s a fantastic result. The coaching drills that we have been doing over the last few weeks at the team camp have really paid off and Courtney (Rowe) has done a wonderful job with the team.”

“We managed to cover everything at the start and the team worked really well together and when the break went up the road, it was the right break and we had the right numbers in it. Dave Povall said in the team meeting that we wanted to get 25 per cent in the breaks and we had Eddie and me in the group of eleven so that was good.”

“When stuff started getting serious with around 40k to go, there were a few guys jumping away and I was strong enough to go with them. Then there was a lot of cat and mouse over the final laps because Yanto was sitting back after a few attacks when he wasn’t able to drop me.”

“He sat in then and Rory Towsend was made to ride a significant amount of the last lap because I said I’m not riding unless Yanto rides and behind us, one of Yanto’s teammates (Marcin Bialoblocki) was close to catching us. So Rory attacked just before the finish and lined it out perfectly for the sprint.”

“My teammates were giving me the run down on who was who in the peloton, and which guys to watch and when the break went up the road, I was asking Eddie, and also dropped back to the car and had a word with Dave Povall (DS) which names for which numbers to get a grasp of who everyone was”.

“It became pretty clear who the strong ones were when the attacks started happening though and it was easy to make the right wheels and manage to get the first win for NFTO. There is definitely a lot of strong guys here and depth to the teams so it’s going to be a good year of racing”.

“Eddie (Dunbar) was fantastic out there today. I had to try and calm him down a bit because he was too strong for his own good at one stage of the race when he was closing every move. I told him to take it easy and not be the dominant rider He’s got a lot of horse power and will be one to watch for the future.”


Steele Von Hoff in his first domestic British race is at the front out of trouble.

Yanto Barker: “Today saw a few better teams in the race which is good and is usually the first one where the UCI teams come and bring a decent squad. The only difference to this and the other races so far was with two laps to go when we started attacking properly and the World Tour rider in the race (Steele) made his presence felt which was good and a sign of the quality of bike riders we have in this country.”

Re an early crash that split the race, Yanto explained “I did look around after two laps and notice there were quite a few riders missing and it was a bit sketchy as there is quite a varied ability in the group. But once the break went away, it was better with everyone just going through.”

Talking about the time he came past me flat stick near the finish, Yanto said “you have to take the race by the scruff of the neck. We are one of the bigger stronger teams, and I one of the bigger stronger riders here and I like this race. It was a nice day, I have a number on my back and I have been looking forward to it all winter after six months of training in the rain and cold”.

“The last couple of laps I was keen to split the group and I wanted to have a good work out and to get to the finish and make sure every one felt like they had raced. Sure, I was testing Steele and if there was any doubt, I can confirm he’s pretty good! He’s a good guy, and he’s come here which is a different level for him and has a different pressure with that”.

“So when we got to the finale, I was trying to isolate him, and in doing so, put in a few quite serious efforts and I was looking for some leverage with Marcin, a teammate (chasing and who almost got back on) , and that didn’t quite work out. Unfortunately Steele has got a real good finish on him and you’re always going to have got a gap to beat him.”

“In the finale, he showed his class and had more in the tank if he needed it. I’m happy though.”


First time through the finish and one of the many early attacks which failed to stick.

Rory Townsend
“I put in a few digs at the end as I could see Marcin coming up, and in my head I was thinking there is no worse place to finish than fourth so I had to keep going. I did a lot on the front on the last lap.”

On racing with riders like Steele, Rory says “I try not to think about it. These guys deserve respect but there is a fine line between respect and fearing them. So its great to be among them and learn from them as well. I felt fairly comfortable in the break and had one of those days when I felt really good.”


Chris Opie next lap was another rider trying to get a move going.

Eddie Dunbar “It was a very different race to Severn Bridge last week. The race was longer and the circuit pan flat and I went into the race making sure we looked after Steele and covered the moves from the big teams. I was pretty eager at the start getting in moves and probably did too much. The likes of Rob and Jonny calmed me down a bit but the main thing is the team came out on top.”

“I have done two longer races, the World Champs in 2013 and the last year the Shay Elliott (140K) but today was a lot faster than both those races and a lot flatter. It was a very good experience and I’m happy with today.”

“With some one like Steele in the break with you, you feel very secure and a lot more confident with what is going on around you knowing he’s one of the fastest guys in the world. So I just wanted to do my best for him and cover as many moves as I could.”


NFTO’s Eddie Dunbar was getting stuck in in a lot of the moves as well.

Dave Povall “Steele was our preferred option for the breaks and it was good for Eddie to be in there and have a look at the stronger guys again being his first year at this level. We certainly didn’t have it our own way out there, the One Pro boys were very professional and the same for the JLT lads as well and with them here, it was a good standard of racing.”

“Winning, were’ very happy with that but there is still work to do. We didn’t want to start racing too early as it’s a long season and it may appear to be overkill to have all this equipment here but this was a dry run for us before the big races start coming. To make sure everything is working and everyone is familiar with everyone else and their needs”.

“You can only beat who is on the line and we did that. Steele is a very humble and modest rider, very grounded but he is also confident in his ability and it was nice for him to have a look at the racing here. It’s very different being shorter and the structure of the racing is very different to what he is used to. So today was important.”


Marcin Bialoblocki leads a small move off the front but that too failed to stick.


Eventually a big group escaped and soon opened up a big gap on the peloton.


Into the final 50k and the pace went up as the riders from the big teams started to flex their muscles and the group got ever smaller.


Then with a two laps to go, Steele Von Hoff leads a thee man break with Townsend and Barker.


And then there was two as Von Hoff and Barker drop young 19 year old Townsend but he came back to them before the finish


In the rush to the line, Von Hoff leaves no doubt about just how good he is and opens NFTO’s account for 2015.


NFTO DS Dave Povall talks to the riders about the race strategy as they pin their numbers on in the Winnerbago


The NFTO team get together for a picture with the day’s winner, L-R, Edmund Bradbury, Eddie Dunbar, James Lowsley-Williams, Steele Von Hoff, 2014 winner Rob Partridge DS Dave Povall and Jonny McEvoy

1. Steele Von Hoff, NFTO
2. Yanto Barker, One Pro Cycling
3. Rory Townsend, Pedal Heaven
4. Marcin Bialoblocki, One Pro
5. Richard Handley, JLT Condor
6. Will Bjergfelt, Sportgrub Kuota
7. Eddie Dunbar, NFTO
8. Will Goulbourne, Corley Cycles Drops
9. Felix Barker, fruili
10. Jon Mould, One Pro
11. David Creegan, Pedal Heaven
12. Rob Partridge, NFTO
13. Thomas Moses, JLT Condor
14. Richard Lang, JLT Condor
15.Owen Lake, Richardsons Trek
16. Robert Moore, Pedal Heaven
17. Edmund Bradbury, NFTO
18. George Wood, Richardsons Trek
19. James Lowsley Williams, NFTO
20. Phil Trodden, The Racers

21. Mitchell Webber, Pedal Heaven
22. Ben Stockdale, Sportgrub Kuota
23. Jack Barrett, The Racers
24. Andy Lyons, Richardsons Trek
25. Joshua Lawless, Moda Anon
26. Chris Opie, One Pro
27. Thomas Baylis,One Pro
28. Mike Smith, Corley Cycles Drops
29. Jake Hales, Spirit Bikes
30. LLoyd Chapman, Richardsons Trek
31. Adam Capes, Finchley Racing Team
32. Stephen Williams, Pedal Heaven
33. Oliver Maxwell, Sportgrub Kuota
34. Christoper Dredge, Spirit Bikes
35. Antony Morris, CC Ashwell
36. George Fowler, Easton Rite
37. Russell Hampton, Polypipe
38. Mark Perry, All Terrain
39. Edward Clemens, Spirit Bikes
40. Willy Whenman, Bottecchia
41. Matthew Carter, Velo Schils
42. Simon Holt, Pedal Heaven
43. Jonny McEvoy, NFTO
44. Robert Ward, Storck Racing
45. Simon Alexander, Richardsons Trek
46. Liam Walsh, VC St Raphael
47. Joshua Hunt, One Pro
48. Ashley Cox, CC Luton
49. David Mcarthy, JLT Condor
50. Kristian House, JLT Condor
51. Stephen Bradbury, Starley primal
52. James Local, Neon Velo

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