Report: Orwell Velo Road Race

Cian Smailes was the winner of the category 3/4 Orwell Velo Road Race at Otley, Suffolk on Sunday (September 9) – report from Fergus Muir

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Report: Orwell Velo Road Race
From Fergus Muir

Under 23 Irishman Cian Smailes (N-Fuse Identity Racing) won the Orwell Velo Road Race, crossing the finish line near Otley in mid-Suffolk 45 seconds ahead of the bunch sprint for second place. Smailes, from Dingle in West Kerry, was starting a late season foray in England in search of points for his second cat licence.

The 60 mile race was held on a new 6.5 mile Helmingham-Ashbocking-Otley circuit described by some as “A sprinter’s course” compared to the more attritional Crowfield-Framsden version based at the same Gosbeck Community Centre. At around half- distance Colin Peck (Chelmer CC) and Istvan Varga (Rapha CC) held a small lead through Ashbocking, but were hauled back.

Meanwhile Smailes was concentrating his efforts on getting away on the climb through Otley but without success. Then on the southbound leg out of Helmingham Smailes, on the inside front of the bunch, realised to his surprise that he had ridden off the front of the race. Many in the bunch were likewise unaware.

Not so veteran roadman and CX champion Tim Guy (DAP CC) who bridged to join Smailes and the pair worked together to extend the lead. However the young Irishman was in chatty mood and Guy, finding himself running out of breath for combined racing and conversation, elected to drop back to the shelter of the bunch rather than risk blowing completely.

Smailes forged on alone under squally skies – the wind by this time was such that passing crows were visibly drifting sideways. In the midst of a brief shower Smailes took the win. Three quarters of a minute later the bunch sprinted over the long mile from the top of the climb to the finish line. At the front Harry Wood (Maldon & District) and Colchester Rover Nick Flexman both hugged the nearside – and the shelter of the hedge – with Wood, despite his Junior gears, spinning across the line a few feet in front to take second place, followed by Nick Flexman (Colchester Rovers) and Hector Corey (St Ives CC)

1. Cian Smailes (N-Fuse Identity Racing),
2. Harry Wood (Maldon & District,1st Jun) @45 seconds,
3. Nick Flexman (Colchester Rovers CC),
4. Hector Corey (St Ives CC)
5. Steven Messenger (East London Velo)
6. Peter Fuller (VC Norwich),
7. Owen Geeson (Fast Test),
8. Peter Brooks,
9. Ben Howell (Strada Sport)
10. Dougie Allen (Velo Schils), all same time




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