Report: Victor Berlemont Road Race

Chris Lovibond reports on the 2021 Edition of the Victor Berlemont Road Race won by Oliver Hucks ahead of Joe Hill and trainSharp coach and prolific winner this year Chris Mcnamara 

RST Cycle Clothing & Trigon Bikes

Report: Victor Berlemont Road Race

Just being at the start of a big road race in August 2021 felt a bit of a miracle, but it was reality and a field of sixty nine started on time from Woodcote Village Hall.

Two brave souls, Dan Shoebridge and Sam Woodfield attacked on that first lap and looked good together, but with 100 miles to go this break was premature and short lived. Another break of six riders on lap three gained enough of a gap to bring the second lead car into action for a lap before it was reabsorbed. At about this point Rory Townsend, perhaps the pre race favourite, punctured and retired – the race did have neutral service, but for some reason they were unable to help.

On lap three, the race was stopped by the commissaire for a lecture on crossing the white line, but it was after another brief halt caused by a clumsy van driver at ‘Tesco Corner’ in Goring (the bottom of Flint Hill, the main climb) on lap five that the race-deciding break formed, with seven riders away, working smoothly together.

This group lost only one member in the fifty or so miles to the finish and gained over two minutes on a disintegrating bunch. On the approach to the finish, Ollie Hucks said that although everyone was tired, Marinus Petersen (Loughborough Students) kept up an attacking speed on the final climb of Catsbrain Hill on the finishing circuit, but he (Hucks) was able to go past him for a long sprint to the finish. He thought he had done enough, but with 200 metres left he checked behind only to see the dangerous Joe Hill (Up Shift Nutrition) closing on him; Hucks was able to find a final effort however which made him a clear winner. Hill took second place with that outstanding veteran, Chris Mcnamara (Nuun Sigma Sport) in third place. There were just thirty finishers.

Oliver Hucks is in his fourth racing season (if 2020 can be counted). He is currently working for an MA in environmental impact studies which he says has given him time to train – let’s hope his academic supervisor doesn’t complain about that statement! He started with the High Wycombe CC and lives in Radnage, so he is very familiar with Chiltern roads and knew the circuit well. He sees himself as suited to long road races and trains accordingly with plenty of miles, but he also mixes in some time trialling which has been the practice of so many top British riders in the past.

Joe Hill at 22 years of age already has ten racing seasons behind him and no lack of enthusiasm for the future. He took the first prize in the under 23 category.

Chris Mcnamara, at 46, is at the opposite end of the age scale, at least at this level. He has had a long and successful career but has now struck a brilliant patch of good form, having won the Wally Gimber last week and a Masters race the previous week. ‘Get it in while you can’ is his motto.

As recorded elsewhere, the Victor Berlemont race (founded 1951) has an illustrious history, but it owes its existence today to the enthusiasm and drive of Doug Collins who resurrected the race, first as a Surrey League, and then handing over the reins to Patrick Kavanagh as promoter who raised it to National B status on this Woodcote course. For this 2021 edition the race has a new and able organiser in Andy Pearce and a new promoting club in the High Wycombe CC. Doug has still been an important force in this year’s race, as were the many helpers he brought along from the Pedal Club.

Let us hope that the success of this year’s event will encourage Andy and the High Wycombe to continue for many years into the future.

Chris Lovibond.

Result (top ten):
1 Oliver Hucks, Nopinz Motip Race Team
2 Joe Hill, UpShift Nutrition Race Team
3 Chris McNamara, Nuun-Sigma Sports-London RT
4 Marinus Petersen, Loughborough Students CC
5 Matt Clarke, Wheelbase CabTech Castelli
6 Oliver Winwood, Bratchell Velo Club Venta
7 Sebastian Garry, Nopinz Motip Race Team
8 Michael Gill, Saint Piran Development
9 Joshua Avery, Brother U.K – Cycle Team OnFor…
10 Owen Lightfoot, Z Junior Race Team
11 Euan Macleod, Canyon DHB Sungod
12 James Chapman, Team PB Performance
13 Carl Jolly, 73Degrees CC
14 Haben Gebrehiwet, Tottenham CC
15 Ben Fish,
16 Daniel Shoobridge, Nopinz Motip Race Team
17 David Hird, Halesowen A & CC Academy
18 Callum Slade, Jam Cycling RT coached by BPC
19 Cameron McLaren, Nopinz Motip Race Team
20 Martin Ford,
21 George Smith, Primera-TeamJobs
22 Oscar Hutchings, Team Tor 2000 Kalas
23 David Roper, Ride 24 – 7
24 Joseph West, TBW23 Stuart Hall Cycling
25 Frazier Carr, Spirit Bontrager BSS Rotor
26 Joshua Price, Spirit Bontrager BSS Rotor
27 Thomas Wright, Team PB Performance
28 Thomas Springbett, Foran CCC
29 Fergus Jones, Yomp Bonk Crew

Under 23:
1. Joe Hill
2. O. Winwood Bratchell
3. S. Garry.


Cycle Division’s Shop

Send your results as well as club, team & event news here

Other Results on VeloUK (including reports containing results)

Other News on VeloUK