Thursday 24 January 2013

Exciting Season in Prospect on the South Coast

The coming 2013 race season promises to be an exciting time in the south. Local clubs have all noticed an increase in enquiries after the Tour De France and Olympic successes of 2012. Bournemouth track has proved hugely popular with local schools, clubs and the university regularly booking track time. Along with cycling club and coaching sessions the calendar is filling up fast. Bournemouth cycling centre, who run the facility are expecting a very busy year. . The Poole Wheelers have a full programme of track sessions for all abilities at the Bournemouth Velodrome, running from February through to August. The Wheelers will also be running two open events at the track, a round of the national youth Omnium in June & the Rob Jefferies memorial meeting in July. In association with Raymond Brown, the Bournemouth Arrow will once again be running the weekly track league, with 15 rounds, starting in May. In addition the Arrow will promote a woman’s Omnium and “Derny Fest meeting in July. The Slades Farm venue will also host the National Derny Championships in August.

“Tester’s” are also well catered for with club time trials available on Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday every week from April. Alongside the sign-on-the-line club events there are over 40 open races in the South District “P” area alone. Perhaps the pick of the time trials being the RTTC National Circuit Championships, promoted by Poole Wheelers in late August. The A3CRG 50 on the fast P885, the week before the Poole event, will appeal to those chasing fast times for the Best All Rounder competition. A field limit of 100 will see this event fill up in no time. While there is a feast of racing on the track and against the clock, disappointingly, there is the usual famine for the roadmen. The season opening Perfs Pedal race in February, is in its 48th year and will attract a top quality field as always. However it is then 3 months till the next open road event, The Tour of the Milburys in May. There is, of course, plenty of circuit action, the Mountbatten test track in Portsmouth offers weekly racing opportunities but seldom inspires. If Hampshire is going hungry, then Dorset is positively starving, with no open road races on the calendar. The Moreton village series on Thursday evening attracts fifty or so riders but is run under TLI rules so no licence points are available. The 30, flat miles at Moreton, like the circuits of Hampshire & Wiltshire, offer nothing for the grimpeur, nothing for the rouleur and nothing for the roadman whose legs need three hours to warm up. Local clubs are either unwilling or unable to promote races. Their history is in time trialling, it’s what they know, while the risk assessed, bureaucratic responsibility of organising a road race is daunting. There are a few crumbs of comfort, the Divisional championship date has still to be announced and in Dorset, Dave Wade is working on The Hardy Tour, a one day race in August. The loss of Barnsfield heath as a racing venue hit the calendar hard. The 3 mile closed road circuit north of Christchurch has a bit of everything, uphill’s, fast flat sections and technical corners. The traffic free venue is the ideal environment to introduce youngsters to the excitement of bunched racing. Perhaps British Cycling or Sport England should underwrite a series of races at Barnsfield. Their negotiating power may prove more persuasive with the tenants of Barnsfield than that of the assistant secretary of the local wobbly wheelers cycling club. There is an opportunity at Barnsfield, an opportunity for legacy, a brave word last year, let us hope it is not a hollow word this year.
Major Race Dates 2013
Perfs Pedal Race 10th (Road)
Raymond Brown Track League 1of15 7th
Tour of the Milburys 11th (Road)
National Youth Omnium 1st (Track)
National Youth Omnium 15th (Track)
Derny Fest & Women’s Omnium 13th (Track)
Rob Jefferies Memorial Meeting 28th (Track)
The Hardy Tour (provisional) 11th (Road)
National Derny Championships 17th (Track)
A3CRG 50 TT 26TH
RTTC National TT Circuit Champs 31st

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