Will, Vince and I ventured out to Hillingdon for Round 2 of the Tuesday night series. My evening started with a minor mechanical problem which meant I had to work fairly hard in my ride from the City in order to make the start.
I arrived 5 minutes before the off and was greeted by my
fellow TCC cohorts, and we set about devising our race tactics. It was
agreed that we would stay in the top third of the field and work as
little a possible. We would work out our finishing plan near the time.
The race commenced in an orderly fashion, at a steady pace and was reasonably well disciplined. It didn’t escape my notice, however, that most shouts of “hold your line” seemed to be aimed at Will. He later assured me that these accusations we unfounded.
Lap 3 saw the first excitement as 4 riders formed a break, which surprisingly was not chased down immediately by the following group. The gap was around 50 metres but soon closed and by lap 5 we were all together again.
Will, Vince and I found ourselves at the front of the peleton as the next break attempt was made. Vince and Will bridged the gap and I rode steadily at the front of the following group and allowed the break to form. This plan ultimately failed and we were all back together very soon, although Will and Vince, in my opinion, were working far too hard at the head of the field whilst I skulked in the middle of the pack.
The race continued without much further incident.
By this time about 30 minutes had passed and we expected the final laps to be counted down but nothing had been indicated. It then became obvious that the marshals were waiting for the E/1/2/3 race to pass by us before finishing the 4ths race.
I took up a forward position alongside Will as the fast group came by. Will and I assessed that the marshals would call our race once E/1/2/3's had been cleared. This analysis proved to be correct and crucial to the outcome of the race, as the next time round we got the bell indicating the final lap. No other lap countdown had been shown.
There was a surge in acceleration. Those at the back of the field had little chance of making up ground. I found myself near the front but at the side of the peleton and in the wind with no wheel to follow. Will, thankfully, made room for me in the group and I followed a strong wheel with Will behind and, I presume, with Vince also getting a tow.
With much encouragement from behind, I accelerated out of the bottom bend and powered, as much as I could, into the rise to the finish. A stronger rider passed me on the right and Will did the right thing and jumped onto his wheel with Vince in hot pursuit. By this stage I had given my all and was only concerned with not losing any more places as a top 10 finish looked possible.
At the finish Will McFarland had taken 3rd, Vince Leon 7th and I (Darren Paice)came in 9th.
We were delighted to get three TCC riders in the top 10.