Sunday 10th April saw a return to the Modbury road race circuit, with strong winds, cold temperatures and rain in the forecast – conditions promised to be challenging!
The race started fairly steadily, the strong winds made for tough conditions on the front. MDCC’s Dave Johnson, feeling strong went on an early attack and distanced the field, he was soon joined by another rider and the two battled with the wind for a further lap before the pack caught them.
Over the next couple of laps there were several attempts at a breakaway from various riders, but nothing stuck till the beginning of the fourth and final lap when two riders got away, by the time the pack reached the main road and fastest section the pair had 35 seconds, a lead that was sustained till the end giving them 1st & 2nd.
The peloton continued down the road, with tensions rising and everyone jostling for position for the final climb, a mini break of 3 including ex Mid Devon CC Junior Joe Saunders made a move but was soon chased down by Mid Devon CCs Tim Prowse bringing the pack with him. The bunch came together and the pace dropped slightly as everyone prepared for a certain sprint finish. With the final climb dealt with Mid Devon CC rider Ashley Towey made a move up the outside forcing the bunch to chase hard. A brave last ditch effort by Prowse saw him almost onto the grass on the last junction, a move that paid off as he launched over the line to take the bunch sprint for 3rd
Gareth Bushnell for Mid Devon CC finished 6th continuing his run of decent placings. Also with the bunch were David Johnson, Nick Weddall, Steven Jones, Ashley Towey, Harry Loader and Mike Gratton. A crash took out Ian Cullen who based on recent form would have been right up there in the finish. Picking up from recent races the onus was on riding as a team today and the consensus was that this was achieved.
We managed to steal an interview with Tim post race – here’s how he felt the day developed
I went into today with hopes of a better race than the last time round the Modbury circuit after getting dropped on the first lap after JTL ripped the field apart! My aim was to simply not get dropped and hold on till the end, with the wind as it was, I spent most of the race doing my best to hide from it and concentrate my efforts getting up the hills, that was till the 3rd lap where excitement got the better of me! I took to the front of the pack down the Erme valley with Steven Jones in tow, downhill and flat out I was in my element, but soon realised why I’m known as the “Wardrobe” – the whole bunch was sheltered behind me! I sat up took a drink and a gel and tried to recover for the hills…again!
Crossing the start/finish line for the 3rd time I knew I only had to tackle the hills one more time, thankfully I got over them still in contact and used the long flat sections to move up the field before the final climb up through the woods. Get up this one and its on I thought! It hurt, a lot and I slipped to the back of the pack but held on just. My position was terrible and thought all hope was lost, but managed to dig deep up around the final corners, I put everything in and took the outside line around the pack into the finish straight, with Andrew Parkers shouts ringing in my ears I dropped the hammer early for a long sprint to the checkered flag, shame it was only for 3rd but I’m very pleased to have my first Road Race podium