Back at Dunsfold for the Surrey League opening weekend
On Sunday 6th March we were back at Dunsfold for the first time in two years to host the opening races of the Surrey League. The last time these races ran in March 2020 were shortly before we went into national lockdown and there was a real buzz to kick off with a full calendar of races this season.
This year we switched up the formats, with committee member Alice Lethbridge working with the league to host a women’s-only race for the first time. The women’s cat 2/3 race ran in the morning ahead of the men’s cat 2/3 in the afternoon. It was great to see a packed field, with over 30 women taking to the startline and 60 in the men’s race.
A massive thanks to Gill Thom and all the volunteers from the club who turned out to put on a great day of racing. It’s a massive undertaking to host these events and we couldn’t do it without the help from our members who gave up their time to help.
Women’s Race Report by Diversity in Cycling
“The road racing season has begun and it was great to see Sannah Zaman competing in the women’s road race at Dunsfold in Surrey last week. The weather was cold and most riders were wrapped up. Sannah and a number of women were active during the race with a constant stream of attacks in what was an aggressive race.
Fortune favours the brave and Eline Smit struck out with ten miles to go and scored an impressive solo win. The bunch were slightly delayed by a crash with one lap to go, but riders picked their way through and continued their chase, but Eline had the win in the bag.
With 1km to go, riders jostled for position with an ensuing bunch sprint, a tough final 400m with a small lung busting climb with the finish line an agonising 200m over the top, which tests everyone to the limit. Approaching the brow of the hill, Sannah was in the mix and well positioned on the right, crossing the line in a creditable 4th place with Joanne Clarke and Polly Burge just ahead of her in the bunch sprint.
Reigning National Junior Hill Climb Champion, Sannah has now graduated to the senior ranks and is racing for the Brother UK women’s team. Good luck for the rest of the season, Sannah.
Women’s racing is lots of fun and the scene is growing. It takes time and commitment but the rewards are worth it.”
Women’s Top 10
- Eline Smit Crawley Wheelers
- Joanne Clarke Stolen Goat Race Team
- Polly Burge Team Jadan Vive Le Velo
- Sannah Zaman Brother UK Orientation Mar
- Olivia Bentley Torelli Cayman Islands Scimita
- Lucy Harris LAKA X Pedal Mafia RT
- Charlotte Matthews Onyx RT
- Charlotte Hodgkins-Byrne Stolen Goat RT
- Molly Renfer BC Private Member
- Kate Browning Paceline RT
Men’s Race Report
The race started with a pretty ferocious pace with several attacks going from the flag drop, but nothing sticking as riders reacted and chased to stay on the wheels.
There was a consistent group of riders on the front throughout, trying to chip off to force a breakaway. At times they got around 5-10 seconds but strong chasing behind meant that nothing managed to stay away.
It proved to be quite an attritional race with several riders getting dropped because of the pace and the varying quality in road surface led to a few punctures too.
Just when it all looked like settling in for a sprint finish, two riders got away which then became six and they worked together well for the final two laps which kept them away from the chasing bunch, with a gap of about a minute by the finish. Will Auty (4T+ Cyclopark) finished well on Wrotham Hill to take the win ahead of Tristian Galloway and Paul Hart.
Behind them a second group of four chipped off and stayed clear of the main bunch to take care of the final places in the top 10.
Men’s Top 10
- Will Auty 4T+ Cyclopark
- Tristian Galloway Will Houghton
- Paul Hart Hart Performance Coaching
- Guido Blee Paceline RT
- Harry Green Wheelsuckers
- Mikey Weavers Project 51
- Monte Guerrini Foran CCC
- Inigo Hawkings VC Meudon
- Paul Barnard Precise Performance/One Resourcing RT
- Ben Chapman London Dynamo
All photos by ianwrightsonphotography.co.uk