In a truncated season it was double bubble for medals in the 7th and final round of The Friction Hydraulics Series with 10 of the 12 Series Championship medals in play as well as 50 mile Championship medals in a highly unusual end to a highly unusual season. Normally taking place in May, riders got their first and only chance to race this distance in 2020 and compete for the bonus points awarded for longer events in The SB Sports Injuries Shropshire Championship 50. Held over four laps of the Press-Quina Brook circuit the 50 Championship saw a first time entrant at the distance take a fabulous win by just eight seconds in a tightly-packed top end, as well as becoming a maiden Shropshire Champion as Dan Watts took home The 50 mile Trophy, The Shropshire Championship Shield and a brace of Gold medals thanks to a superb effort of 1 hour 54 minutes 50 seconds.
Watts has made the most of the limited events on offer in 2020 and his perseverance paid dividends as he just pushed out reigning Best all Rounder Victor Chetta into the Silver medal position in what was always going to be a close contest, with long-distance specialist Chetta a pure mile eater with a huge diesel engine that just keeps going. This time though Watts did the business after serious challenges from Tim Beardmore, Dean Callister and Henri Bedford had kept Watts on top of his game throughout in a contest that went right down to the wire. Watts revealed: “I’m really happy to take the 50 win. It was my first ever 50 so I was unsure on pacing, so I used my experience from other races and tried to play conservative as the worse thing you can do is go out too hard and blow up. I rode an evenly paced ride and was happy to just grab the SCCA win. In the process I secured the Friction Hydraulics Series which I’m really pleased to win after a short season long battle with Tim, Dean and Henri. It’s been really enjoyable and good for the mind to stay focused – thanks to all at the SCCA and its clubs who make the racing and the different Series possible”.
Chetta is no stranger to the 50 Championship, having held the title in 2017 and 2018, but this time had to be content with the Silver – along with a set of other medals to add to his trophy cabinet. His 1:54:58 took 65 points to elevate him above Beardmore and Callister at the last gasp and give him Friction Series Silver – but he wasn’t finished there. When converted to Veteran’s Standard Chetta’s +21:34 gave him 50 Veteran’s Championship Silver as well as Friction Veteran’s Series Bronze in a great morning’s work – although he was left dissatisfied about holding back until it was too late: “I was kicking myself after the 50 as I realised I’d paced it far too conservatively. I put in a much quicker final lap but it was too little too late by then and I crossed the finish with far too much left in the tank – hindsight is a wonderful thing! With the Best all Rounder understandably being modified due to Covid-19 this year down to a middle distance BAR I knew I was going to be up against it with the absence of my strongest event and with injuries from a motorcycle crash in August. I’m very grateful to the organisers that we had any racing at all this year though”.
But Chetta wasn’t the only rider taking home multiple medals as Tim Beardmore helped himself to 50 Veteran’s Championship Gold thanks to a strong +23:10, 50 Championship Bronze after finishing just 30 seconds off Chetta’s pace in 1:55:28; whilst taking Friction Series Bronze and Veteran’s Series Silver after tying on points with team mates Dean Callister and Deb-Hutson-Lumb respectively, and having to be separated from both under count back rules, showing just how tight things were at the top. Beardmore took home a fifth medal too, leading Nova Raiders to 50 Team Gold with strong backup from Callister and Andy Rose in a combined 5:54:42 in a vintage morning out for the team as they held onto the County Top Club Award for the fourth year in a row. Beardmore was ecstatic with his haul, stating: “I went out hard and tried to hang on – a big power personal best for a 50 so I was super-happy. The last lap was tough as the wind got up and the tank was empty. I’m so pleased to take the Veteran’s win and Bronze overall. Big congratulations to Deb for taking the Veteran’s Series win. It’s been so much fun to be racing for a few months, my form has been very good, and it’s nice to be at the sharp end again following a couple of seasons blighted by injury – just a massive thanks to everyone for making it happen”.
Callister was also stepping into unknown territory in his first ever 50 and missed out on Bronze by just 50 seconds, but was pleased to take Team Gold at the first attempt. Tying with Beardmore on points he just missed Series Bronze by that 50 second count back split, but was complementary towards his team mates, whilst identifying a feature not usually an issue for riders due to the abnormal late season timing – low sun: “This was my first 50 so I wasn’t sure what to expect after the first hour. I feel like I paced it well and actually enjoyed the longer race. Conditions were good apart from the road reflection in places – a great way to end the season. Well done to Andy and Tim – great rides to win the Gold. Thanks to all involved in the event, roll on 2021”.
Rose meanwhile also made it a brace of medals, adding 50 Veteran’s Bronze to that 50 Team Gold with his +17:20 pushing out North Shropshire Wheelers’ Gino Trassatti by 1:03. He stated: “I was delighted to have won 50 Team Gold and 50 Veteran’s Bronze. I really enjoyed the race, probably my favourite race of the season despite the thoughts of ‘Why am I doing this?’ before the start. Many thanks to the organisers and the marshals on putting the race on – appreciated”.
One of the few disappointments of the morning was Deb Hutson-Lumb being unable to start to defend her 2019 50 mile Women’s and Veteran’s titles, and with no women finishing the 50 mile Women’s Championship lays fallow for a year. Despite Beardmore taking the maximum 70 points on offer in the Friction Veteran’s Series to tie with Hutson-Lumb the pair had to be split by digging back through the records to find that Hutson-Lumb had shaded the Veteran’s Championship – just. She stated: “Having not started the final Friction Hydraulics event I was surprised to have won the Veteran’s series. It’s been a short but very competitive season and I’m looking forward to 2021. Many thanks to everyone involved in making events happen – your time and effort is greatly appreciated”.
One feature that was welcome however was the unusual presence of a Junior in the field – with the distance holding no fears for 16 year-old Henri Bedford who made his first attempt in 2019 and added another Gold medal to his tally. Bedford is the first Junior to step up to the challenge since 2014 after a fabulous if shortened season that has seen him turn out to every format on offer as his keen competitive instinct is honed ever further. How much he has improved over a year was graphically demonstrated by knocking a giant 7:35 off his 2019 effort to finish 5th Overall in 1:57:29. He commented: “It was good to race a 50 in before the end of the season as I like the challenge of a longer race. I’m super happy to go nearly eight minutes faster then last year when I did that course. The conditions were decent apart form the sun reflecting off the surface. Well done to Dan for the well deserved County win”.
Bedford had wrapped up the Junior Championship way back in Round 5, and but for a late start the Junior Silver medallist could have made a greater impact, having broken Course Records during the season as 17 year-old Mid Shropshire Wheeler Ben Pierce made his mark. Pierce stated: “I enjoyed taking part in the Series and I’m happy to take Junior Silver – thanks to the organisers of the events”. Pierce’s team mate Carys Blowers took Junior Bronze, and at just 12 year’s old already shows signs of a great future in the sport, adding: “I am really happy to hear I was third. I really enjoy doing time trials, and it was great to be able to race again. Thank you to everyone who organised them”.
With Hutson-Lumb successfully defending the Women’s Series the Silver and Bronze medallists summed up the sheer relief of racing taking place at all in a difficult season, with Hafren CC’s Louise Hurdley well prepared by keeping going during lockdown: “I was really pleased to take Silver in the Friction Hydraulics Series! With all the uncertainty of Covid-19 it was so good to get back to racing after lockdown. I really enjoyed the Series. Can I say a big thank you to Dave Griffiths Coaching for keeping me training throughout the year and to all the volunteers who make the time trials happen”. The final word went to the Bronze medallist Jenny York, who was shocked to hear she had taken a medal: “Wow that’s a surprise! I’m more than happy to get Bronze especially in this strange year – it’s given me a boost for next year now. Thanks to all involved in making this Series happen, allowing us the chance to race”.
|1||Daniel||Watts||SCCA Private Member||S||01:54:50||70|
|2||Victor||Chetta||SCCA Private Member||V||01:54:58||65|
|10||Gino||Trasatti||North Shropshire Wheelers||V||02:14:41||25|
|11||Steve||Cornish||Mid Shropshire Wheelers||V||02:15:42||20|
|13||Les||Boughey||North Shropshire Wheelers||V||02:29:41||10|
|.||Milly||Deer||North Shropshire Wheelers||W||DNF||.|
|.||Matthew||Davies||Holohan Coaching Race Team||S||DNS||.|
|.||Gareth||Brookes||North Shropshire Wheelers||V||DNS||.|
Nova Raiders (Tim Beardmore, Dean Callister, Andy Rose) 5:54:42
|Vets Pos’n||Forename||Surname||Club||Cat||+/- Vet Std|
|2||Victor||Chetta||SCCA Private Member||V||+21:34|
|4||Gino||Trasatti||North Shropshire Wheelers||V||+16:17|
|5||Steve||Cornish||Mid Shropshire Wheelers||V||+10:36|
|7||Les||Boughey||North Shropshire Wheelers||V||-07:14|
|Junior Pos’n||Forename||Surname||Club||Cat||Time||Junior Points|
|Women’s Pos’n||Forename||Surname||Club||Cat||Time||Women’s Points|
|.||Milly||Deer||North Shropshire Wheelers||W||DNF||.|
Top Club Award:
|4||North Shropshire Wheelers||35|
|5||Mid Shropshire Wheelers||20|
FINAL Cumulative standings Friction Hydraulics Series after seven rounds
|1||Daniel Watts||SCCA Private Member||S||295|
|2||Victor Chetta||SCCA Private Member||V||260|
|3||Tim Beardmore||Nova Raiders||V||250|
|4||Dean Callister||Nova Raiders||S||250|
|5||Henri Bedford||Revolutions Racing||J||230|
|6||Tomos Hales||Wrekinsport CC||S||135|
|7||Andrew Rose||Nova Raiders||V||120|
|7||Christopher Halford||Wrekinsport CC||V||120|
|7||Kieran Morris||SCCA Private Member||S||120|
|10||Ben Pierce||Mid Shropshire Wheelers||J||115|
|Tim Beardmore wins Bronze over Dean Callister on 2nd count back – fastest at longest common distance (R7)|
|1||Deb Hutson-Lumb||Nova Raiders||295|
|2||Tim Beardmore||Nova Raiders||295|
|3||Victor Chetta||SCCA Private Member||275|
|4||Andrew Rose||Nova Raiders||185|
|5||Christopher Halford||Wrekinsport CC||155|
|6||Gino Trasatti||North Shropshire Wheelers||145|
|7||Jenny York||Mid Shropshire Wheelers||140|
|8||Jonathan Mills-Keeling||Cycle Club Bridgnorth RWG||135|
|9||Steve Cornish||Mid Shropshire Wheelers||110|
|10||Graeme Donnell||Nova Raiders||105|
|Deb Hutson-Lumb wins Gold over Tim Beardmore split on 2nd count back – best standard at longest common distance (R4)|
|Junior Pos’n||Name||Club||Best 12|
|1||Henri Bedford||Revolutions Racing||310|
|2||Ben Pierce||Mid Shropshire Wheelers||120|
|3||Carys Blowers||Mid Shropshire Wheelers||95|
|4||James Satoor||Mid Shropshire Wheelers||55|
|5||Rebecca Woodvine||Mid Shropshire Wheelers||50|
|Women’s Pos’n||Name||Club||Best 5|
|1||Deb Hutson-Lumb||Nova Raiders||300|
|2||Louise Hurdley||Hafren CC||235|
|3||Jenny York||Mid Shropshire Wheelers||210|
|4||Helen Tudor||Oswestry Paragon CC||190|
|5||Bethan Till||Wrekinsport CC||145|
|6||Milly Deer||North Shropshire Wheelers||90|
|7||Jenny Newton||Nova Raiders||75|
|8||Clare O’Donnell||Wrekinsport CC||70|
|9||Alison Dockney||Market Drayton CC||55|
|9||Emma Serjeant||Hafren CC||55|
|9||Rebecca Woodvine||Mid Shropshire Wheelers||55|
Top Club Award:
|4||Mid Shropshire Wheelers||260|
|5||North Shropshire Wheelers||165|
|6||CC Bridgnorth RWG||115|
|7||Holohan Coaching RT||110|
|10||Oswestry Paragon CC||25|
|11||Ludlow Brewery RT||20|
|12||Newport (Shropshire) CC||15|
|14||Market Drayton CC||5|