LAST Saturday the all-powerful Belper Bicycle Club veterans turned out again for the LVRC veterans race promoted by Solihull Cycling Club on the Tudor Grange Park circuit.
Unfortunately, Bill Cotton had contracted a heavy cold and so was unable to ride and Jon Marshall who has been too busy at work lately to train for such a demanding event did not enter this year, so it was left to Waingroves man Mike Allen and Derrick Woodings to represent the Belper club.
Again there were two events on the circuit, both of one hour plus five laps (equivalent to approx 25 miles).
The distance of the lap was 850 metres so each race was around 40 laps.
The two races were for LVRC licence holders where riders compete in a specific five-year age categories, 40-44, 45-50 years etc. up to 70+.
This circuit was very tight and therefore similar to track racing where speed and dexterity are a vital asset, which Mike Allen has plus his enormous strength when riding solo.
In race two, for 55+ age groups there was some apprehension when in the first race on the final lap a rider slid out on the final bend before the finish due to a fine drizzle making the surface slippery.
Fortunately this ceased just before the start of race two and the track started to dry out.
The 30 starters started at a furious pace as several riders attempted to split the field, as was the case last year, these came to nought, and even though Mike Allen made several solo attempts to break clear, his reputation as World champion on the road marks him down as a dangerous man to let go.
Derrick also tried a few times but even these attacks were pounced on. So after the hour was up and the final five laps were counted down the now depleted bunch of 15 jockeyed for the final sprint.
Mike just taking it in front of Pete Trotman (Wolverhampton) and Don Parry (Northampton). Derrick finished just behind in tenth place.
The end result of this race was a victory for Mike Allen, who also won his age category, and Derrick Woodings who was tenth in the race and won the 70+ category.
It confirms that both Mike and Derrick are justifying their champion titles in domestic racing, both riders should have many wins this year.
This week, apart from a ten-mile time trial for Mike, there are no road events in the area so the next big event is the first counter for the Percy Stallard series.
There is a 55-mile event at Swynnerton in Staffordshire on April 15.
This will be a big test for the Belper men as all the top riders in the country target these events during the season.