First and second place finishes for Belper Bicycle Club’s veteran duo

Bill Cotton of Belper Bicycle Club
Bill Cotton of Belper Bicycle Club

The Churnet Valley Road Race, promoted by the Newcastle Racing Club, saw Belper Bicycle Club members in action, on a 44-mile course (four laps of a 10.5 mile circuit).

Bill Cotton and Derrick Woodings had travelled over to Swynnerton near Stone to ride this extremely testing circuit, Mick Allen deciding this race to be too hard going into the European Masters Track Championships later in the week.

Bill and Derrick, who were also riding the track at Newport in South Wales, opted to try and have as easy a ride as possible, which was going to prove difficult given the quality of the field and the conditions.

The 35 riders set off up the climb through Swynnerton. As soon as the flag was dropped there was an immediate high speed attack by Martin Russell (Team Jewson) and the bunch was stretched out in a line. The bunch was now still compact but slightly slowed by a partial headwind on the northward run back went through the finish area to approach the Swynnerton climb again Derrick was up front at this stage, following Alan Kemp (Weaver Valley), the favourite for the win, but as the race started the initial ramp up, had to let go.

Although there were several attempts to break clear nobody could make it stick. On the last lap, Ken Corbett was pulled back in, leaving the four escapees to contest the finish a minute or so in front. Alan Kemp won the sprint from Dave Cumming and Don Parry, with Martin Russell fourth. In the bunch, Derrick opted to give Bill Cotton some assistance in the sprint and led out over the final uphill before the long straight into the finish. Bill came second in the F Cat race and Derrick first in the G Cat.