BELPER Bicycle Club had a busy double-header weekend recently as they attended the Wyre Forest circuit race on Saturday, May 7 and then the Derek Smith Memorial Road Race promoted by Halifax Imperial Wheelers the day after.
Mike Allen opted to ride Friday and Saturday in Worcestershire and on Sunday, Derrick Woodings and Bill Cotton rode the Derek Smith memorial road race.
Allen recorded his fifth win of the year on the Friday, riding a one-mile circuit in Stourport-on-Severn over 25 miles.
Being in extremely good form, he adopted his usual tactic of attacking early in the race, this time on lap three, taking with him Lance Ravenhill (Coventry), a classy track rider.
However, Mike was too strong and left Lance who was absorbed by the chasing group.
Mike continued to ride strongly and lapped the field except for the second and third-placed riders to win by 50 seconds from Lance and Tony Taylor (Coventry).
On Saturday in the 40-mile event, the weather had turned nasty, heavy rain making the going very difficult and unfortunately, with Mike in a winning position, his luck ran out as he punctured with only three miles left, the honours going to Martin Hackley (Rugby).
Sunday saw the second Derek Smith event since his sad death in 2009. He was a good friend of Derrick Woodings and rode for the same sponsor as him.
Derrick being a long standing member of Belper BC, these days it is a common practise for top class riders to be invited to ride for a sponsored team when competing in races, as is the case with Belper’s other top riders Mike Allen and Jon Marshall.
Riding the event were; Derrick and Bill Cotton.
As usual with Vets racing there were three events all over the same distance of 45-miles. Derrick and Bill rode the 60+ event.
Within each race there are separate categories for riders within a five-year age range. Derrick in the 70+ range and Bill in the 65-69 group.
The 4.5-mile course was situated on Norland Moor overlooking Halifax and had to be covered ten times.
There were two climbs each lap the main one of one-kilometre length at an average gradient of eight per cent was made more difficult by a fierce south westerly wind blowing down the hill, this hill was also used as the start/finish line just 200 meters below the summit.
The race began into the wind commenced at a fairly steady pace until reaching the first corner, the wind now on their backs the speed picked up rapidly stretching the 30 starters into a long line at 40 mph.
On the small circuit the first few laps were used to get a feel for the different aspects of it and no real attacks were allowed to gain any advantage.
But on lap five, two riders opened up a gap of 200-metres, quickly followed by two of the favourites for the event Richard Booth of Teeside and local man Brian Sunter.
Bill realising that this move looked promising, attacked on the main climb and pedalled smoothly across the gap just latching on at the summit. This left five riders at the front.
Derrick remained to police the main group so that Bill had a good chance with this small elite group. With 3 laps remaining and the breakaway well established, Derrick then attacked hard to solo in pursuit, picking up one of the original breakaways on the way but not managing to gain on the leaders. So at the finish top road sprinter Richard Booth took the win from Jack Watson (Tyneside) and local strongman Brian Sunter who just pipped Bill for 3rd. place.
Derrick finished with the rider he caught in pursuit, one minute behind in sixth place.
In their age category sections, both Bill and Derrick were placed second.
Following this result Belper riders have had at least ten wins and several podium placings already his season.