Belper BC finish first and third in series

Bill Cotton of Belper Bicycle Club
Bill Cotton of Belper Bicycle Club
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The finale of the Percy Stallard Series 2013 for the F category age group saw Belper Bicycle Club involved in the mix.

The series was established in memory of the great Percy Stallard, the ex-GB international and Olympic rider, designated by cyclists as the ‘Father’ of road racing in mainland Britain.

Prior to his outstanding intervention in 1943, all races on our roads were run as time trials. The NCU (National Cycling Union) banning bunched road racing on open roads.

Percy, having raced on the continent, had seen how racing was run over there and decided to promote the same discipline over here. So in 1943, having formed the BLRC (British League of Racing Cyclists) in opposition to the NCU, he organised the Llangollen to Wolverhampton 60-mile road race, and history was made.

With all three active Belper vets spreading the cycling season across both road and track, it is difficult to target specific events in both disciplines.

With both Derrick Woodings and Mick Allen opting out of the competition, in favour of the track this year, it left Bill Cotton (pictured) to carry on the chase for overall first, Mick having won the F cat last year and Derrick coming second in the G cat.

In order to achieve this, Bill had to forego the LVRC track Championships last weekend.

There are six qualifying events throughout this year with riders counting their best five results. The standings, at the end of five races (the penultimate being the East Coast Road Race, earlier in September) with only the last race to come, were as follows:

Roger McGlynn had five scoring events for a total of 21 points. His lowest score was three points for a fourth place, so to improve his overall total, he had to finish third or better at the St Ives race.

Bill had 19 points from four qualifying races so any points scored at St Ives would improve his overall total.

Mick Allen had 17 points from three races but was not riding the St Ives race so 17 points would remain his final total.

None of the other riders in the F category were in double figures so could not overtake Roger, Mick or Bill. This meant that if Roger finished in any position ahead of Bill, he would win the overall series. He had obviously calculated this because he shadowed Bill for the whole race. It was vital that Bill beat Roger and finished fourth or better to win overall.

So to the 6th and final race: the Plastribution St Ives CC RR.

The race, over 4.5 laps of a tough undulating course for a total distance of 47 miles, was held under blue skies with temperature in the low 20s and a wind which got stronger as the race progressed.

The course had two major climbs, the first a long drag through open farmland where the wind was more of a problem than the gradient, and the second a short steep climb through a village just two miles from the finish.

32 riders from three different age categories started the race and attacks went from the first climb with Don Parry and Dave Cummins opening up a gap of 200 metres but they were pulled back before the next climb.

The race then settled into a predictable phase with attacks going on every climb and although they were all neutralised, the bunch gradually became smaller through attrition as riders tired and failed to get back to the leaders.

With just over one lap to go, Don Parry, Dave Cummins, Ralph Keeler, Ray Robinson and Tony Woodcock got clear on the short steep climb going through the finish area at the bell, to stay clear to contest the finish a lap later in that order.

Crucially, the five leaders were in age groups E or G which meant that the bunch behind contained all the F category riders who were in contention for the Overall Percy Stallard competition.

The finish for this bunch was hotly contested with Terry Devine getting a narrow margin over Dave Brown, Bill Cotton, Roger McGlynn, Alan Ramsay and Barry Jones.

Third place in the F age group gave Bill fourth points to make a winning series total of 23 points, with Roger McGlynn’s fourth place failing to improve his overall score of 21, finishing second with Mick Allen third with 17.