The three most prolific Belper vets, Derrick Woodings, Mike Allen and Bill Cotton, had entered the hotly contested annual Tom Simpson Memorial Road Race with a view to sharpening their form for the coming track championships next month.
A high class field saw many riders travelling from all over the country to ride this prestigious event.
All three had ridden the event – seven laps of six-miles of undulating roads around Harworth, Notts – many times and knew that the field often remained compact to finish in a mass sprint.
Such was the quality of the field that this year’s race was no exception. All attacks were countered and although both Mike and Derrick made several efforts the outcome could be seen.
Using road events as fast training for the track is difficult as the style of riding is very different. The main concern was to keep out of trouble with so little time before the championships.
With that in mind and two laps to go, Mike decided to call it a day and abandoned, his day’s training sufficient.
Derrick and Bill continued to the final lap where the bunch of 30 started the last ascent of the finishing hill as a compact group. Disaster was about to strike however, as just before the 200 metre flag a rider touched a wheel and came down causing Bill to veer off line taking Derrick with him on to the grass.
This put both of them out of the running for a high placing but both were thankful for staying upright. Bill finished out of the prizes in his age category, but Derrick scraped home 4th in the 70+ group.