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RLSCC Road Race 2023 Report

Last Sunday 20th August saw the return of the infamous RLSCC Friz Hill Road Race. Following on from the success of last year, we had 59 riders enter for the 9 lap course. The route began with a neutralised start from Wellesbourne village hall (after a quick rider briefing) out towards Friz Hill where the commissaire declared the race as officially on! The course includes 10 ascents of Friz Hill over 74 KM. There are three left-hand corners making up the triangular shaped loop.

Shortly after 09:30 am, the pack made its way up the first ascent of the hill. The first riders across the finish line on this ascent were riders 21 (RLSCC’s Ben Dodd) and 34 (Kenilworth Wheeler’s Denis Gorman) with the main bunch shortly behind them. When the riders crossed the finish line at lap 2, whistles were blown to indicate the next cross of the line would be where primes were taken for the KOM trophy. Rider 54 (RLSCC’s Peter Medhurst) was our first across the line at this point but the previous breakaway had returned back to the main pack keeping all riders together on the course.

Then saw lap 3 of the finish line and the first set of points up for grabs for the KOM prize. The point scoring of 3,2,1 was awarded to rider numbers 59, 52 and 22 respectively. At this point there was a very small lead group of around 15 riders with the main peloton around 20 seconds behind but catching. Lap 4 saw whistles blown as riders crossed the line once again ready for the next set of KOM points on lap 5. RLSCC’s Ben Dodd was first across the line here followed by the remainder of all riders who had caught the leading group up somewhat.

At the bottom of the ascent of lap 5 RLSCC’s Andy Clucas (rider number 15) put in a strong pull at the front of the peloton causing the bunch to become strung out. He made it about halfway up the climb working to help rider Ben Dodd attack over the brow of the hill to take the lead out front and entice around 15 other riders to chase him and form a breakaway . This lap was the second set of KOM points which were then awarded to riders 21 (Ben Dodd), 52 and 13. RLSCC rider Peter Medhurst was following Ben up the ascent to ensure they could work together in a breakaway. It was at the end of lap 5 that we started to see a significant gap between the leading group and the peloton.

Despite the fantastic teamwork during lap 5 RLSCC did have an early retirement from rider Ben Bollans who sadly experienced a collision with another rider when they crossed his front wheel. We’re sorry he didn’t get to finish his race but he worked with the rest of the RLSCC riders as a team up until that point to help keep them together in the bunch. We are all wishing you a speedy recovery Ben!

Lap 6 saw the breakaway of 15 riders lead a gap of around 30 seconds. RLSCC’s Ben Dodd & Peter Medhurst were working together chaingang style to keep the breakaway steaming ahead of the pack. Meanwhile the rest of our RLSCC riders; Emile Glorieux, Simon Baker, George Hollingsworth and Andrew Fickling were working hard to maintain their position at the front of the peloton to keep it together and stop them from chasing down the leading group to protect our other two riders up front. We also had another retirement from rider Alexander Craig shortly before lap 6 who stayed with the bunch working with the others up front until he decided he had had enough for the day! However he was smiling in every single photo so we’re sure he thoroughly enjoyed the race despite the DNF.

We then had the final set of KOM points to be awarded at the top of the ascent during lap 7. Up until now two riders were neck to neck on equal points and this would be the deciding round. Rider Ben Dodd was first across the line securing him another 3 points making it a total of 6 points and subsequently landing himself the KOM prize. Riders 43 and 68 were close behind him but not close enough to steal his thunder. As always, he did it in style with a cheeky bidon throw off to the side of the road making for a fab action shot!

With 3 laps to go the gap was extending and now sat at almost 2 minutes. Peter Medhurst & Ben Dodd were working together and giving the race everything they had to protect their positions against the many attacks at the bottom of Friz Hill. The pack were behind them with our RLSCC riders working their most effective defensive tactics to keep it together and controlled - not an easy task but one that seemed to be proving successful. We had a collective of around 30 spectators at the top of Friz Hill near the finish line by the time we were approaching 1 ascent to go. Something I am sure all of our riders were extremely grateful for!

Lastly came the final ascent of the hill. Peter Medhurst was doing his utmost to keep the breakaway together to give RLSCC the best chance of a podium finish. About halfway up the climb a few riders in the group launched an attack and Ben Dodd followed them. The finish line is about 100 metres from the brow of the hill meaning a sprint finish is almost certain. Rider Adam Charleston from High Wycombe Cycling Club managed to create a gap of around 15 metres against the others sprinting for the finish awarding him 1st place on the podium. This was closely followed by a bunch sprint of 4 other riders fighting for podium places. Second place was taken by rider Aidan Wade (no club) and third place was nabbed by Dylan Cherruault of Avid sport with RLSCC’s Ben Dodd narrowly missing out but ultimately being awarded a respectable 4th place and first RLSCC rider across the line! After his valiant efforts at the bottom of the climb our other breakaway rider Peter Medhurst crossed the finish line in 12th place.

All our other riders crossed the line safely and in one piece - although they would probably argue that wasn’t the case! This year's road race was fantastic and our most successful result yet! Well done to all riders and a huge thanks to all club members who came to support them - your cheering did not go unnoticed. However, we couldn’t do it without the generosity and support of the helpers and volunteers below so thank you so much to all of you. If you fancy a go at road racing then get in touch with us to find out more. Otherwise, we’ll see you all again next year…

For race results see here.

For our Google photos album click here.

Thanks to our volunteers and helpers:

  • Billy at Giant Store Leamington for the finish prizes and sponsoring our event

  • William Fotheringham for all of his help and support

  • Tom Wilson (regional events officer for West Mids) and Keith Evans (West Mids RCA) who have supported all the organisation of the event

  • Gary Seabrook at GMS Training & First Aid for providing the event medical support

  • Simon Fielding for the Timing Chips

  • Jamie Pearson for helping with race refreshments

  • Jason Esser, Andy Robson and Steve Large for their help with driving the race control vehicles

  • Lloyd Maggs and Angie Ridgwell for helping to control the traffic at the event

  • Pete Davies & Nigel Fox for doing race sign-on and chip timing collection

  • Ben Dodd, Kersti Jane and Martin Webb for their assistance putting all the signage out the day before

  • Chloe Rees, Chris McAteer and Paul West our finish judges and KOM points trackers

  • Julian Harding for supporting with event First Aid

  • Stuart Hepburn’s mother for providing all of our riders with post-race cake!

Apologies if we have missed anyone.

photos kindly provided by Chloe Rees & Gerard Scott


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