Clarion riders suffer as conditions take toll

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A BUSY weekend saw Sunderland Clarion riders taking part in three separate events, including two days racing in Stockton as part of the Stockton Festival of Cycling.

On Sunday, several riders took part in the warm-up event for the headline event of the weekend – the Stockton Grand Prix, part of the professional Premier Calendar series.

The 3/4 category race saw riders take on a technical and fast circuit around the riverside area.

The course saw the field depleted very quickly with a number of tight corners requiring riders to sprint out of them, an effort that is amplified the further back in the bunch a rider is.

The first two Clarion riders to suffer were Matt France and Tony Gibson, with France opting to retire after 23 minutes of racing.

Gibson carried on, doing his utmost to pull around a group of riders around the course who had been dropped by the main pack.

Meanwhile, Chris Barnard, Stu Gray, and Charles Monchâtre remained in the main group, which was busy completing the circuit at a relentless pace.

In the end the pace was too much for all but Barnard, who came in 15th behind eventual winner Shaun Tyson (Adept Precision Racing Team/North East Healthcare Solutions).

On Friday night, Stockton hosted a town centre crit race, which was raced in wet and miserable conditions.

Again it was a warm-up event for the professionals, who took part in round two of the National Circuit race series.

In the end, only Paul Cottrell represented the Clarion where the hazardous conditions proved too much. The race was won by Will Brown (Blackhawk Bikes).

Meanwhile, Neil Wallbank returned to racing after a lengthy absence and took part in the Infinity Cycles 9-mile Time Trial.

Neil was a former novice champion in the club, back in 1991, and road race champion in 1998.

He completed the course, also used weekly for Houghton CC’s time trial, in 24:34.

The event was won by William Haynes (Blackhawk Bikes) in a time of 20:08.

H Houghton CC evening nine-mile time trial: Paul Tyler (Cestria CC) 23min 20sec, Nick Jobson (Cestria CC) 24.27, Craster Bryce (S’land Clarion) 25.12, Alan Palmer (Houghton CC) 25.14, Peter Tuckwell (Houghton CC) 25.15, Julian Long (S’land Clarion) 26.12, Steve Kerr (S’land Clarion) 26.36, Joe Applegarth (Houghton CC) 27.13, Peter Baggarley (S’land Clarion) 27.41, Barry Richards (Houghton CC) 28.19, Dave Marshall (Cestria CC) 28.35, Chuck Taylor (Houghton CC) 28.35