A BUSY weekend of racing saw Sunderland Clarion riders take to the start line on Saturday and Sunday.
The racing began with Round Three of the Highfield Kitchens Spring Shield at the Prissick Park circuit in Middlesbrough.
A strong six-man team took to the start of the 3/4 category race. The numbers paid off for the club, as the race (as is usually the way at Prissick) finished with the bunch together, with two Sunderland Clarion riders making the top 10.
Iain Beveridge narrowly missed out on a podium with fourth place, behind Matt Rossister (Durham University), Will Stavely (Ferryhill Wheelers) and Mike Rennison (Cleveland Wheelers).
Michael Sloanes was the second Clarion rider to make the top 10, finishing ninth.
Iain’s fourth place sees him standing ninth overall in the 3/4 category overall, with Michael lying just behind in 11th.
On Sunday, Michael – along with Charlie Monchâtre, Chris Wilson, Paul Cottrell, and Chris Barnard – competed in the first road race of the season, the Wansbeck CC Australian Pursuit, in which riders set off in three groups, with a time gap based on rankings.
The race in and around Longhirst, in Northumberland, saw Matt France also racing. He joined Paul, Charlie and Chris Wilson in the first group of riders to set off.
The six-lap race saw the groups trying to avoid being caught by the higher ranked riders and eventually, after three laps, the race joined together.
The pace picked up with riders soon falling off the back of the main field, with some riders opting to retire rather than continue chasing in vain, including Chris Wilson and Chris Barnard.
At the other end, an elite group formed at the front. Eventually two riders broke free, with the victory going to Tom Murray (IG-SigmaSport), who was third overall in last year’s national criterium series.
Dan Smith of Velo29 OTR-Vankru finished five seconds behind his breakaway companion in second, while Richard Kipling (MTS Cyclesport) came third, leading home the first large group of riders.
The first Clarion rider to finish was Michael Sloanes as part of a second large group of riders, one minute, 25 seconds later.
He was followed by Paul Cottrell and Charles Monchâtre, who finished four minutes behind Murray. Matt France came home a little later, the last man to finish.
This weekend sees Round Four of the Highfield Kitchens Spring Shield, with Beverdige and Sloanes no doubt keen to improve their overall rankings.
H Houghton CC’s senior race at Hetton Country Park on Saturday was won by Mike Bell (Fiesten Tempo), with Paul Errington (Hetton Hawks) winning the schoolboy time trial.
Results. Senior Race (21miles): 1. Mike Bell (Fiesten Tempo) 52mins 31secs, 2 Paul Whitehill (Infinity Cycles), 3 Andy Brennan (Unattached), 4 Eric Henderson (Houghton CC), 5 Colin Prested (Cestria CC), 6 Alan Pamler (Houghton CC).
Schoolboy time trial (3miles): 1 Paul Errington (Hetton Hawks) 9min 34sec, 2 Roshan Parker-Mian (Hetton Hawks) 11min 53 sec.
The races continue this Saturday and a week on Saturday, with the schoolboy time trial at 1pm and the main senior road race at 2pm.