WINDY conditions greeted cyclists at the Nissan Series event at the Gateshead College and Performance Track last weekend.
Racing opened with a one-hour Regional B race for third and fourth category riders, which attracted a strong field of 82 competitors.
With winds gusting to 45mph at times, the race stayed more or less together throughout with one or two abortive attempts at breakaways, which were easily brought back by the bunch when the race hit the long west straight directly into the wind.
By the closing laps, the race re-grouped and in a frantic bunch sprint Jonathan Caisley of Northumbria Police Cycling Club repeated last year’s win by taking the honours again.
Second place went to Kevin Brennan of Dinnington Road Club, with Neil Wallbank of Sunderland Clarion third. Clarion’s Paul Cottrell was fifth.
All the Houghton CC riders came home in the bunch, with Chris Ranson in eighth position.
3/4 Category race: 1 Jonathan Caisley (Northumbria Police Cycling Club), 2 Kevin Brennan (Dinnington RC), 3 Neil Wallbank (Sunderland Clarion CC), 4 Michael Wright (Middridge CRT), 5 Paul Cottrell (Sunderland Clarion CC), 6 Grant Worrall (Achieve-Skinnergate Racing), 7 James Howard, 8 Chris Ranson (Houghton Cycling Club), 9 Stuart Neilson (Fietsen Tempo), 10 Michael Rennison (Cleveland Wheelers CC).
The second race was a National B, 90-minute race for Elite, first, second and third category riders, with a field of 34 starters.
Despite the difficult wind conditions, it proved a lively race with several attempted breakaways but with five laps to go a decisive break formed of eight riders.
The main bunch looked to be bringing this breakaway back at times but it stayed clear to eventually determine the finishing order.
Race winner with an explosive sprint was Will Brown of Velo 29 Blackhawk.
Alan Nixon of Blackhawk Bikes took second place in the sprint with Jordan Matthews of Adept Precision Racing taking the final podium place narrowly from Marcus Smith of Cleveland Wheelers.
Clarion’s Paul Cottrell came in 14th.
E/1/2/3 Category race: 1 William Brown (Velo29-Blackhawk), 2 Alan Nixon (Blackhawk Bikes), 3 Jordan Matthews (Adept Precision Racing Team/No), 4 Marcus Smith (Cleveland Wheelers CC), 5 James Anderson (Blackhawk Bikes), 6 Thomas Timothy (Achieve-Skinnergate Racing), 7 Matty Cooper (Acheive-Skinnergate Racing) , 8 Adam Martin (Metaltek – Knights of Old Racing), 9 David Johnson (Blumilk.com), 10 Adam Robertson (Blumilk.com), 11 Jack Rees (Acheive-Skinenrgate Racing), 12 Craig Anderson (Achieve-Skinnergate Racing), 13 Giles Harrison (ActivCycles-Corbridge RT), 14 Paul Cottrell (Sunderland Clarion CC), 15 Shaun Nicholson (Blackhawk Bikes).
H A week before, Sunderland Clarion’s Michael Sloanes secured a podium finish in one of the North East racing calendar highlight’s the Sloan Trophy.
Condisitons were blustery again and the the race fragmented. With two laps to go, a decisive break finally established itself.
Sloanes took the first prime sprint at the end of the first lap while trying to establish a breakaway with three others.
Despite not making the decisive break, Sloanes worked well to pull back the break in a group of four riders, only failing to catch two of those in the break.
In the end Sam Ward (Dirtwheels Cycles) took the victory from Richard Jones (Achieve-Skinnergate Racing) with Sloanes, only yards away from grabbing second, securing third.
The only other Clarion rider to complete the race, Neil Wallbank, finished safely in the bunch.