It’s tough for Clarion’s lads

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A NINE-MAN Sunderland Clarion team took on the gruelling, windswept roads of Northumberland for the Ballantyne Memorial Trophy.

The race, open to 3rd and 4th category riders, is seen as the hardest race in the country for these categories of riders.

The race began in Mitford, with a fast roll out towards Cambo, including an intermediate sprint at Dyke Neuk.

At Cambo three Clarion riders lost contact, Matt France, Chris Wilson and Tony Dickinson, in his first road race.

They then worked together with a number of riders to complete the course, apart from France, who dropped further back.

Neil Ferguson also soon lost contact with the main group as the pace heated up near the descent of Winter’s Gibbet.

Michael Sloanes found himself the Clarion rider closest to the front, with Chris Barnard and Iain Beveridge not far behind. Further back, Charlie Monchâtre and Paul Cottrell battled on, tackling the climb of Bilsmoor from Elsdon.

The race was won by Richard Jones (Bike Science), ahead of Peter Hale (GJS Racing) and Nicholas Spencer (Gosforth RC).

The first Clarion rider home was Sloanes in 12th, followed in the next group by Beveridge and Barnard.

Their focus now turns towards the clubs circuit race series at Hetton Lyons, starting this Saturday.