After losing out in the individual race to Matt Gibson (Ribble Weldtite) in the first round at Otley, the Canyon dhb SunGod team was determined to make amends at the second and final round of British Cycling’s curtailed HSBC UK National Circuit Series for 2021 at The Lister Horsfall Men’s Grand Prix held in Ilkley town centre on 23th July. It was good to see that the attraction of a race ‘in the flesh’ had brought out a large crowd on a sunny and balmy evening.
The one hour race on the 1.5km circuit started in The Grove with an almost immediate right-turn into a sharp 200 metre long climb up Riddings Road which was to be the key feature of the parcours. After a right-turn onto a false flat, the circuit then descended more gradually down towards Wilton Road with a tricky right-hand turn into Grove Road, and a fast bend back into The Grove.
Canyon dhb SunGod were represented by the largely northern-based riders Matt Bostock, Jim Brown, Damien Clayton, Thomas Mein, Jacob Scott, Rob Scott, Andy Tennant & Reece Wood.
Reigning National Circuit Race champion Joey Walker (Crimson Orientation Marketing) was the first to attack and led the peloton up the Riddings Road hill. At the top of the hill, third place finisher at Otley, Joshua Tarling (FlandersColor Galloo) took up the pace for the rest of the lap. Clayton then led second time up the Ridding Road climb with the rest of the Canyon dhb SunGod riders massing together behind.
1. Damien Clayton
Wood led third time up the hill with Gibson close on his tail. Surprisingly this is about the last time a Ribble Weldtite rider was seen anywhere near the front of the race. Mein took up the pace on the fourth time up the climb and this was the move that strung out the peloton with Rob Scott then coming to the front to force home the move on the fifth ascent.
2. Rob Scott takes the corner
Continued pressure from Mein on the sixth ascent established a clear 11-man break, which included six Canyon dhb SunGod riders, that would dominate the rest of the proceedings with every other rider in the race eventually being lapped. Seventh time up the climb it was now Jacob Scott’s turn to dish out the pain and the pattern was set for the rest of the race with Bostock largely getting an ‘armchair ride’ being kept in reserve in the case of a competitive sprint finish.
3. Jacob Scott pushes on up the climb
Mein was notable in how perilously close he would get to the protective hay bales on the outside of the corner each time he led the breakaway down Wilton Road and back onto Grove Road. It was also Mein who was the first rider to break the pattern of the race with nine laps remaining and go for the lone break to glory.
4. Canyon dhb SunGod leading the breakaway
However, this move was brought back by Oliver Rees (Trinity Racing) and Leon Mazzone (Crimson Orientation Marketing). Walker was next to have a shot at getting away with seven laps to go, but was brought back by Mein.
During a lull at the top of the hill with five and a half laps to go, Wood took off and rapidly established a clear gap of over 10 seconds. Over the next couple of laps Wood’s lead reached a maximum of around 25 seconds and he rode to a commanding and stylish victory thanks to the combined effort of the team.
5. Reece Wood celebrates the win
The rest of the breakaway fragmented on a frantic last lap with Jacob Scott taking second place from Mein in third. After a very active race trying to disrupt the Canyon dhb SunGod blue train, ex-Canyon dhb and Team Sky rider, Alex Peters (SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling) took 4th with Rob Scott 6th, Bostock 8th and Brown 11th.
6. A 1-2-3 for Canyon dhb SunGod (L-R Jacob Scott, Reece Wood, Thomas Mein)
Wood’s first place also gave him the National Circuit Series title on countback from Rob Scott with the pair having finished level on series points. Bostock took third. The Canyon dhb SunGod team dominated the team standings accumulating 146 points to the 48 gained by SwiftCarbon and Ribble Weldtite.
This result will give the Canyon dhb SunGod team great confidence as they move onto the three-round Tour Series that commences in Guisborough on 8th August. On paper Ribble Weldtite look to be very strong competiton, but they will need to regroup to show that their spirit was not broken on the roads of Ilkley town centre.
Following the race, Reece Wood commented in his interview with Larry Hickmott (velouk.net):
‘It is a great course, I knew it would suit me. We had a plan, we stuck to it and it paid off in the end. A team time trial from the get-go. That road down the finishing line and up the hill, we knew we needed to be right there at the front and just try to split it to pieces and it really did pay off in the end. The early part was chaotic and very hard, I remember at the top of the climb looking down at my Wahoo and seeing eleven and a half minutes into the race and at that point I was already on the rivet and it didn’t go any easier during the whole race, it was very hard for sure. It wasn’t really my plan, I just took my chance. I knew there were strong team-mates there to help make sure I stayed up the road if I was feeling good and managed to stay away. It was a hard last few laps for sure.’
7. Reece Wood leads the way
Ilkley GP Result
1 Reece Wood Canyon dhb SunGod 59:52
2 Jacob Scott Canyon dhb SunGod +6
3 Thomas Mein Canyon dhb SunGod st
4 Alex Peters SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling st
5 Oliver Peckover SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling +8
6 Robert Scott Canyon dhb SunGod st
7 Joey Walker Crimson Orientation Marketing RT st
8 Matthew Bostock Canyon dhb SunGod +12
9 Leon Mazzone Crimson Orientation Marketing RT st
10 Oliver Rees TRINITY Road Racing st
11 Jim Brown Canyon dhb SunGod +19
National Circuit Series Individual Result
1 Reece Wood Canyon DHB Sungod 48
2 Robert Scott Canyon DHB Sungod 48
3 Matthew Bostock Canyon DHB Sungod 32
4 Matthew Gibson Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling 30
5 Joshua Tarling FlandersColor Galloo 30
6 Jacob Scott Canyon DHB Sungod 28
7 Thomas Mein Canyon DHB Sungod 26
8 Joey Walker Crimson Orientation Marketing RT 26
9 Samuel Watson Team Inspired 24
10 Alex Peters SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling 24
National Circuit Series Team Classification
1 Canyon dhb SunGod 146
2= Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling 48
2= SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling 48
4 Crimson Orientation Marketing RT 46
All with thanks to Larry Hickmott @VeloUK
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Written by Paul and Marina Stedman with rider contribution by Reece Wood.