After the longest winter in all Rider’s and Spectator’s living memories (Rollins excluded. Obvs), we were graced with an uncharacteristically warm and breezy early Summer evening for the first edition of the 2018 NYERRL. Ilkley CC hosted the event from new HQ Norwood Village Hall, and the race didn’t disappoint with plenty of drama and a dashing of typically unorthodox NYERRL riding.
A steady tempo kept the bunch together for much of the race, with a few failed attempts to get away by a handful of the livelier riders routinely closed down. Despite the relatively neutralised nature of the race, there were a few bizarre incidents to help liven up proceedings. One Rapha CC Rider appeared to take the wrong left turn off Pennypot Lane on Lap One, only to realise too late that it wasn’t actually a road at all and was, in fact, a bush. Pennypothole also claimed a couple of unfortunate puncture victims. There was the traditional get-down on the Pott Bank descent (… has there ever been a race without a crash down there?). Thankfully, despite an ambulance being called to one scene, no very serious injuries were reported, and the final lap went without major incident.
Half way into the penultimate lap, and the most significant break-away effort of the race went up the road; a two-up combination of Harry Lee (Selby CC) and Thomas Davison (J’s Cycle Shack). With the pack showing little appetite to chase, the gap grew to over 20 seconds, and sensing an opportunity Nathan Smith (Clifton CC) jumped across on the rise past the Sun Inn to form a handy break of three. After help initiate the move, Thomas lost contact on the rise to the bell lap, leaving Harry and Nathan staring at an 11-mile slog for glory. The pack still appeared reluctant to increase the tempo and the gap extended as the race ascended Pennypot for the final time. With the final grind up Pennypot stinging the legs, Nathan was forced to press on solo as Harry lost contact to be absorbed by a group of circa 40 that appeared to be finally gathering momentum. Nathan held a 20 second gap as the race powered past HQ for the final time, but the last couple of miles to the line into an unusual Easterly headwind would prove too much to hold. With a few strong turns at the front, notably by York Cyclework’s James Eaton but ably assisted by VSCC’s Nick Boydell and ICC’s Jake Unsworth, Nathan was brought back with a few hundred meters to go. At which point a pack sprint finish was inevitable.
After spending the past couple of minutes closing the solo break, James faded on the last kick and a line of riders attacked early on the outside, including the in-form Tom Harmer, who had previously finished 4th (ahem, 3rd!?) in the highly competitive Barnsley Road Race the Sunday just gone. Tom Never Looked Vack and held his sprint to the top of the rise, but with the final 20m into a flat headwind he was unable to take the spoils. Instead, a young rider relatively unknown among the senior members of the race and riding for the Organising Club Ilkley CC, appeared like a subtle ninja in the fading light and timed his move to perfection. Spurred on by the bellowing roar of the expectant Ilkley faithful on the line sensing a famous win for their club, Archie White emerged and powered to an excellent victory. He joins an illustrious list of elite ICC NYERRL victors over the years including famous names such as Cam Blake, Lee Morley and the Evergreen Neil Rollins. Tom, known among the North Leeds cycling fraternity as The Harming Goat (hairy legs and all), finished a bike length behind for an impressive second. Prologue’s talented 2nd Cat Junior Scott Wolfenden claimed third. A strong final sprint from Ilkey’s Richard Kelt secured fourth place, and completed an excellent Round 1 for Hosts ICC, who now take a commanding lead in the Team competition going into Round 2 (…3?) at Bulmer Bank next week. Valley Striders finished with the most riders in the top 10; no less than 3 claiming points with Harmer joined by T-Cage and the man with quite comfortably the hairiest guns in the race rounding off the top 10. They subsequently hold second position in the chase for the coveted Shield going into the next race.
The top 10 confirmed as follows:
1 Archie White (ICC – 15 points)
2 Thomas Harmer (VSCC – 12 points)
3 Scott Wolfenden (Prologue – no points awarded)
4 Richard Kelt (ICC – 8 points)
5 William Foster (Cyclesense – 6 points)
6 Phil Shackleton (All Terrain – 5 points)
7 Jamie Tweddell (FTR – 4 points)
8 Sam Ingle (Body Torq – 3 points)
9 Torquil Hall (VSCC – 2 points)
10 Joe Hepworth (VSCC – 1 point)
1 Ilkey Cycling Club 23 points
2 Valley Striders 15 points
3 Cyclesense 6 points
4 All Terrain Cycling 5 points
5 FTR Milltag 4 points
6 Body Torq 3 points