Round #2 – Bulmer Bank – Alba Rosa

Alas – this week’s edition of NYERRL has been cancelled. Unfortunately, owing to a lack of entries, the race wasn’t able to go ahead. Fear not, for we need not a race to pen a race report. As such, herewith a summary of what (would have) happened…

Despite fears of the race lacking entries, the shrewd decision to switch this edition to a 2/3/4 a week before the event resulted in a full field within 48hrs of the change. The new dynamic was warmly accepted by the regular attendees who welcome a kicking from the upcoming riders of the Yorkshire youth and 2nd Cat riders alike; the line-up offered a rich array of talent, from the likes of the Evergreen Neil Rollins, to young talent Jenson Young. Mark Jagger (Unaffiliated) cycled 85 miles to make the race, rode 30 miles home and completed a 50 mile Deliveroo shift later that evening, and Adam Connell (ARCC) turned up 30 minutes after the start before watching the first 5 minutes then driving home. Defending champions Prologue took full advantage of the last minute change to a 2/3/4 and NYERRL welcomed back Seasoned Veteran Matt Mannakee as well as Jimmy Parvin, on fine form after his win on Sunday, plus Matthew Williams. The winner of this edition in 2017, Jonathon Apaloo, returned to the scene of his famous win, and there was a surprise return from the enigmatic local ex-pro Jamie Sharp. Ilkley were very well represented, in their hunt to win the coveted Team shield, and FTR Milltag fielded a strong Team with in-form Dan McDermott and the resurgent Nick Guest returning to the race he tasted glory in many moons before. Valley Striders were again extremely well represented, and two of Le Col’s best riders – Billy Robinson and Will Staveley – added further fire-power to the starting line-up. With such a strong start sheet, the race promised to be an epic, and it didn’t disappoint.

Buoyed by his recent victory, and attacking hard from the head of the race on the first ascent of Bulmer Bank, Prologues’ Jimmy Parvin clipped off the front very early on Lap One, and was joined by Tom (The Harming Goat) Harmer of VSCC, Julian Pearce (FTR Milltag) and Sam Ingle (Body Torq). These four worked hard and quickly established a gap of 30+ seconds on a reduced pack of circa 40, with several riders suffering by the fast tempo on this challenging course and getting distanced in the first half lap. One FTR Milltag rider, David Beckitt, was forced to abandon early and rushed to hospital with severe saddle sores. We wish him a speedy recovery.

Going into the second ascent of Bulmer Bank, the gap had grown to over a minute, and the pack started increasing the tempo. Billy Robinson worked tirelessly on the front trying to reduce the gap, but he appeared to be the only rider willing to significantly invest in a chase. This upset him greatly (see his Strava title!). As Billy gesticulated wildly in frustration, Jamie Sharp attacked, closely followed by Matthew Williams (Prologue), Jenson Young (Giant Halifax) and Rob Ormrod (Ilkley). These four opened a gap of 50m and pressed on hard, descending Terrington Bank at speeds of close to 60mph to establish a second break. The pack again settled into a lull.

Onto the penultimate lap, and after pulling hard turns for almost an hour, Julian Pearce unfortunately faded and slipped back to the chase group. Jimmy, Tom and Sam continued their drive for glory but they were evidently suffering and the gap was reducing. The chase group, with new addition Julian fighting hard to hold the rear, and Matthew Williams a deliberate passenger, closed to within 20 seconds. A further 2 minutes back, the pack ebbed and flowed, but with many of the Teams represented further up the road, there was little appetite to chase. Going through the bell the two groups merged into one, with 8 riders looking likely to contest the win.

Working well together, the front group of 8 forced a 3 minute gap approaching the final kick up Bulmer Bank. Jenson Young attacked hard up the climb, and was followed by Jamie Sharp and Matt Williams. Jimmy Parvin, evidently suffering from his earlier efforts, 10 seconds behind, and Julian, Rob, Sam and Tom a further 15 seconds back. Jamie, Matt and Jenson were to go on to contest the win. Jimmy, like a yellow derny in the Summer haze, went into TT mode and soloed to a very strong fourth place. The remainder of the break worked hard to hold off a now very lively pack, but it look increasingly unlikely it would stick. Dan McDermott (FTR Milltag) attacked off the front of the pack, followed by Will Staveley, and Nathan Smith (Clifton CC) and these three opened a small gap with 5km to go, joining the remainder of the earlier break with the pack only 20 seconds behind. Dan immediately attacked over the top and went on to hold a solo drive to take fifth place. With the finish line in sight, Julian, Rob, Sam, Tom, Will and Nathan were absorbed by a flying pack at the bottom of the final climb, and a sprint for the remaining 5 places ensued. Chris Wilson (Valley Striders), invisible for the entire evening emerged and powered to 6th, closely followed by Richard Kelt (Ilkley CC), Jonathan Apaloo (VC York), and Nick Guest (FTR Milltag). Will Staveley found enough reserve to hold on for the final place.

Three minutes earlier, Matthew, Jenson and Jamie crossed the line in an ‘interesting’ finish. A local Farmer was stood in the middle of the road protesting angrily with 1km to go, and for a minute the race looked in jeopardy. The front three approached and swerved to avoid him, but Jamie Sharp took advantage of the other two braking heavily to open up a 20m gap. Jenson pushed hard to close Jamie down, with Matt Williams on his wheel, and despite Jamie’s best efforts it came back together at the bottom of the final kick. Matt immediately went over the top and held his attack to take a fine win, and register Prologue’s first points in their title defence. Jenson took second, with Jamie third. Further back, there are reports that shortly after these three went past him, Phil Makinson of Organising Club ARCC was seen rugby tackling the Farmer, before throwing him in the back of a pink & black van driven by someone who closely resembled Matthew Pinsent but with no hair, before it disappeared. However, this remains unconfirmed.

The top 10 as follows:

1 – Matthew Williams (Prologue)
2 – Jenson Young (Giant Halifax)
3 – Jamie Sharp (Feather Cycles)
4 – Jimmy Parvin (Prologue)
5 – Daniel McDermott (FTR Milltag)
6 – Chris Wilson (Valley Striders)
7 – Richard Kelt (Ilkley CC
8 – Jonathan Apaloo (VC York)
9 – Nick Guest (FTR Milltag)
10 – Will Staveley (Le Col)

*Please note, this never happened. But there is every chance it would have.

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