Monday, 20 July 2009

Matt wins Clarion 50 TT champs

I went down to England on Saturday to ride the Clarion 50 TT champs. The race was on a three lap course around Knutsford city limits (I had the bloody song in my head all the way round!). The circuit was lumpy and pot holed with a reasonable headwind which hit the riders all around the course as it meandered around the Cheshire countryside. The heavens also opened twice to drench the competitors and at the end it got pretty cold for the later starters.

The sporting course didn't seem to hamper the winner of the race - he did a stunning 1.51 for 50 miles, absolutely amazing!

Before I started I had a chat with the Clarion club man of the year, 80 year old Derek Hodgkins who posted a 2.16 last year! He reckoned the best way to ride the race was to keep it steady for the first two laps and then "get it all out" on the last lap.

I followed what he said and rode within myself, covering the first 10 miles - in 24.30. After that I picked up the pace a bit and really felt good and made it to the halfway mark in an hour just as the down poor started.

I came to a RAB which I'd been through before and took the first exit which I thought the marshal was pointing to and straight away realised I'd gone the wrong way! I slammed on the brakes (big mistake) and the back wheel slid from under me and I skidded on my backside across the greasy road. Luckily the RAB was a small one so the cars weren't moving quickly, but one coming in the opposite direction had to come to a halt quickly.

I got up, dusted myself down (didn't check over the bike) and had a chat with the driver who had stopped to make sure he was ok.

By the time I'd remounted all the riders I had overtaken had come by so I got going and tried to pick up the speed. My saddle was a bit wonky but I could live with that and my left calf and thigh had been burned by the slide.

It took me about 2 to 3 miles to get going again, by which point I was overtaken by a fast man and realised I should be going quicker than I was so I started to up my tempo. Almost straight away I regretted eating the last 'safety' banana I scoffed before the start because it started reappear, bite by bite. I was following Derek Hodgkins advice of 'getting it all out' in more ways than one!

After about another 8 miles I got my self straightened out and started to push for the finish and gave it my all on the last lap, and actually felt pretty good again.

I crossed the line in 2.05.17 and went back to the HQ to wait and see how well the other Clarion riders had performed in our race-within-a-race.

Ian Clarke posted a 2.11.xx (Fenland) which he was pleased with as was Andy Horner (Bury Clarion) with his 2.8.xx. So I was in first place waiting for Stockport Clarion fast man Duncan Hewitt to finish. By all accounts Duncan had been "flying" But the second down poor and his fast start had got the better of him and by the last lap he had slowed and crossed the line in 2.5.40-odd.

So I'm the Clarion 50 TT champ! And will have to pick up a nice bit of silver at the Clarion Easter meet next year..

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

well done

andy b