Ilton…

Ok, so maybe that’s not the most exciting of titles, but that doesn’t matter. What does matter is what happened.

Not quite as early a start as it was for Ludgershall, nice wee 8am meet with Doug Hall for the road trip down to Ilton, or Merryfield Airfield for the first of Somerset Road Club’s circuits… Being there early meant being able to watch some of the junior racing, complete with the stereotypical parents trying to live their dreams through their kids. Funny to watch, but what kind of pressure must they be under? Scary…

On to the main events though, and the 4th Cat race with Felix… looked comfortable throughout, with a wee solo dig off the front (or so he tells us) and a pretty decent finish, he didn’t crash this week… Chapeau! However…

3rd Cat racing is a step up from 4th, both in terms of speed and tactics. I had been expecting the speed difference, but the way in which people were conducting themselves round the circuit was a time infuriating… I personally ended up doing a bit of cyclocross after being forced off the road by people trying to move up too close… irritating, but there was more. Having successfully made it to the last lap, things went mental… like, properly mental. People trying hard to get up towards the front to be able to compete for the finish, people going backwards and all over the place trying to and not being successful in sticking the pace…

The corners on the circuit were as wide as you could ever ask for, but people were still braking for them (silly people who don’t understand just how much grip they have on their tyres on a smooth surface, no gravel or anything) and for the 3rd to last corner there was a ridiculous decrease in speed by the rider two in front of me, which I hadn’t been expecting. This decrease rippled back through, and when someone in front brakes, the person behind brakes harder etc. etc. this meant that I got way too close to the rider in front, forced to go to one side of his rear wheel… He then moved in the same direction as I had to avoid the rider in front, so our wheels touched and forced my front wheel out further than I’d liked… Unfortunately this caused me to completely lose control and as a result I ended up crashing, landing on my face first followed by the rest of me. Brought down about 4 other people, only 1 of which was able to continue… One, Ben Hall of Bristol Road Club, stayed with me to make sure I was ok, another had to walk back with his S-Works Venge in 2 pieces and the final one trying to continue but ending up stopping and collapsing onto the side of the track in shock with a suspected broken collarbone (recover quick and strong, sorry mate)…

Result of the crash? Few grazes here and there, knees, right hip, hands, left shoulder, sprained left thumb, and a nice adornment for my chin and lip… I’m a very lucky guy! The blood on my sleeve is from my first ever nose bleed…

As for my bike, literally just had to straighten the right hand lever up and it’s grand. Only needs some new bar tape and I’ll be right as rain again! Well, I hope… student budget and all that!

Gone on for long enough, looking forward now to recovering properly from this, healing fast and getting back up to speed again before the big months of April and May come flying around!

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