When a plan comes together
James Graham sprinted to second with Gareth Thomas in third at the 3rd Cat race at Cutmill on Sunday 14th June, with the race being won by former 1st cat Geoff Lulham who cannily attacked from a late break just as the bunch made contact on the run-in to the finish hill. Unaware of the lone attacker already up the road, Gareth and then James managed to distance the bunch on the steepest part of the finish hill but were unable to reel in Lulham. Tom Whatley finished strongly in 9th having driven the late break to the foot of the climb, with Ed Francis just behind in 10th.
The race was marred by a number of incidents: the ‘Caution Cycles’ sign coming off the lead car and almost bringing down the bunch on the 40mph descent; then being brought to a standstill be a ‘sewage cleansing’ lorry inexplicably cruising through deepest darkest Surrey at walking pace on a Sunday morning; a crash that led to a 20 minute halt and the race being reduced to just under 40 miles.
A disconcerting sequence of events for everyone racing, but particularly so for Paceline’s Damien Breen who actually hit the fallen plastic sign from the lead car at speed but somehow managed to keep upright, was then shortly after brought down in the crash but thankfully emerged relatively unscathed, but who then rejoined the neutralised peloton only to discover an errant safety-pin in his tyre and a rapidly deflating rear wheel!
As planned, the team made the race as hard possible. Colin ‘From The Gun’ Gunn ensured the pace was high from the off. Hillclimbers Ed and James launched attacks on the steepest ramps prior to the neutralisation. James attacked again following the restart and was followed by Paul Moore, Sam Andrew and Thomas Whatley who forced breaks on the penultimate and final laps. Of 60 starters only 35 finished – with four Paceline riders in the top ten.
Having finished third at Cutmill Gareth would go on to take the win at the 3rds race at Dunsfold two weeks later: his second win on the course this year ensuring his return to Cat 2 racing after a season off following overall victory in the Surrey League in 2013.
Despite being a much less selective circuit the plan remained the same. Once again Colin Gunn was active in the first half of the race and eventually forced a break that might have stayed away had it not been for a determined chase from Team ASL360. After a brief lull Damien Breen then attacked out of the bell corner on the only hilly drag on the circuit to establish what was to be the decisive break.
Despite being heavily marked Gareth bridged across to Damien’s break and wiith teammates blocking in the bunch the gap eventually went up to one minute. Damien and Gareth then forced a further selection on the penultimate lap from which Gareth took the victory and Damien picked up fifth. James Graham took 3rd in the bunch sprint and 9th overall.
Two excellent races for Paceline RT. Those who picked up points did so off the back of the graft of teammates, with special mentions for Colin who made the pace in the first half of both races and was particularly unlucky that his own break at Dunsfold was chased down, and for Sam and Tom who were similarly unlucky to be brought back at Cutmill.