For the third and final round of the Dolan Series, the Inspire VCUK Racing Team had a full complement of riders returning to Southport: Daniel Gibson, Luke Cheetham, Lewis Hartley and Halley Woods.
They all brought along their racing bikes but they may have been better bring a wetsuit and canoe. It was that wet that the races were delayed and the course had to be swept to remove a deluge of water on the circuit, as seen below.
Whilst the racing was postponed, our riders took the opportunity to have some more breakfast at the Morrison’s Café – a good place to keep warm as well.
When they returned, the course was drying up with the brisk wind and their preparations continued with some stretching, pre-race hydration from Lovebeets and GoCoco and a coaching lesson from Alan Gornall, former national road champion, about effective cornering technique.
A single and relatively short race eventually got under way early in the afternoon.
The fifteen lap race set off at the usual frenetic pace with our riders choosing to ride towards the back of the field. Not a wise move!
On a tight course with lots of corners it is always difficult to move up in a fast race and our riders started to pay the price for their choices. Their race day coach, Jerrod Hartley, was doing his best to encourage the lads to move up but with such a short race and starting at the back, the lads were always going to find this tough.
In the final third of the race, Halley, Lewis and Luke had all made progress in getting nearer the front, which was encouraging. It was also great to see Luke looking a lot stronger after his cold at Round 2.
In the end, the team ended up with Halley in 8th, Luke 9th, Lewis 13th and Dan a little further back in 19th.
The best thing about the day, however, was not the results but other less tangible outcomes such as the fact that the riders left the race in good spirit having had a great day together and also having learned more about bike racing – corning and positioning in the bunch!
You can read the full results here – RESULTS