Forget the Eurogoals, Wimbledon and the Olympics - the real and only action is taking place every Thursday at the St Neots Cycling Club TT!
With 8 of the 18 TT’s gone so far this is a good time to review the runners and riders, check on who is pushing the pedal hard and those who are quietly building the points, waiting to make a timed run to the finish. Will it be a new member to lift the trophy or will the seasoned pros begin to put pressure on in the second half of the season?
There have been 35 riders so far this year, with 28 club members taking part, as you will see from the results sheet. There are still plenty of TTs left to be a contender if you want to get involved. Guest riders are not included in the Handicap results, only club members.
Looking at the table it is difficult to predict who will take the winner’s trophy for the highest number of points in the TT Handicap for 2012. With 10 events left there are plenty of points up for grabs and we know from the “chat” on a Thursday evening that the competitive juices are now in play. So will it come down to a bunch sprint or will someone make a sustained break to take the title? At the moment the bunch sprint looks favourite and, as we saw last Thursday, with a number of PBs, the placings can quickly change.
The lead has been shared by Steve Pleasance, Wayne Tunnah, David Lindsay and Jonathan Pang over the past few weeks. Steve Muchmore has broken into the top 4 with a PB last Thursday, which gave him the fastest handicap time of the night and a valuable 17 points, to take him within 3 points of the leaders. They have the points in the bag, but need to maintain momentum for the next 10 weeks to remain in contention. Dropping out of the top 4 for the first time this season was Wayne Tunnah who dropped from 4th to 9th as he did not compete on the 14th June and having set a superb PB of 29.29 on 17th May he has set the bar high for himself to get back into the points. Don’t think it will be long until he is back challenging the top place again and a few more sub 30’s and the trophy could be in his grasp.
Superb effort by Jane Stapleton who has taken 2.5 minutes out of her opening time on 26th April and is accumulating an average of 12 points per event. Her new bike (in the St Neots colours) is clearly paying dividends. Also respect for someone who lives in London and gets the train here to compete and then gets the train back to London after the TT. Will we have our first lady winner since 1997 in this event ?
Who would bet against Richard Hancock making a challenge when (and if) the good weather returns and he is taking further seconds of his already impressive times. Steadily picking up the points each week and with 51 secured to date will surely be in contention at the end of the season.
Mark Colmer took 2 minutes of his opening time on 24th May and took 14 points that night to leave him poised to make a move. Remember that this PB was on his old bike and will the “Bianchi Kid “( see Club Run Report for 10th June) now start to post improved times to move him up the leader board?
Alistair Henderson has been picking up some useful points in the past 3 TTs to move him onto 50 points and now needs to maintain that momentum to improve his placing.
Ashley Cooper is ready to make a move if any of those above him falter. He has taken almost 3 minutes from his opening time and has lost some ground in missing 2 TTs but could easily come back into contention.
Chris Preston with only 2 eligible rides so far chose the right night to take 1.5 minutes off his opening time and secure 15 points on 31st May and then followed this with a PB on 14th June to take another 16 points. So far an average of 15.5 points per event. Only downside for Chris is that he works shifts and cannot always make the TT. Many in the field are grateful for this because if he keeps improving like this the trophy will have his name on it.
Steve Rodley has improved week on week and is close to going sub 30 minutes. He is another potential “dark horse” with 35 points after only 3 eligible rides.
With approximately 45% of the season gone there are still plenty of points to be won and with an average attendance of 16 a decent result on the night can quickly move you up the leader board (that is, more people, more points).
Biding his time is Adrian Taverna (last year’s winner) who has quietly been building the points and delivered a superb PB last Thursday to go sub 30 minutes for the first time with a 29.51. Expect a late run and his name on the trophy for successive years.
Steve Blows continues to register some impressive times, but is paying the price for a best time of 30.11 from 2011 and he is not able (yet) to convert these times into significant points.
Going back to the leader board only 4 points separate the first 4. Jonathan Pang is having a great season going from an opening 32.45 to a best of 30.54 which has kept him just 3 .5 points behind David Lindsay after 8 events. Jonathan was top of the leader board on 7th June however has lost some ground over the past two weeks which he will, no doubt, be keen to rectify.
Steve Pleasance in his first year as a club member took over 3 minutes off his opening time of 35.49 to deliver a 32.42 on 24th May to move him, at the time, to the top of the leader board. He had a couple of lean weeks when he only picked up only 3 points but back on form last Thursday with 8 points to take him to 4th in the placings.
Watch out for a sustained charge from our current leader, David Lindsay, who has now purchased a TT bike to help improve his assault on the title. However it's interesting that David has chosen to draw a line about wearing a skinsuit, claiming that “his bum would look too big in one”. Such diffidence could cost him the trophy. Excellent PB last Thursday of 29.47 to take him to the top of the leader board.
So only 10 events are left before the 2012 Handicap Competition Champion is known. “It could be you”.
Finally one club member keen to improve their TT times thought that they would add “ Aero Bars “ to the bike but did not quite understand what they were and ended up with the following ...