“As soon as the race started all my worries about tiredness and anything else were forgotten. I didn’t get the best of starts losing a couple of places off the line but this meant I had to relax early on in the wheels work out who was going well and whether or not I needed to shut down any early gaps.
“I think those first couple of minutes where I was riding about 4th or 5th wheel and when I was just able to watch all my main rivals really helped ease me into the race after a hard day before and also let me work out who was going to be a threat.
“The race stayed together generally around the first lap until we got back around to the start straight where I put in an effort to get away coming onto the tarmac, then as I was settling back down after getting 5 metres on Jack I took a quick look back to see he was coming back up to me but that he also looked like he was in a lot of pain. I thought it was now or never to dig in and get a gap and in the process ‘snap the elastic’ between us. So I dug deep, got out the saddle for the second half of the steady climb up through the start and I steadily pulled away until I had about 5 seconds at the end of the start hill.
The gap kept growing over the next half lap, but Thomas Craig, a fellow ODP rider, started to work his way back up to me and he got across to my back wheel by the finishing straight on the second lap which I thought was going to be the last time I was going to see the front of the race.
After descending the steep slippery famous Bradford bank there was a small rise into a flat section of grass leading onto a small tarmac climb. I knew I was fast here as I could carry speed up the climb and then maintain it across the flat sections and I would still have enough speed to make it through the only really muddy patch on the course.
“I follow Tom into the slight rise and as he pulled over the left to get the smoothest line I just stamped on the pedals and the bike just shot up the hill. This was partly due to the super lightweight of the Raleigh RX Team frame and also of the low rotational weight of the Cole T38 lite wheels they never once ‘bogged down’ even in the muddiest sections of the course.
“By the time I was at the top of the slight hill I had a gap of a couple of seconds so I kept squeezing trying to get as much as I could. I made it onto the tarmac section and squeezed on again only looking back when I reached the top of the slight climb, when I did look back I saw Tom off his bike putting his chain back on. This meant my gap was extending quickly and I settled down into a rhythm of driving the flat sections, squeezing up the climbs and staying upright on the decent.
“There were 3 laps to go next time I crossed the finish line and my gap was slowly getting bigger but I knew it was still small enough that if I crashed or had a mechanical Tom would be right back up with me so had to ride within my ability and make sure I was regularly changing bike so there was never too much mud on the components which could lead to them breaking. I kept at this pace for the next few laps and only after the very final run up, where at the top you turn right and can see the finish line 200 metres in the distance, did I start thinking I had got it – finally a win at Bradford, the toughest course in the UK.
“It wasn’t an easy win and Tom surprised me a bit with just how fast he was, but I had the right Raleigh bikes, Cole wheels and Schwalbe tubs for the conditions on that day and it all just seemed to fall in place for me to take my second National Trophy win. This is promising for the National Champs in about a month’s time as I have shown myself and my rivals I can win on a pretty flat and dry course, Durham, and also a steep and muddy one too, Bradford.”
“I would like to once again thank Raleigh for their support as I would never have been able to achieve what I have this season, and the best thing is it isn’t over yet. Leading up the National Champs I am going to train harder now as I can’t take it easy because there are a lot of people dreaming of success in Derby so it’s not going to be an easy race, but I have high hopes and am hoping to fulfil them in a month’s time.”