It was an early start for Mark Newton (2nd claim)and Dave Twin to travel some way down the A3 to ride this course. Around the Hindhead tunnel the first signs of rain appeared on the windscreen, thankfully the mood was lifted by a whole batch of supercars going past. By the time the guys started warming up the conditions were starting to improve. On the course the damp roads did make it a sketchy through the first roundabout. Generally it was a headwind on the way out and tailwind on the return leg back past the start. The breeze drying the roads quite quickly. Dave finished with a 1.02.03 (53rd), being passed by Mark in the process for 4 minutes. Mark recorded a 56.05 (23rd) and another 2nd claim member David Rumm produced a 54.35 (16th). The overall winner was James Rix, Team Bottrill/Vanguard in 48.42.
Although a few degrees colder down near the coast than at home, you sensed it was going to be a good day as the hot air balloons where already taking off from Leeds Castle on the way down. With the clear skies it didn’t take too long for the temperatures to start to rise. With the light winds there were a lot of good times and some personal bests. There were 5 people down as Sydenham members, the fastest of whom was Ben Wimpory in 1.51.10 (5th), who rode in 2nd claim colours as it was an association event. 2nd fastest was Richard Birtwhistle who seems to struggle getting under the 2 hour barrier on this course with 2.00.02 (18th), however he did pick up the Novis Cup as fastest 1st claim member. Robert Royston turned in a 2.08.53 (34th) and Dave Twin a 2.11.12 (40th). 2nd claim member Doug Bentall started a minute after Dave and caught him about 5 miles into the event. A ding dong battle then commenced, although Dave finished ahead Doug finished in a PB time of 2.10.22 (38th). Jon Couson riding his first 50 decided he was going to slow at the end of the first lap and headed back to the hall. The overall event winner was Chris Fennell, The Independent Pedaler in 1.41.22 setting both a course record and Kent record.
There were concerns when people arrived due to the misty/foggy conditions. Although it didn’t lift completely the event took place. The car was only showing 7 degrees as I set off for the start and it didn’t seem get much warmer for the whole event. The sun didn’t appear until the drive home back up the M20. The event only had 45 people on the start sheet but due to the conditions there were only 33 starters. Dave Twin’s time was 1.05.29 (21st), but was beaten by just 13 minutes by Nic Fennell, Thanet RC in 52.29.
This appears to have become the season opening event of choice for the Sydenham and usually gets a good take up of club members even though not everybody rides on the day. This year was no exception, with 6 riders down on the start sheet. However on the day Pete Mahoney and Richard Birtwhistle were nonstarters. The conditions were relatively mild and the forecasted rain held off. The actual course did have a number of rather nasty potholes to avoid probably in part a result of the previous week’s bad weather. The times of this year’s starters were Robert Royston 1.18.59 (27th), Tony Day 1.19.59 (31st), Kevin Beament 1.21.27 (33rd) and David Twin 1.24.48 (39th). The overall event was won by Liam Maybank of Twickenham CC in 1.04.19