Tuesday, 30 March 2010
Sunday was a big day for women's racing in the London/SE region. The London Women's Cycle Racing league finally got underway with the first round being held at the Goodwood Motor Circuit. OK, not quite London but we wanted the first round to be a race that would encourage new riders. The Surrey League Cat3W/Cat4W races seemed the best option, but due to them being unable to secure the traditional test-track venue at MOD Chertsey, we had to go with Goodwood. To be honest the historic motor racing circuit is a great place to race around, even if it is over 60 miles from London!
Lots of women were gathered at the sign-on desk, which is always a good omen. I just hadn't quite expected so many women on the start line. Thirty-eight women lined up rearing to race at 9.30am on Sunday morning.
I was amazed - it wasn't just the number of women, but also the fact that a) the women were mainly from London so would have woken up at stupid o'clock to get there b) we'd already lost an hour's sleep due to British Summer Time starting c) there was another women's race taking place some miles away at Thruxton motor circuit on the same day.
Racing got underway after one neutralised lap of the 2.4mile circuit. It all happened in earnest with girls trying to breakaway, but with not much success due to the windy conditions. There were various tactics going on among the girls from the different clubs.
While the women at the back end were chaperoned and made to feel comfortable by the roving marshalls, those at the front raced as aggressively as you will get in an all category race.
The race was won by Pearsons rider and former olympic rower, Elise Laverick-Sherwell, as she managed to edge out the highly experienced Hannah Reynolds of Team MuleBar Girls.
Speaking to all the other girls they had really enjoyed the racing and look forward to more racing.
I was really pleased that the event had gone well and the sun even came out for the race - which is always a bonus.
This was a really good day for women's cycling, and it just goes to show that with a little application it is possible to get a good turn-out for a local race. This was the first of twelve rounds of the London women's league, and was a great launch pad for the subsequent rounds. Next rendez-vous is at Hog Hill on 10th April.
photos by Gavin Percy gavpercy.co.uk