British National 25-mile TT Championship
The mighty Hayles
TEAM Brite claimed five of the top seven places as Rob Hayles led the squad to a championship and competition record in the RTTC national 25mile title race at Ranby, north Nottinghamshire, on Sunday. Less than a month after his win in the 10-mile championship, Hayles clocked a personal best 49-01 to beat team-mate Chris Newton by 44 seconds. Defending champion Stuart Dangerfield (Fastrack RT), squeezed out by two seconds, at least had the consolation of preventing a Team Brite clean sweep of the medals. Brite riders Matt Illingworth and Jonny Clay were placed fourth and fifth respectively with 50-03 and 50-16, and Sean Yates (Team Clean) completed the top six individual places ahead of Brite's Colin Sturgess.
Hayles missed Chris Boardman's 1993 championship record by 16 seconds but led Newton and Illingworth to championship and competition team figures, their aggregate of 2-28-49 taking 18 seconds off Manchester Wheelers' 1991 mark. No doubt benefiting from some hard miles in the Prutour, Newton, Illingworth, Clay and Sturgess all rode to personal best times.
Promoted by Rutland CC as part of its 90th anniversary celebrations, the championship was blessed with a bright, sunny day. However, the south-easterly wind which picked up during the event produced a hard start and finish on the rolling 025/10 course on the Al, to the south of the Doncaster bypass.
Potential medal winners were spread throughout the field, with Illingworth off at number five, Gethin Butler (Norwood Paragon) at seven, Sturgess off 15 and Geoff Platts (Coalville Wheelers) number 40.
Gary Dighton (Leo RC) - the season's fastest 25-miler before the championship with a 49-12 - was off number 60, while Clay was 100, Hayles an unseeded 103, Yates 110, Newton 115 and Dangerfield 120.
Illingworth's opening effort took him comfortably to the halfway check in 25-14, and a second half 24-39 put him in command with his 50-03.
Butler was well off Illingworth's pace with 52-42, but the former BBAR was happy with that after several weeks with little training following partner Gillian Chattell's recent accident.
It was Sturgess who posted the next 50-minute ride, his 50-46 making it a Brite one-two on the leader board. Former pro David Akam (Team Clean) was unable to shift the Brite pair, his 52-25 worth an eventual 13th spot.
Veteran Geoff Platts proved 11 seconds slower than Akam, having been 23 seconds ahead at 12.5 miles, while Dighton's 52-52 left him out of the running and a long way short of his season's best.
Reigning BBAR Kevin Dawson (Team Ambrosia) was left with a disappointing 55-32 after a 3-43 late start. Ian Gilkes went some way towards making up for team-mate Dawson's performance - a 26-07 first half saw him catch minute man Harry Walker (Guru) and drop him by a further six seconds, to finish with a personal best of 51-40 and take a temporary third place in the listings. Walker, meanwhile, failed to finish.
Dominic Sweeney (Rockingham Forest Wheelers) showed continuing form, his 51-49 giving him 10th place, as in the earlier '10' championship.
Clay had by now posted 25-33 at 12.5 miles, against Illingworth's 25-14 and Sturgess's 25-47. A second leg 24-43 gave him 50-16, and left the top three places in Brite hands, with Hayles and Newton still to finish.
Hayles's 24-53 at halfway put him 21 seconds clear of Illingworth and, as he stormed back past the headquarters, unofficial time checks put him around a minute faster than Illingworth.
Hayles's 49-01 went up on the board with Yates, Newton and Dangerfield still to come. Yates's 25-43 first-half time showed he would need a miracle to pull almost a minute back on Hayles. The loss of a further 42 seconds left 38-year-old Yates on 50-43, 47 seconds faster than the time he recorded in 1980 when he was champion at the age of 20!
Toughened by the Prutour, 1997 silver medallist Newton entered the frame. A 25-29 first leg put him in third behind Hayles
and Illingworth, while a return in 24-16 gave him a final 49-45 and put him up into second place, ahead of Illingworth, with Dangerfield still to finish.
Dangerfield reached the halfway timekeeper, just short of Five Lane Ends, in 25-22, seven seconds up on Newton, eight seconds down on Illingworth and 29 seconds down on Hayles.
From here the B CF time trial champion gave it his all, managing to take 24 seconds out of Illingworth. But his lead over Newton was to vanish on the run to the finish, as that sevensecond advantage was turned into a twosecond deficit.
The 23 non-starters in the championship included Ceri Pritchard, called on to compete in the Welsh road championships, and Bryan Steel, who was recovering from a heavy fall at Manchester Velodrome on Saturday.
1. Rob Hayles (Team Brite) . . . . . . . . 24 53 49 01
Team: Team Brite (Rob Hayles, Chris Newton, Matt Illingworth) 2-28-49
(competition & championship
What they said
Winner Rob Hayles sensed he was on to something good: "I was getting better each day in the Prutour, so I knew I would be on form for today," he announced after clinching the title.
"All this week we have been riding at Manchester Velodrome, training for the team pursuit, so that brought my speed up and also helped me recover after the stage race. I had good morale after winning the 10-mile championship, although today I didn't feel as though I was going so well as in the `10'.
"I have a couple of weeks off the road now, because we are riding two World Cup track events in Berlin and Heyres. I'll be back for the Isle of Man International, and we should be back to time trialling for the TTT championship."
Runner-up for the second successive year, Chris Newton was even more "chuffed" that his team-mate had won: "Rob came out of the Prutour strongest of us all," Newton said. "I've had the ideal preparation this year, although I came out of the Prutour feeling very tired.
"Today, the last few miles were the hardest, into the wind and uphill. But it was a good start for my Commonwealth Games bid - I'm after selection for both the time trial and the road race. I'm off to the Tour of
Sweden this week, and then come back to ride the Isle of Man mountain time trial." Defending champion Stuart Dangerfield felt he could hold his head up after finishing third. "Of the three Commonwealth Games selection events - the others are the Isle of Man mountain trial and the BCF time trial - I knew I would be most vulnerable in this one," he claimed.
"On this course it was going to be a matter of speed, so I did well enough to take the bronze medal. It was a tough morning. I was up on Chris Newton with a couple of miles to go and then blew up, but everything is going to plan and looking good for the Isle of Man - that's what my training programme is leading to."