Silver Spoon Chase (Premier Calendar)

Newton's sweet victory
David Taylor reports for Snowdon Sports Editorial. Pictures by Phil O'Connor

Man-in-form Chris Newton notched up his fourth Premier Calendar win of the season in Chairman's Silver Spoon Chase in Nottinghamshire on Sunday.

THE Chris Newton bandwagon rolls on. One week after winning the Lincoln Grand Prix, the Teesside rider produced an action replay when he outsprinted national champion John Tanner to win the Chairman's Silver Spoon Chase over a 200-kilometre Nottinghamshire course on Sunday. Newton, riding without team support in his Middridge CRTDonohue Cycles club colours, again beat the combined strength of the Pro Vision-PowerBar squad, who placed three riders in the top six of this latest BCF Premier Calendar race.

Jon Clay (South Leeds Builders Merchants), who led the Premier rankings after his wins in the Lancaster Mercedes GP and Girvan Three-Day before Newton regained the upper hand at Lincoln, salvaged third place at the end of a long, hot race.

Tanner's Pro Vision team-mate Mark Lovatt, the other rider in a four-man break, came in just off the pace, with Julian Winn (GS Strada) leading in the chasers, 47 seconds down, ahead of Wayne Randle (Pro Vision). The four had escaped from a 12-strong group that emerged in the last 50 kilometres.

The Newark Castle CC promotion, backed by British Sugar and Newark and Sherwood District Council - with excellent support from Nottinghamshire Police - provided a day of action.

After the official send-off from Ollerton, the 80 starters tackled a 56-kilometre opening leg before the main circuit, which had to be covered 11 times, but a prime outside the British Sugar factory on the outskirts of Newark sparked the early action.

Ian Gilkes (GS Strada) took the prime ahead of Tim Buckle (Paul Moy Associates), Martin Lonie (Linda McCartney RT) and Andy Proffitt (Arctic 2000), these four clear of the pack where Tanner and Winn were moving to action stations.

Buckle was still clear as they reached the circuit, but now had Rob Hayles (Athletes 1), Rod Ellingworth (Team McEll) and Matt Ellis (Equilibrium RT) for company.

Gilkes again figured in a chase with Kevin Dawson (Pete Read Racing), Andy Lyons (unattached), Chris King (Amore e Vita) and Aaron McCaffrey (Heff's Bike Shop). With the race becoming a battle of attrition, the pack constantly splitting and regrouping, there were 14 riders clear at the 83-kilometre mark as the two front groups merged.

The bunch was at 1-10 as Newton, Danny Axford (Real Cost Car Imports), Jon Clay, Mark Kelly (Linda McCartney) and Julian Ramsbottom (Pete Read Racing) took up the chase. Next time through the finish the 14 had been pulled back, and once again it was Gilkes taking the prime.

Then, with 122 kilometres covered, the winning move started to develop as the dash for prime points again pulled the pack apart. Some 20 riders were clear including Gilkes, Newton, Tanner, Paul Manning (Alsager MRT), Huw Pritchard (Linda McCartney), Martin Ford (Arctic 2000), Ramsbottom, Winn, Axford and Lovatt.

Behind them, Clay was leading six others in pursuit followed by a fourstrong group of Kevin Dawson, Grant Bayton (Total Fitness), James Griffiths (Linda McCartney) and Will Wright (Prickett Atom Elite RT).

Jeff Wright (Prickett Atom Elite RT) and Ellingworth were also moving forward and clear of the main bunch that included Rob Hayles, but there was just a minute covering the whole field.

Manning cracks 'em up All four front groups came together, leaving a group of 33 in the lead. Manning was the first to try to break it up, and he was joined by Ellingworth, Randle, Ford, Clay, Pritchard, Tanner, Newton, Lyons, Winn, Lovatt and Lee Davis (Amore e Vita) with three laps to go.

Manning took the final prime, but Gilkes had already done enough to take the points competition. Winn attacked on the penultimate lap, Pritchard countered, and then Tanner, Newton and Lovatt jumped away.

Clay made a big effort to bridge the gap as they approached the bell, and the four worked hard over the final 13 kilometres to stay clear.

With 250 metres to go Lovatt wound up the sprint. Tanner moved to the front as Lovatt faded, but Newton was on Tanner's wheel ready to unleash his own, winning effort.

1. Chris Newton (Middridge CRT Donohue Cycles) 200km in 4-25-38
2. J. Tanner (Pro Vision- PowerBar)
3. J. Clay (SLBM) both st
4. M. Lovatt (Pro Vision) at 6sec
5. J. Winn (GS Strada) at 47sec
6. W. Randle (Pro Vision)
7. P. Manning (Alsager MRT)
8. R. Ellingworth (Team McEll)
9. L. Davis (Amore e Vita)
10. M. Ford (Arctic 2000) all st
11. H. Pritchard (Linda McCartney RT) at 48sec
12. A. Lyons (unatt) st
13. M. Jones (Robert Grinsell Travel) at 3-17
14. J. Wright (Prickett Atom Elite RT)
15. G. Shirley (Rutland CC) both st
16. R. Horner (VC St Raphael) at 3-23
17. H. Haynes (Prickett Atom Elite RT) at 3-50
18. J. Griffiths (Linda McCartney RT)
19. G. Bayton (Total Fitness) both st
20. D. Axford (Real Cost Car Imports) at 3 -56

BCF Premier Calendar overall

1. Chris Newton 204 pts
2. J. Clay 172
3. J. Tanner 148
4. J. Winn 129
5. M. Lovatt 124
6. H. Pritchard 123.

What they said

CHRIS Newton was stockpiling Premier Calendar points - he misses the next two events, having been offered a ride with the potential national pursuit squad in Holland's Olympia Tour.

"It was a hard race today," he said. "I was getting cramp at the end, and I think we were all tired because of the distance and heat,

"Everyone was working when the three of us got away in the last couple of laps, and then Jon Clay got up to us. wasn't too sure about winning because John Tanner had Lovatt to help him. I expected them both to attack, but they knew that Clay or me would chase them. It came down to a man-to-man fight."

Newton revealed that he has turned down an offer from a Portuguese professional team. "I'm banking on getting a place in the national pursuit squad for the Olympics," he said. "I've already done the qualifying times over one kilometre and three kilometres, so I think have a good chance of making the squad."

John Tanner also misses the next two Premier Calendar events to ride the FBD Milk Ras in Ireland.

Tanner was happier once the field had been split into smaller groups. "Early on, every time made a move they would chase me down, but nobody would work with me," he complained,

"I went with every move until we were down to just a dozen of us, then things got better."

Jon Clay finished where he expected. "Tanner and Newton were the driving forces in the break," he conceded.

"Third place was what I deserved. It was a hard race, but I found I could jump and close gaps OK. That must be because of all the track training I've been doing over the last few weeks."