Leicestershire Spring Classic Road Race
FORMER BBAR Kevin Dawson (Optimum Performance-Powerbar) demonstrated his prowess on the road with a fine win on Sunday when he took the Leicestershire Road Club Spring Classic road race at Packington, near Ashby de la Zouch.
Dawson finished nine seconds ahead of Chris Newton (North Wirral Velo) and Paul Curran (Optimum Performance) at the end of the 87-mile event, having been with the winning move from the start when 11 riders went clear of the 73-strong field.
Dawson later described the result as 'my best road race win'.
Among the scalps he took were those of Essex GP winner Julian Ramsbottom (North Wirral Velo), fourth, Martin Pitchford (Brough Wheelers), fifth, Mike Harrison (Congleton CC), sixth, and Wayne Randle (Optimum Performance).
The race winning move developed on the first of 11 laps of an eight-mile circuit that included a stretch through a farmyard. Two groups had escaped from the bunch soon after the chequered flag was dropped.
It was an impressive break containing Randle, Curran, Dawson, Newton, Ramsbottom, Pitchford, Harrison, Neil Martin (Dinnington RC), Scot Gamble (Ashfield RC), Bryan Steel (Team Chilwell) and second category rider Darren Perry (Chesterfield Coureurs).
There were still plenty of 'names' left in the bunch, but with Optimum and North Wirral marking and blocking for their respective riders in the break it was going to be no easy task to close a gap that increased from 1-02 to 1-20.
The pace was telling on the bunch. Eight had been dropped, and as they reached the top turn at Gallows Lane the big group split into three.
Turning into Ludlams Farm the break led by 1-34 from a bunch of 21 with another 25 at 1-56.
That 25 soon became 19, and with 32 miles covered the two groups joined up to form a 40-strong bunch. Then came another split with 13 riders forcing their way up the road.
While the break forged on, with all but Perry and Gamble sharing the work, the chasing groups reformed yet again, but by now the numbers were down to just 24.
With the gap up to 2-14, Harrison briefly lost his place with the leaders as he punctured at the end of the farm track.
The chasing group was down to 12 - Lovatt, Paul Esposti (Cwmcarn Paragon), Paul Wilkes (Dinnington RC), Spencer, Dave Williams (RT Italia), Simon Lillistone and Pete Longbottom (North Wirral), Richard Clough
(Stretford Wheelers), Steve Farrell (Tunstall Wheelers), Geoff Platts (Coalville Wheelers), Chris King
(CC Giro) and James Taylor (Beeston RC) - and the gap was 2-53 with 16 miles left.
The leaders lost second cat Perry as Dawson did a turn at the front, and at the bell the gap was 3-46.
As the finish approached, Randle started the ball rolling but was brought back by Newton. Through Packington, first Dawson had a go, then Curran and Randle, but Newton marked them every time.
Curran went again followed by Newton, then Dawson and the three were caught by Steel and Ramsbottom.
On the undulating road towards Swepstone, Curran attacked again with Newton and Dawson. Harrison tried to get to them but failed as the trio at last pulled clear.
On the climb at Swepstone the gap was 15 seconds, and back on the road after the farmyard stretch Dawson went, gaining 100 yards. Curran sat behind Newton, who was paying for all his efforts, as Dawson time trialled home to win.
Curran led out the sprint from 250 yards but could not match Newton, who gained a deserved second place.
'I felt alright for a change today,' Dawson said. 'I've been riding road races for most of the season but only getting places. I think I'm at last feeling the benefit of two weeks in Majorca.
'I'm concentrating on the road this season. I'll ride some of the time trial championships, but it's selection I'm after,' he said as national coach Doug Dailey approached to congratulate him on his performance.
1. Kevin Dawson (Optimum Performance-Powerbar) 87m in 3-17-08
2. C. Newton (North Wirral Velo) at 9sec
3. P. Curran (Optimum Performance) st
4. J. Ramsbottom (North Wirral Velo) at 46sec
5. M. Pitchtord (Brough Wh)
6. M. Harrison (Congleton Wh)
7. W. Randle (Optimum Performance)
8. S. Gamble (Ashfield CC)
9. N. Martin (Dinnington RC)
10. B. Steel (Team Chilmell) all st.