Stockport Clarion's first race weekend of 2012 didn't go well for some!
It was a cold wet morning at Aintree Liverpool for the Eddie Soens RR on Saturday. A Handicap event with 4 groups taking the start at timed intervals. Group 1 was the 4ths/Ladies/Juniors, Group 2 was 3rds containing Duncan & Darren from Clarion, Group 3 the 2nd Cats, and finally Group 4 the 1st Cats & Pro's.
Group 4 this year contained 75 Pro's & 1st cats, with most of the Premier Calender Professional teams using it as a warm up for the year. Group 2 set a strong 26mph avg for the first 5 laps catching group 1 on lap 6. But with 75 Pros chasing it wasn't long before the big boys were on us.
The Pace Gets a Little Hotter
The pace went from 26mph to 28mph average as soon as the 250 strong field came together, the head wind sections were taken at 30mph on some laps with Endura, Rapha & Me (Darren) attacking at the front. The wind was strong and started to break the group up. With splits in the wheels developing, Duncan & Darren were working hard to close the gaps and stay in the running.
3 Laps to Go
With 3 laps to go the field was down to about 140 riders, it was at this stage a series of crashers accord. Darren was held up in the first, chasing back on with Rapha & metaltec riders at 35s! Then with just a lap to go, Darren was sitting 8 wheels behind Duncan, both in the top 60, when a rider came down in the fast 25mph corner, this coursed a massive pile up, with the field breaking into two groups, Darren 5 wheels behind the lad that had come down, Duncan 3 wheels in front meant a split for the Clarion riders too!!
Great Finish for Dunc
Darren chased again, but it was all over. Dunc managed to push his way forward as only Dunc can in a large bunch and by following some fast wheels he managed to push himself forward in the sprint to a fantastic 40th place! When you consider 75 of the starters were 1st's & Pro's Dunc's 40th place was a great ride!
Darren came in 1.25 off the main group with the same Rapha & Metaltec riders he chased back on with for 101st place, gutted by the crashes!! These were not the only crashes Darren would see this weekend.