EUROVETS: Reflections of Round 2
After the rain affected opening round of the 2014 Eurovets GP series at Horspath (Oxford) in late April, hopes were high that sunshine and agreeable weather conditions would be in place for round 2 at Coventry on Saturday 10th May.
All the Eurovets riders were eagerly awaiting racing at the super banked Hearsall Common circuit in Coventry, scene of the memorable 2013 British Open Final, which many of the vets had attended or who had seen the excellent coverage of the final on their TV screens.
Hopes were dashed on the weather front as continuous heavy showers in the preceding 48 hours in the Coventry area had rendered the track waterlogged, producing heavy conditions, which of course are not the ideal ones for the veteran competitors.
A rearranged British Junior & Youth League round was staged from early morning, prior to the Eurovets round 2. This was subject to persistent showers, which although not heavy in the most part, prevented the drying out of the Hearsall Common bowl.
However, what everyone in attendance feared actually materialised around 1pm. A massive 5 minute long downpour completely flooded the track, swamping the straights to half way out on either side.
Everyone clubbed in – juniors, officials, parents and vets – and after a sustained 15 minutes of remedial work, racing was underway again. This had the effect of presenting the vets with even heavier conditions as the Eurovets eventually got under way an hour behind schedule.
There was once again a very good turnout across the three categories. A surprise, but very welcome, debutant was Tim Grimes (from Hethersett), who acquitted himself very well.
Long distance competitors included friendly Geordies Jim Graham, Terry Kirkup and Jason Keith. Terry raced to his best Eurovets GP score to date. The trio left happy, staying at Birmingham overnight before heading to Bury on Sunday.
There was a new winner of the Over 60s final when Birmingham`s Bob Prince deservedly took the honours racing in his first TLI Cycling hosted event. Series Over 60s leader Mick Aris took second, with Fred Rothwell third.
There was keen competition in the Over 50s classification. A number of prominent riders missed out on a final appearance, including Steve Mullinder, the returning Paul Dyson and the aforementioned Prince and Kirkup.
Over 50s competition leader Paul Timms had reeled off five wins to ensure gate one in the final. He was in terrific form all afternoon and eventually won the final in fine style.
The busy Aris finished runners-up. There was a great battle between home man Joe McLaughlin, still hampered by various injuries, and Birmingham`s stylish Steve Hodgkinson, for third, which McLaughlin won after a fierce dive on his rival.
This result also echoed the overall Over 50s series leadership – Timms leading from a pressing Aris, and McLaughlin in close attention.
In the final placings in the Over 40s, Mark Winwood strode to an accomplished maximum to head the race for the final. He was joined Leicester Eurovets stalwart Norman Venson, Hellingley`s flying Martin Hollebon and Dave Frith from Coventry.
Winwood speeded to victory with Venson runners-up. There was a spectacular crash involving Hollebon and Frith, with the Sussex star remounting first to claim a podium finish.
Unfortunately, Eurovets regulars such as John Whiting, Mark Grifiths, Kevin Smith, Chic Mackie and Phil Hemming were missing, some due to illness. The Eurovets group hope to see them all back featuring in later rounds soon.
Another absentee was Wednesfield comeback man Kevin Marson, who had performed very well in the opening round at Horspath two weeks previously. Kevin`s absent was un-explained but it is hoped he returns to the series soon.
The Swindon trio of Jim Collyer, Paul Matthews and Martin Glover, who made their Eurovets debuts at Horspath, were again very welcome and friendly additions to the series. Ben Mould`s father, Dave, also featured at Coventry and seemed more competitive than at Oxford.
The next round of the Eurovets GP series is at Poole, Dorset, this Saturday (31st May), commencing at 1pm. Poole is a new venue for the Eurovets GP and all the riders are keenly looking forward to racing at one of the sport’s most foremost venues.
Riders can register on the day at Poole for a £4 `day licence` or take out a really cost effective TLI Cycling years membership at an affordable £10. There are no rider levy fees applicable at TLI Cycling promoted events. For more information, please go to: www.tlicycling.org.uk