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Richards comes home in sixth as he makes early start to racing season

PUBLISHED: 10:21 01 March 2017 | UPDATED: 10:21 01 March 2017

Nick Esser at the Godric CC reliability ride.  Mark Richards (in VCB kit) and Liam Gentry are in the centre. Picture by Nick Esser.

Nick Esser at the Godric CC reliability ride. Mark Richards (in VCB kit) and Liam Gentry are in the centre. Picture by Nick Esser.

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Mark Richards of VC Baracchi took a trip with Harley Matthews of DAP CC to make an early start to his racing season in a 2/3/4 race on Saturday on the road cycle circuit at Redbridge Cycling Centre, known as Hog Hill.

The 1.5-hour race, run in a clockwise direction, was very quick. It worked out at 24 laps.

Richards said: “Each lap saw one or two riders shelled from the pack after the steep climbs to the finish line. A few attempts were made to break away by many riders. None were successful until 45 minutes in when Matthews and one other managed to break away.

“Unfortunately I was a wheel or two back and was unable to bridge the gap. Those two stayed away and the pack continue to work fairly well together until there was only a few laps left. At that point the pace picked up a little bit and a few more riders went off the back.

“I managed to hang on and was contemplating my worst finishing position within the group as it was so tough. But on the climb of the penultimate hill I positioned myself mid-pack and as the guys kicked I stayed in contact.”

Richards continued: “To my surprise I saw off a couple in the sprint to the line which put me in sixth in the end. Harley took second place in the break up the road.”

Nine VCB riders took part in the Godric CC 50-mile reliability rides on Sunday. In the three-hour group were Liam Gentry, Nick Esser, Mark Richards, James Moore, Charles Jones, Alex and Lucas He, Rory French and also from Lowestoft, Lee Cook.

They rode out and arrived at Broome in time despite a puncture just after setting out.

The fast group completed the ride in two hours and 10 minutes despite the headwind from Haddiscoe to the finish. They were five minutes ahead of the next small group, with others coming in singly or in small groups after that.

John Thompson, in the four-hour group, came inside 3.5 hours. He had company for most of the ride with three Godric members, including Paul Vergette and someone called Ian, aged 75, who in his younger day was a pretty accomplished racing man and was still going well.

Thompson said: “Realising I could get inside three-and-a-half hours I gave it everything I had for the last 100 yards!”

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