Matt Barrett (Run and Ride Events) won the Spring Chicken Road Race in Buckinghamshire on Saturday, dodging the potholes around a challenging course.
The 36-year-old Leicester-based rider took the win after holding off his rivals in a group of five at the end of the 47-mile, four-lap race.
Although it didn’t rain the course was littered with potholes and still proved challenging with the road breaking up in several places, with the neutral service team expecting to be busy with punctures. And so it proved. A nervous bunch set off at the start, and although the pace was not high, they were soon strung out as riders kept their eyes on the road looking for hazards. Even by the end of the first circuit punctures were occurring.
On the second lap four riders got around ten seconds clear of the bunch – including eventual runner-up Gavin Atkins (Hemel Hempstead CC) – and although they were pulled back in shortly after, it served as a warning of things to come.
The third lap saw Atkins go it alone, and the strong 38-year-old from Berkhamsted powered his way to a lead of around 40 seconds over the bunch.
However, as the final lap approached a chase was mounted by a few riders, and after one lap out in front Atkins was reeled back in by a group of five with 15 minutes left. Now five-strong, Atkins held on to the back of the leaders and as they headed towards the finish he made another dash for glory.
But this time, Barrett rounded him to take the win, although Atkins took second spot ahead of Jason Lazard, the 42-year-old Twenty 3C rider from Milton Keynes.
Matt Barrett said:
"I led the chase group out to get Atkins and we caught him with about 15 minutes to go, he sat on to the back for a while but had another fig coming up to the finish and I just popped round the side. He’s a big guy and pretty powerful, and I was happy to let him do the work.
The course was very edgy early on, and a lot of care was needed on the roads. It was really greasy early on, but there were plenty of other hazards too. My mountain biking background really helped!"
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattbarrett6
Matt Barrett (Run & Ride Events)
Gavin Atkins (Hemel Hempstead CC)
Jason Lazard (Twenty 3C)
James Walker (High Wycombe CC)
Richard John (Spirit RC)
James Archibald (GS Henley)
Ian Baynes (Hemel Hempstead CC)
Thomas McLaren (East London Velo)
Sean Dines (Team Corley Cycles)
Jason Painton (Rides on Air)