Development Rider update from George Skinner

Created by Marcus Brueton at 2017-06-02 17:06:38

George Skinner – Results round up May 2017

I started the season as a Cat 3

• 1 Apr 2017 Somerset Road Club Spring Cup – 9th

As the first race of the season it was an opportunity to get out there and see if the long winter training had brought any tangible benefits. The Westpoint circuit is in Exeter, and is essentially a 5m wide triangle with fast sweeping bends and a finish line at the high point of the circuit. The race was a twitchy affair, with the riders nervous from the winter layoff, there was little in the way of attacks until the final few laps where a small group managed to detach themselves using the corners to create the gap. The race ended with a bunch sprint that saw me come through in 9th overall, my first Cat 3 points.

• 11 Apr 2017 Westpoint Races 1 – 1st

Different tactics at the second race at Westpoint. The race started as usual with the bunch riding at a steady pace, there was the usual early attack that appeared to be doomed to failure, as the bunch caught the lone rider there was a further attack, and the rider went off the front and quickly pulled out a 20 second lead. The peloton was disorganised, and only a few were trying to reel in the leader. I worked my way to the front and did a turn, but no one came through, looking back there was little desire to chase down the leader, so I attacked hard off the front out of a corner. 2 laps later I caught the leader, and we were 20s ahead. Working well together we pulled out a lead of 40 seconds, which we held from a hard driving pack until the end. We chose to keep the teamwork going until the final lap, where my breakaway partner attacked on the hill, I tucked in behind and took the leadout, sprinting away to my first race win.

• 15 Apr 2017 Portsmouth Easter Circuits – 10th

My first trip to the Mountbatten circuit in Portsmouth, essentially an outdoor velodrome, with the start finish straight flattened out. There was a nasty accident in the previous race, leading to a delay in the start time, and a large bunch sprint was the result. I was caught out high on the banking in the last lap, and cruised through to take 10th.

• 23 Apr 2017 Les Ingman Memorial Road Race – 41st

The Norwood Paragon development team came together for the first time at the Paragon organised Les Ingman memorial road race, a Band 2 event, with National level points at stake. Another race of firsts, first time at this level, and racing with E/1/2s for the first time too. The circuit was challenging, lots of potholes, lots of riders, a fast race too. I dropped out the back of the group, and was picked up by the service van, that paced me back to the group getting back in with 2 laps to go. On the last lap, at the top of the big climb the pressure was really telling, the group splintering as attacks went in. I managed to stay with the lead group through the descent, and to the bottom of the last climb, narrowly avoiding a small coming together. Halfway up the final climb I cramped dropping me down to 41st at the line. I’d like to thank the marshals and the supporters that made this great fun.

• 25 Apr 2017 Hargroves Cycles Southdown Velo Goodwood Series #1 – 6th

• 2 May 2017 Hargroves Cycles Southdown Velo Goodwood Series #2 – 5th

• 4 May 2017 Castle Combe Summer Series Round 1 – 1st

Castle Combe was cloudy and windy for this Thursday night race. A large group of Cat3/4 racers set off for an hours race around the motor racing circuit. The speed was high, with few attacks until about ¾ of the way through the race where a viable group of 12 went off the front. While they were about 10 seconds out, the E/1/2 race came through, and the breakaway were adjudged to have dropped in behind the faster race too quickly, and so were neutralised by the commissars. This set us up for a bunch sprint on the final lap. I worked to get to the front, and leaving the final corner I attacked up the hill as everyone else hesitated for the sprint. I kept my head down for the minute up to the top of the hill. Winning by a bike length from a charging pack. My second win of the season.

• 9 May 2017 Behind The Bikeshed Racing - Thruxton Series Round 2 – 15th

In this one, there was a breakaway on the last lap, and it was left to me to chase it down, as soon as the connection was made the group sat up, but didn’t come through, and so I was on the front for the final climb. Others took the lead out and came through on the sprint. Lesson learned.

• 11 May 2017 Castle Combe Summer Series Round 2 – 1st

My second race at Castle Combe and my third win of the season. A group of 5 of us attacked at the top of the hill with 25 minutes to go. Within 5 minutes the group had been whittled down to just two of us. We worked well together and opened up a gap of about 30 seconds of a pack of 70 riders. I set a new 20 minute power personal best and took the win attacking the other racer as he swung off from his final turn. This also got me enough points for my 2nd Cat license, a season goal of mine

• 20 May 2017 Tour of the Milburys – 20th

A 2/3 road race and TT.

Starting with a 6k TT, uphill all the way to the finish. My first TT, and not sure how to tackle it, especially with the 110k road race to follow. I finished with something spare in the tank, placing in the top 3rd of the rankings, but with a nagging feeling that I could do better.

The road race that followed 3 hours later was utter carnage. The Commissars had driven the course, and seen that rain overnight had washed debris into the road and so opted to neutralise the main descent on the course for each of the 7 laps. The race began at a frantic pace, and on lap 2 there was a heavy downpour leading to many of the 90 riders dropping out. There was the usual seesawing of people going off the front and being caught by the bunch until the penultimate lap, where attacks on the final climb strung out the field. Knowing that there was a sizable group out in front, that turned out to be only 13 riders, my group cruised in as the second bunch. This was a really hard undulating course that was raced at high speed. Toughest one yet. – incidentally, they are white socks…and yes that is Austyn with the bell.

• 23 May 2017 Hargroves Cycles Southdown Velo Goodwood Series #2 – DNF

My first proper E/1/2 race of this type. A rear spoke snapped on the third lap of 12 leaving a long walk back to the pits.

• 30 May 2017 Hargroves Cycles Southdown Velo Goodwood Series #2 – 14th

My second E/1/2 race, far better than the first. It was a fast race averaging over 45kph (28mph) for the hour. It ended in a bunch sprint in which I finished 14th. I was happy with this as I know what I could have done better to put myself into the points (be further up coming out of the chicane). It was good to be racing well at this higher level.

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