The race followed a course from Yeovilton via Ilchester, Yeovil, Marston Magna and back to Yeovilton, a distance of 15 miles. There were three laps for the riders to complete, and the first two and a half laps saw the field stay together. On the third and final time that the bunch headed up Coppitts Hill into Yeovil, the pace suddenly increased as there was a £50 prime incentive for the first rider over the top of the hill. The extra speed split the field, with Charles working his way up through the fragmented bunch being left behind by the faster climbers. Charles managed to rejoin the reduced field of 25 or so from 80 on the Yeovil section of the course and helped to drive the pace on the Mudford hill decent. On the run down to Queen Camel three riders escaped with Jerry Rayner (Somer Valley CC) put in some hard work on Charles’ behalf to eventually close the gap. The 25 strong group maintained their lead over everyone else. With one kilometre left to go Charles put in a big sprint to get away and then did a flat-out time trial to the finish line to take the win.
Charles was ably assisted by Chris Mullett, who was handing out drink bottles for Charles at the feed station and took these photos –
There were also wins for GDW members at the first round of the Southern XC Mountain Bike Championships, held on a new venue at Tadley in Hampshire. Paul Hopkins, riding for his new MTB team Merida UK, won the Veteran race. Paul is targetting the Vets category in the National series this season and has already scored a second place finish at the first round in March held near Mansfield. Emma Bradley (riding for Team Torq Performance) also won her Masters race at Tadley, following up her win in the same category at the first round of the Nationals. Andy Parsons (Offcamber) finished in 22nd place in the Vet race that Paul won, with Nigel Brown just behind in 25th, while Tom Brown finished 17th in the Youth race.
On the time trialling scene, the EDCA series continued on a hilly 24 mile course that runs from Wimborne through Horton, Pimperne, Blandford, Badbury Rings and back to Wimborne. Despite the wind being in the wrong direction for a lot of the course, Vince Hounsome finished well in 12th with 1.00.53, James Chant was 18th on 1.04.32 and Don Tanner, starting to get back into competition after recent illness, was 28th finishing in 1.08.51. Paul Jones was the overall winner riding for Bournemouth Jubilee Wheelers with a time of 53.53.