Eighty riders tackled the Mendips hills on Sunday, click 25 July, ask when Somer Valley Cycling Club revived the Colin Carfield Memorial Road Race. The event was last run five years ago and this year’s race saw second, third and fourth category riders tackle one of the toughest races in southern England thanks to the four different climbs of Burrington Combe, 2 Trees at Blagdon followed by the Wellsway and finally finishing at the top of Smitham Hill.
Over a race distance of 60 miles, competitors would ascend 1367 metres as they circled the Mendips in ever decreasing circles, meaning that riders had a shorter rest between the climbs each lap. Starting from Priddy, the riders descended to Chew Valley lake and then tackled the undulating road to Blagdon before ascending the route’s first climb of Burrington Combe.
With the pace going into the climb already high, the bunch immediately lined out and the resulting pressure at the front, saw 12 riders break clear as they crested the summit led by Oliver Mott (Paramount CRT). This led the bunch to quickly start working together but the melee of small groups behind meant that an organised chase was slow to initiate.
This enabled the leaders to establish a lead of more than a minute before the second climb of the day up the brutally steep and long ’2 Trees’ hill in Blagdon.
Oliver Mott was once again first to the top of the climb justifying his prize of King of the Mountains. Whilst the climb was not decisive itself, the flatter road across the Mendips after the climb saw Tavis Walker (Inverse Racing) and Crispin Doyle (Swindon RC) break clear. With both riders sharing the workload, they managed to forge ahead and following the Wellsway climb, it became obvious that the winner would be from this leading duo.
It was the steep middle section of the final climb that Doyle started to struggle allowing Walker to break clear of his breakaway companion to earn the applause of a large crowd waiting at the finish line at the top of climb.