Morecambe Bay 2 Day – 18th 19th June

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Morecambe Bay 2 Day – 18th 19th June
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Words and pictures by Ian McVety:

 Stage 1 - Prologue

Set around Morecambe Bay, bounded by north Lancashire and south Cumbria, this weekend saw some closely marked racing in which the end result came to rest on the wise ol’ time keeper. It is worth doing all you can and doing your up most as you never know just when it might be needed.

The first stage was to be a prologue run in reverse on the Aughton circuit, over a 3km stretch of road that overlooks the awe inspiring Lune Valley where, when not in cloud Ingleborough sits majestically looking down the valley towards the tiny hamlet of Aughton. With a long steady incline in to a rising headwind and then finishing up a long climb with a nasty steep section at the bottom, it was interesting to note that all of the top three placed riders used lo-pro bars, the time being made on the first part of the course. Calum Nicholson - Team Wallis Cycles won in a time of 7’ 30” with James Gullen also Team Wallis Cycles 2nd and Craig Battersby - Team Bglobal in 3rd place


Stage One (3km TT):
1 Calum Nicholson (Team Wallis) 7:30
2 James Gullen (Team Wallis) 7:33
3 Craig Battersby (Team Bglobal) 7:33
4 Stephen Leigh (Team Bglobal) 7:45
5 Ian Taylor (Herbalife-Wheelbase) 7:48
6 Simon Wilson (Cycle Premier-Metaltek) 7:49


Stage 2 – Aughton Road Race

With the sun making an appearance and a marginal increase in the unseasonably mid June weather, the second stage over 50 miles of the Aughton circuit commenced.

An early break soon established with many of the favourites present including Craig Battersby – Team Bglobal, James Gullen – Team Wallis Cycles, Anthony Greenhalgh – Max GeaR RT, Jack Pullar –, Jamie Shirlaw and Stuart Reid – Team Herbalife Wheelbase and Simon Wilson – Cycle Premier Metaltek. A group of four riders also escaped the peloton: Milan Sihelsky – Kuota Spinergy, Ashley Finn – Cycle Premier Metaltek, James Burgan – and Jake Hales – Corley Cervelo.
As the race progressed then so the gaps grew. On lap 5 Shirlaw and Pullar attacked at the Redwell Inn gaining an advantage of around 25”. At the start of the bell lap Wilson clipped off the front, using the fast descent through Arkholme to chase and Reid followed. They managed to bridge across to the two leaders, but as they rounded the final turn to the finish they were caught by their previous breakaway companions. With a strong tail wind to his advantage, Pullar took and early sprint for the line, holding off Wilson and Reid for 2nd and 3rd respectively. With Gullen and Battersby coming in 6th and 7th place at the same time and Nicholson 1’24” down it meant the leaders jersey sponsored by passed to team mate James Gullen of Team Wallis Cycles for the evening criterium at Salt Ayre, Lancaster.


Stage Two (50-Mile Road Race):
1 Jack Pullar (Vanilla Bikes) 1:32:11
2 Simon Wilson (Cycle Premier-Metaltek)
3 Stuart Reid (Herbalife-Wheelbase)
4 Robert Ormrod (Manchester Wheelers)
5 Anthony Greenhalgh (Maxgear RT)
6 Craig Battersby (Team Bglobal) all @ same time

 Stage 3 – Salt Ayre Criterium

The evening race on a pan flat course along the side of the River Lune did not suffer in the slightest for the previous afternoons efforts. It was fast from the gun with attack after attack being fought until Ashley Finn – Cycle Premier Metaltek, Peter Murdock – Team Cyclane and Liam Armstrong – VC Briganti managed to escape. This lasted a short while, only again to be caught. More promising was the next effort of Battersby, Adam Norris –, Jamie Davison – Phian Carbon and James Thompson – and Armstrong again. Recognising the danger however from Battersby to the GC, Team Herbalife Wheelbase put Richard Bott and Sam Jackson to work and nullified the threat with the assistance of Nicholson and Wilson.

Once the break was neutralised Jackson himself attacked and was soon pursued by 4 others; James Burgan –, Murdock, Davison and Armstrong. It was only when Jack Pullar, who at the time was placed 5th on GC bridged across that Team Herbalife Wheelbase were forced to chase the break down, sacrificing Jackson’s chances.
In the end it came down to a bunch sprint. James Hales – Team Corley Cervelo had just enough time to raise a tentative hand in victory, but it took some time to finally establish that Adam Norris – had taken 2nd to Simon Wilson – Cycle Premier Metaltek. Once again Battersby and Gullen where inseparable, having both finished in the group at the same time.

Stage 3 Images


Stage Three (25-Mile Criterium):
1 Jake Hales (Team Corley Cycles) 1:14:10
2 Adam Norris (Vanilla Bikes)
3 Simon Wilson (Cycle Premier-Metaltek)
4 Stuart Reid (Herbalife-Wheelbase)
5 Anthony Greenhalgh (Maxgear RT)
6 Chris Sherrifs (Team Bglobal) all @ same time

Stage 4 – Bardsea Road Race

With a marginally better weather forecast for the final stage from Bardsea near Ulverston in Cumbria it was all to play for over a tough 84 mile hilly coastal route.

The day started off damp after overnight rain and with plenty of farming around the course it meant some slippery conditions in parts.

Jacob Tipper – Team Wallis Cycles and Martin Woffindin opened up the hostilities with an early attack. By the first time over Fell they had established a lead of 25” to a chasing group of Robert Crampton – Team Wallis Cycles, Jack Waller – Team Corley Cervelo, Adam Norris – Peter Murdock – Team Cyclane and Stephen Leigh – Bglobal.

By lap 2 the two early escapees had been caught by their pursuers and Ashley Finn – Cycle Premier Metaltek made a valiant effort to bridge across. The peloton was now at 1’20” and seemed relaxed with the state of affairs as by the third lap they had reeled the break to with 35” over Birkrigg Fell and by Scales Village they were caught.

In an ever changing race Milan Sihelsky – Kuota Spinergy, Murdock and Finn broke away from the main group and working together looked strong as they went through and off along the coast road towards Ulverston. Having soon gained a minute this was looking set to be the move of the race with all three riders looking committed. On the penultimate time up the main climb Pullar and Shirlaw made a break from the peloton and set off after them. Making the catch the long draggy climb out of Ulverston on to the fell it was Jamie Shirlaw – Team Herbalife Wheelbase who launched a long sprint beating the ever attacking Peter Murdock – Team Cyclane and Milan Sihelsky – Kuota Spinergy.
With Battersby and Gullen still inseparable it was the turn of the wise ol’ time keeper. Bob Muir of Lancaster CC has been time keeping for more years than he dares remember and it was he who suggested timing the prologue to 1/100”. James Gullen was 3/100”s pleased that Bob had done so.


Final overall:
1 James Gullen (Team Wallis CHH) 5:32:09
2 Craig Battersby (Team Bglobal) @ same time
3 Jack Pullar (Vanilla Bikes) @ 4sec
4 Jamie Shirlaw (Herbalife-Wheelbase) @ 7sec
5 Simon Wilson (Cycle Premier-Metaltek) @ 16sec
6 Jamie Kennedy (Glasgow Couriers) @ 19sec