85 miles of the gruelling Penny Pot Circuit on the moors above Harrogate whittled down the elite/senior field of 60 riders to a select group of about ten in the closing laps.
Moses bided his time and watched attacks from others that included Tom Stewart (Sportscover) before launching his race winning move. He gambled everything on a final solo effort that saw him cover the last few miles from Norwood to the top of Bland Hill with Tom Stewart and Dean Downing (Madison Genesis) chasing. As he crossed the line the pain and relief was etched across his face, timing his effort to perfection and unable to pedal further he freewheeled towards the congratulations of his family and supporters.
The action had started on lap 2 with a break containing James Sampson, Jordan Hargreaves, Richard Hepworth, Jamie Burgan and Damian Kelly, with a gap of 38 seconds back to Stephen Guymer and Ashley Brown. The main field a further 30 seconds adrift was rolling along content to see what developed.
All hell broke loose on lap 3 when a large group from the main field decided it was time to shake things up and bridge to the leaders. Dean Downing, Alistair Kay, Tom Stewart, Ashley Proctor, John Tanner, Kit Gilham, Joe and Tom Moses and a couple more riders moved across to the leaders and the first selection had been made.
Tom Barras (Wheelbase Altura) was in no man’s land, he’d missed the break and was having difficulty attempting to bridge on his own. He later retreated to the 2nd group.
As the bell sounded for the final lap Doncaster rider Tom Stewart, who has been showing great form in the early season Premier Calendar races, put in a brave solo attack over Bland Hill. Stewart quickly opened up a gap of over 15 seconds, and as the chasers came into view it was Kit Gilham leading with Stewart’s Sportscover team mate Joe Moses policing the chase. Tucked in the wheels but staying vigilant was Tom Moses.
Tom Stewart was reeled back in on the long straight section of Penny Pot Lane. At the finish line the commissaires announced to the growing crowd there was a single breakaway rider leading up to the finish, with the spectators straining into the distance for a view it was decided a Team Raleigh rider was away. Sure enough Tom Moses appeared at the top of the climb to take his first Yorkshire Championships and put himself in the history books. Tom Stewart was clearly disappointed with 2nd but seasoned professional Dean Downing crossed the line with his trademark broad smile, obviously happy to get a medal.
Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee out on a training ride were part of the large crowd on the finishing line to watch the Yorkshire Championships, the Olympic and World champion tri-athletes are part of the Leeds chain-gang and are training buddies with a lot of the local riders.
1. Tom Moses – Raleigh
2. Tom Stewart – Sportscover
3. Dean Downing – Madison Genesis
4. David Shackleton – Wilson Wheels
5. Richard Hepworth – Node4 Giordana
6. Ashley Proctor – Bike Box Alan-Whiston Velo
7. John Tanner – Strategic Lions
8. Kit Gilham – Metaltek-Knights of Old
9. Ashley Brown – Sportscover
10. Joe Moses – Sportscover
Jessie Walker (Matrix Fitness) was the clear winner of the 36 mile Women’s race. Together with the best of the local women Walker had the ability to take advantage of sitting in the middle of the Vets and Juniors bunch.
It was always going to be a sprint up the final climb of Bland Hill that decided the women’s championship and Walker showed her pedigree by launching herself out of the large group of men at the bottom of the climb to win from Jessica Learmonth (BBM Revolution) and Leeds rider Gabby Shaw (Breast Cancer Care).
The Penny Pot course is a tough test, it has everything, fast dangerous twisting descents, short sharp climbs, long slightly uphill drags that stretch miles into the distance and usually comes with a block headwind to deter breakaways, then a final tough climb that you can see for about 3 miles before you get to it. There are no accidental winners on Penny Pot.
1. Jessie Walker – Matrix Fitness
2. Jessica Learmonth – BBM Revolution
3. Gabby Shaw – Breast Cancer Care
4. Penny Rowson – Breast Cancer Care
5. Brit Tate – GB Cycles
6. Annie Simpson – Hope Factory Racing
Connor Swift (Bike Box Alan/Whiston Wheelers) was a cut above the others in the Junior race. The South Yorkshire youngster was aggressive throughout, continually attacking and testing the ability of his race companions.
Connor Swift had broken clear with Vet rider Peter Fielding-Smith (Wilson Wheels), and Paul Dixon (VS Cycles) chasing. But on the final lap for the Juniors Swift was up against the might of the Sportscover team riders Jake Womersley and Oliver Wood. As they appeared on the final climb Swift had the measure of the Sportscovers and easily took the win.
1. Connor Swift – Bike Box Alan Whiston Velo
2. Jake Womersley – Sportscover
3. Oliver Wood – Sportscover
The vets event over 5 laps was a fiercely contested affair. The main group swelled by the Women and Juniors ensured most of the vets could stay nicely tucked away out of trouble.
The Juniors had dictated the pace and the Vets and Women were more than happy to let them get on with it. Peter Fielding-Smith (Wilsons Wheels) showed his early intentions by joining Connor Swift in his attack, but the Vets were more or less all back together as they came towards the finish. The final climb of Bland Hill didn’t suit the sprinters and it was Peter Fielding-Smith who powered climbed to a well-deserved victory from Sean Smith (Halifax Imps) and David Sowerby (Sowerby Brothers CRT).
1. Peter Fielding-Smith – Wilson Wheels
2. Sean Smith – Halifax Imps
3. David Sowerby – Sowerby Brothers CRT
The Yorkshire weather gods had been looking down on the Championships, the roads were dry and the wind calm. The prize presentation at Norwood Village Hall was even held in glorious sunshine.
On presenting the British Cycling medals organiser Paul Summers on behalf of Crosstrax Cycles thanked the participants for their hard and entertaining racing, the BC Yorkshire staff and army of helpers for officiating and the crowd for contributing to a superb day of road racing.