I hope I'm not abusing this thread by suggesting a ride for next weekend rather than reporting a ride that's already been done.
The Victor Berlemont Trophy Road Race (25th August 2019)
The Victor Berlemont Trophy must be one of the very best events in the calendar from the spectators' viewpoint. It's over 100 miles in distance, with some very hard climbing,it's set in attractive countryside with easy reach of London. If you're really keen ( perhaps brave ?) and turn up with a licence, it's quite possible you could enter on the line - there were a few dns's last year!
In spite of the ever increasing difficulties of road race organisation, the Victor Berlemont Trophy race, a classic southern event, has survived for a 2019 edition. This is the result of much hard work by promoter Patrick Kavanagh and the enthusiasm of the race’s mentor Doug Collins.
This year’s race is on the shorter Woodcote course due to gas mains work in Goring, but the circuit to be used this Sunday is the same as that used for the Central Region Road Race Championship which was widely accepted as a worthy course for a championship. Although entries were initially slow to arrive, the final tally was 130 would be entrants for the 80 places available.
This shorter version turns left off the B4009 at South Stoke onto the Woodcote Road, to climb the picturesquely named Catsbrain Hill. An extra lap has been added to retain the original distance.
Organiser Patrick Kavanagh said: “Although we would have preferred to use the longer course this shorter variation is an equally good challenge and at the same distance will provide a hard race for a full field of excellent quality E/1/2 riders”
Some details of riders to watch out for on Sunday.
Charlie Quarterman – Zappi Racing Team
Local rider Charlie Quarterman is the Central Region road race champion and U23 TT champion, his performance in stage 7 of the U23 Giro d’Italia this year turned many heads when he rode alone from the peloton to a strong breakaway and held off a chasing bunch. Charlie is tipped to move to a professional team on the continent in 2020 but for now he is targeting the Victor Berlemont Trophy.
Spirit – Tifosi Racing Team send their top six riders on Sunday with a clear aim to win, last year’s combativity winner Jordan Peacock returns and the team is led by Rupert Graham who starts as number 1 who finished second last year after torrential all day rain. Team owner and manager Russel Rowles has supported the race for many years and has made it clear he always comes to the race with a plan to win, but this year his focus is sharper.
Former winner Ashley Cox – Flamme Rouge Cycling Team is sure to be in the mix as his local knowledge and legendary nose for a breakaway is sure to see him at the front on the short Woodcote course this year.
Cycling Sheffield Giant send three riders this year but team manager Dave Coulson sends his top riders who are all elites, Joseph Clarke, Louis Szymanski and Kieran Savage who is current Yorkshire regional road race champion. All three of these riders could be capable of winning and can play the tactical race plan that team manager Dave will be sure to have ready.
James Boyman - Hoops Velo comes to this year’s race with high confidence after a recent strong performance to take second at the Didcot Phoenix “Rising Phoenix” national B road race. This year has seen James in the top 20 of 8 national B road races with a second place at the Les Ingman Memorial Road Race and fourth in the South East Men's Regional Road Championships.
Joe Laverick – Madison Genesis is the rider many are coming to see, he is the youngest rider in the team and has many fans across the sport. A strong time triallist who represented GB in Innsbruck last year his first year at U23 has shown great promise and will want to show his ability over 108 miles in a strong field.
This event should be rewarding for spectators as well as for the competitors and it is set in excellent cycling country, within easy reach of a day’s ride from London. We hope to see some of you on the day!
Start: Woodcote Village Hall, 11 am, finish about 3 -3. 15 pm.