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With an unbeatable sprint James Taylor (City of Edinburgh) won the second Mid-Devon Cycling Club's Springtime Pursuit. He beat the overall joint winners of the 2001 series Greg Sandy (www.bikeshop.uk.com) and Adrian Sluman (Team Training FX) with the promoting club's Andrew Parker fourth and Graeme Lackford (www.bikeshop.uk.com) fifth.
The lead quintet were all from the scratch group and had fought the elements and a determined effort by the front runners to stay away. This week the final junction was made with only 2 miles left of the 28 mile race. The race had started with a freezing rain shower that kept the road wet throughout. The first two groups away had merged after less than 9 miles.
At the first prime, 10 miles, Jonathan Gillham, Team Training FX narrowly held off Alan Payne, Mid-Devon C.C. The increased speed of the sprint saw a group of five at the front alone. They were Payne, Gillham, Richard Holloway (Somerset Road Club), Chaz Curry (Exeter Wheelers C.C.) and Richard Edmond (Camel Valley). Payne took the second prime at 20 miles from Gillham.
Behind, all the other groups had merged and were being driven hard by the scratchmen. They still had a minute to make up and in the next 5 mile headwind section clawed back half of it. At the same time another hail and rainstorm lashed down, its ferocity increased by the fierce northwesterly gale.
As the main bunch approached the final turn near Sowton Andrew Parker and James Taylor jumped clear. On the next drag Greg Sandy and Adrian Sluman followed suit. As the front five passed the Jack in the Green pub for the last time Parker and Taylor made contact. In another 200 yards Sandy and Sluman were also at the front. It was all down to the half mile climb to the finish line. At the bottom the main bunch were less than 50 yards behind and closing fast. The front group was starting to split with the early leaders feeling the pressure most.
At the yellow flag marking the 200 yards to go point Parker made his final effort. The other four matched it. With 100 yards left Taylor responded in earnest and rode across the line 3 length clear. The other riders came across the line so spread out that the judges could easily place the "bunch" of 35. Eventually 53 0f the 67 starters finished frozen to the bone.
With the first riders in race No.1 not featuring in the points it is all to play for in next week's final race. It is 10 miles longer and finishes at the summit of the hill compared to this week's finish line halfway up.
1 James Taylor (6 mins) (City of Edinburgh) 1.14.35 2 Greg Sandy (6 mins) (www.bikeshop.uk.com) 3 Adrian Sluman (6 mins) (Team Training FX) 4 Andrew Parker (6 mins) (Mid-Devon Cycling Club) 5 Graeme Lackford (6 mins) (www.bikeshop.uk.com) 6 Keith Martin (6 mins) (Midridge C.R.T.) 7 Dave Bentley (6 mins) (Somerset Road Club) 8 Steve Lampier (6 mins) (Camel Valley C. & T.C.) 9 Nigel Polkinghorne (6 mins) (Team Training FX) 10 Jonathan Gilham (1 min) (Team Training FX)