The Comet 25 (7 October 2018) – Dave McCarthy

As has been traditional during my tenure as organiser, well nearly always, Sundays historic Comet 25 tt played out in glorious sunshine which at first did little to warm the early starters (or the efficient LVCC team of volunteers).  By modern standards on this sporting course, the field was an enormous 98 solos, though sadly only the one tandem, which vet John Iszaat (Team Vision Racing-Silverhook) piloted to a personal record 55.46.
Prominent among the early starters was former winner Rich Price (London Phoenix) who defied the cold to post a startling 52.45.  Plenty of others went under the hour, with a couple of other riders from the first half doing 54s.  But with great anticipation, the home team awaited the ride of our {crack} road race champion David Veitch.  He was attempting a double which if achieved would be unlikely to be repeated soon, as the road race format changes to a women’s race for next year at least.
Dave certainly fulfilled expectations of a fast ride, but sadly couldn’t exceed them sufficiently to threaten the podium. To us mere mortals, his time of 54.53 was superhuman, in a strong field it was good enough for 7th, whats the world coming to??!!  In the end, the prize was fought out between the tipsters favourites, the holder, Colin Ward (Essex Roads) and Stuart Travis (Team Bottrill/Vanguard), with Ward having a clear margin in the end, finishing in 50.50, only a minute or so outside Alex’s course record time.
Isn’t it nice, though, to have a real contender in events like this, long may it last.  Some fine times were posted by the rest of our squad, with Tim Holmes, Tom Hewins and who I suppose we must  still refer to as the returning Adam Bishop all narrowly failing to crack the hour, and even more narrowly failing to dislodge the profs and swots of Cambridge University CC from 2nd place in the team event.  Jemma Taylor, Trevor Whittock, Neil Davies and Jon Mitchell all returned times which I think they can be well satisfied with, and formed an impressive range of participating members.  Apart from being a good thing in many other ways, it makes marshalling your own event more fun when you have club mates to cheer on.
Im pleased to say that the womens event had a healthy field, and made for good racing, with only a few minutes separating the top 5.  The luck of the draw had favourites and previous winners Julia Freeman (Easterley) and Ann Shuttleworth (VTTA) starting next to each other, luckily in the right order!  Julia again held on to win, with competitive times posted by Eva Nyirenda (…a3crg) juvenile Katie Elliston (Sarfend) and novice Abi Vyner (Rapha) and of course a splendid event opener by Jemma.
With Colin Ward so far ahead, Essex Roads only needed to have a couple of decent contending riders to take the team prize, which, helped by them all starting at the warmer end of the race, they duly did with something to spare in 2.49.16 for Colin, Graeme Garner and Barry Holderness.  But behind them it was close. Cambridge University’s John Mulvey and Jack Brown were seeded riders, but what nudged the students ahead of LVCC, despite David’s sterling effort, was an unexpected 1.02.03 from young Tom Bishop, giving them 2.56.32 against our 2.57.09. Next Year!
Our Tom’s fine time made him a contender for the handicap award, but unsurprisingly the remarkable 14 year old Alfie Salmon, who recorded 1.02.58, ran away with this one, as well as the Junior and Juvenile fastest time, an innovation for this year.
Thanks as always to the marshals, timekeepers, pushers off, hq assistants and general pointers of idiots in the right direction Mike, Frieda, Ian, Alan, Martin, Phil, Adam, El Pres (retd), Mark especially for I.T. assistance and a few who with the humblest apologies I can’t think of just now.
But the big sign off of the day wasn’t by any of the riders or race officials, oh no!  After 127 years of thanklessly heaving mountains of sliced bacon wrapped in crusty loaves into your greedy paws, Don and Gloria are cycling off into the sunset and have fried their last buttie.  With the greatest of gratitude, which we maybe didn’t always show, and already with nagging pangs of hunger, Im sure you all join me in wishing them all the best as they hang up their spatulae and iron their last dishcloths.
I believe Im also signing off myself, with my infotech incompetence being diverted to another event, so look forward to more efficient organisation next year for CTT London Easts premier and longest lasting open 25m tt…no idea if any of that is true but if you’ve got this far you deserve a bit of fun.
Dave McCarthy, organiser, Comet 25
Leading times:

1.  Colin Ward (Essex Roads CC)                    50 mins 50 secs
2.  Stuart Travis (Team Bottrill/Vanguard)         51.24
3.  Richard Price (London Phoenix CC)            52.45
4.  Kevin Tye ( Aerosmiths)      54.09
5.  Ryan Davies (AS Test Team)                        54.26
6.  Jack Brown (Cambridge University CC)        54.36
7.  David Veitch (Lea Valley CC)                        54.53
8.  Peter Harding (Chelmer CC)                         55.52
9.  Steve Dennis (East Grinstead CC)                57.09
10. Graeme Garner (Essex Roads CC)              57.36
1. Julia Freeman (Easterley CC)                    1hr 6 mins 59secs
2. Ann Shuttleworth (VTTA East Anglia Group) 1.07.34
3. Eva Nyirenda (…a3crg)                                  1.08.41
4. Katie-Ann Elliston (Southend Wheelers)        1.09.26
5. Abi Vyner (Rapha CC)                                    1.09.41
Essex Roads CC 2 hours 49 mins 16 secs (Colin Ward 50.50, Graeme Garner 57.36, Barry Holderness 1.00.50)
1.  Alfie Salmon (Lee Valley Youth CC)              41.21
2.  Katie-Ann Elliston (Southend Wheelers)       43.09
3.  Derek Gibson (Walden Velo)                          43.45
Fastest Junior/Juvenile:
Alfie Salmon 1hr 2 mins 58 secs.

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