28 Jul 2014

RAF Victorious at 2014 IS 24HR

Simon Harrison - Photograph courtesy of Alex Laws

So the dust has settled (there was a lot of it) and the RAF team and supporters have returned to camps various to recover.  26/27 July saw a fantastic weekends racing at the 2014 Interservice 24hr mountain bike champs held at Bontrager 24:12, Newnham Park Plymouth. Great results for the RAF teams not just in the Interservice category but overall with all 3 teams making their podiums.  2 soloists also managed an impressive number of laps each with Paul Rochford narrowly missing the top 10.  

Richie Nation - Photograph courtesy of Alex Laws
The team event is run Le Mans style with one rider on course at a time, the short 35-40 minute lap meant quick turn arounds and short rest periods.  Both the RAF mens and mixed team made strong starts with Martin Pearson and Mike Page staying out of trouble on the opening lap before handing over to their teammates.  4 hours in and both teams were on the podium in their respective open categories while the RAF were building a strong lead in the Interservice Competition.  The teams battled through 30 degree heat in the opening 6 hours with the support crew kept busy feeding and watering the riders while the mechanics kept bikes functioning perfectly.  The mens team suffered a set back 11 hours in when Jon Gates suffered a bad crash reducing the team to 3 riders for 6 hours while he visited the local A & E.  Time was lost to rivals but Jon came back strong and the fight back began with all riders giving all they had left to reduce the defecit.  Sadly time ran out and the team came 3rd in Open Men, a mere 2 minutes behind 2nd.  The RAF mixed team were also beaten by the clock their narrow margin to the Army meant their mixed category rivals had enough time to complete an extra lap, the final result not fully representing the closeness of the competition.  

Martin Pearson - Photograph courtesy of Alex Laws
Overall a strong performance from an RAF team comprising a mix of experienced racers, new faces and novice riders.  We all look forward to defending the title next year!

Interservice Competition
1st - RAF Cycling
2nd - Army Cycling
3rd - RNRMCA
2014 Interservice 24hr Champions at the end of Martins final lap - Photograph courtesy Fiona Innes

2014 Interservice 24hr Championships Podium - Photograph courtesy Fiona Innes

 Open Mixed Category
1st - Army cycling - 34 laps
2nd - RAF cycling mixed team (Mike Page, Chris Barstow,  Richie Nation, Louise Robins and Paige
Coope) - 33 laps
RAF mixed team take 2nd - Photograph courtesy of Fiona Innes

Open men Category
3rd - RAF cycling mens team - IS winning team (Simon Harrison, Jon Gates, Martin Pearson, Barrie-John Doherty) - 41 laps

RAF men take 3rd in Open Men - Photograph courtesy Fiona Innes
Mixed Pairs Category
3rd - RAF cycling mixed pair (Lucy Newcombe, Phil Cooke) - 21 laps

RAF mixed pairs take 3rd - Photograph courtesy Fiona Innes

12th - Paul Rochford 23 laps
46th - Kieron Jarratt 13 laps

Soloist Paul Rochford - Photograph courtesy of Alex Laws
Soloist Kieron Jarratt - Photograph courtesy of Alex Laws

Fun Category
4th Combined Services Novice Team - 30 laps

All of this wouldn't have been possible without the help of our amazing support crew - big thanks to Fluff, Andy Graham, Fie Innes, Vicky Doherty and Christin Merczynski. Also big thanks to dad Dean bringing our newest team member Paige Coopes bike down to the event.