Tobyn Horton (Raleigh GAC) wins the third round of the Circuit Race Series from Graham Briggs (Raleigh-GAC) and Scott Thwaites (Endura Racing)

Winner of the Stockton crit, Tobyn Horton.

In what Raleigh GAC manager Cherie Pridham described as possibly being the worst conditions she has ever seen for a criterium, Raleigh GAC rider Tobyn Horton won the circuit race in Stockton on Tees on Friday night.

On a course with a cobbled section which made the racing very difficult and the transition from tarmac to pave providing difficulties for the riders trying to stay upright, and the speed bumps as well, the race was described by some riders as having been very dangerous with lots of crashes.

It wasn’t, according to series leader Graham Briggs, just the rain but the lethal mix of wet cobbles and also diesel from buses mixing with the rain on the paving stones that made it so slippery for the riders.

It is not uncommon in such wet conditions for riders to go from the gun simply because once they have a gap, it is difficult for the chasers to ride faster than they are to close the gap and that was how the race unfolded.

Asked how the race unfolded, Briggs said “I think it was Marcel Six who went hard on the first lap and that took a few riders away and it was on from there. Four of us got away but that didn’t stick and it came back together before about twelve of us got away. Later, Tobyn put in a hard turn and Thwaites followed him and I followed Thwaites and we were away.”

As it was in Stafford, Rapha Condor Sharp were there at the front in numbers chasing them along with UK Youth and Endura Racing but the break was never in danger of being caught with a lead of ten or fifteen seconds at the finish.

The main thing for her team said the manager of Raleigh GAC, was to have numbers up there and for the riders to get round safely. With two in the break of three, Raleigh certainly had the numbers up there but the 2012 Circuit Race Champion, Scott Thwaites, was always going to be a big threat after some big wins in 2012.

The Endura Racing rider did get to the finish first but was then later relegated by the commissaries after a protest by Raleigh-GAC. The win was then awarded to the second rider across the line, Tobyn Horton with Graham Briggs second and Thwaites relegated to last in that break, third.

The Raleigh GAC manager explained afterwards, “it wasn’t the way we had planned the result to be but there was an altercation on the last lap between Scott (Thwaites) and Graham (Briggs) and we took it to the commisaires and Scott was relegated after they had looked at the film”.

Asked about the last lap, the former National Circuit Race Champion Graham Briggs said “I knew we had to we had to be first into the corner before the finish and so the corner before that, I came out of that first, and then put in an attack in to try and get the gap before that final bend. I didn’t look behind, but I was taking the second right hander just before the finish and Thwaites came underneath me and took me into the barriers where I crashed.”

According to Endura Racing’s Scott Thwaites, “he had ten lengths going into the second last corner but braked a lot. I carried more speed and came up alongside him on the inside so we hit the next corner next to each other and he tried to close the door and I held my position. We were just shoulder to shoulder and he just turned off into the barriers. He had two metres space on the outside”.

It was certainly a firey ending to the race, not the first time we’ve had such an ending to a race this year such is the competition and the passion the riders have in winning races for their team and themselves. Thwaites apologised to Briggs on the podium afterwards knowing only full well what it’s like to crash within sight of the finish and anyone who has seen the finishes of the Tour de France will know the dangers the riders face in sprints and tonight in Stockton was no different.

The second place though, along with his two wins, puts Briggs into a very strong position in the series but the Raleigh GAC team are not getting over confident that they will win the series. “There is still a long way to go” says Cherie. “We started with the ambition of taking each round as a single race and if we did well, we’d be in with a shout for the overall. It’s still early days but we’ve had a nice start with Brigga still leading after his second place tonight.”
The riders now have a day to rest up before the Premier Calendar race on Sunday.

Results

1 Tobyn Horton (Raleigh-GAC)
2 Graham Briggs (Raleigh-GAC)
3 Scott Thwaites (Endura Racing)
4 Daniel Holloway (Raleigh-GAC)
5 James Moss (Node 4-Giordana)
6 James McCallum (Rapha Condor-Sharp)
7 Richard Lang (Rapha Condor-Sharp)
8 James Stewart (UK Youth)
9 Marcel Six (Metaltek-Scott)
10 Liam Holohan (Raleigh-GAC)
11 Ben Grenda (Rapha Condor-Sharp)
12 Grant Ferguson (Boardman Elite)
13 Tom Barras (Metaltek-Scott)
14 Dale Appleby (Metaltek-Scott)
15 Luke Grivell-Mellor (Rapha Condor-Sharp)
16 Simon Holt (Raleigh-GAC)
17 Yanto Barker (UK Youth)
18 Joseph Kelly (100 Per Cent ME)
19 Chris Opie (UK Youth)
20 Jack Pullar (Wheelbase)

Race Report and images courtesy of VeloUK.net

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