Rookie Smith goes solo to claim impressive win

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Welland Valley road race rookie Tim Smith made the most of a favourable mark to land a decisive win in the second round of the Northants CRA Spring Handicap Series.

The Broughton man rode away from the rest of his group on the first of three laps of the 10-mile Sulby circuit and was never headed, coming home an impressive 3 min 14 sec clear of his closest rivals.

It made up for the disappointment of the opening round when a buckled wheel forced him to pull out when also in a good position.

“I was gutted about that” said Smith, 41, who is in his first full season of competitive racing.

“But I was put back a couple of groups for this race and from how I have been going I knew I had a chance.

“I’m relatively new to this – I only joined Welland Valley last July and rode a couple of their circuit races at Bruntingthorpe.

“It was a bit intimidating to start with, getting used to the speed and being so close to other riders, but I’m enjoying it.”

Behind Smith, the middle to longmarker groups closed up to leave 34 riders sprinting for second place which went to Matt Garfield (Fenland Clarion) ahead of Kettering’s Stephen Colbert (Renault Rotor Colbert RT).

Welland Valley’s Jonny Unwin and Stephen Bunn came in fourth and fifth with Stuart Jones (Kettering) and Sam Crabtree (Welland Valley) tied in seventh place as the scratch riders struggled to make any impact and were still five minutes off the pace at the line.

Saturday’s third round is over three laps of the Valley circuit, a distance of 30 miles) with headquarters at the Rockingham Forest Wheelers clubhouse in Middleton (2pm).

Other local placings: 11 Ian Stokes (Kettering), eq 12 Paul Brown (Numplumz), Peter Watson, Nick Clarke, Rory McLaughlan, Vic Barnett (all Wellland Valley), John Hardwick, David Robinson, Joel Lewis, Eddy Clutton (all Kettering), Chantelle Rothe, Phil Garlick (both 45 RC), Vic Davis, Hugh Boyle, Paul Crane, Peter Kucak (all Rockingham Forest Wheelers), 33 Mark Greenway (Rockingham Forest), 34 Paul Ashdown, 35 Stuart Walters (both Kettering) all at 3.14; 36 Tom Sexton at 3.45; 37 Andy Whale (Rockingham Forest) at 4.00. 40 Kevin Mills (Welland Valley), 42 Ian Dick, 43 Peter Wilson (both Rockingham Forest), 44 Rob Swannack (45 RC) all st; 46 Ryan Henry (Rockingham Forest) at 5.13, 47 Richard Jones (Numplumz) st; 50 Steve Giles (Numplumz) at 8.02; 51 Warren Drew (Rockingham Forest) at 8.14. 54 finished.