This years event was set to be one of the most exciting and competitive Lincoln Grand Prix with a few twists and turns thrown in for good measure, as the organisers set out to test the new circuit ahead of next years nationals.
Voted by far the most popular one day British road race, the course still embodied all that is great and glorious about this historic race. Added to the circuit this year was a thirty mile loop taking the riders twice out into the windswept Lincolnshire countryside. This circuit will then be used for the men’s race in 2015. It was also a welcome return to the West Common road race which will form the basis for the 2015 women’s event. It followed the same circuit but would only take in the starting loop once.
The West Common got under way at ten o’clock , with sixty riders taking the start. Timing being the watch word of this years event, it got off without a hitch rolling out of Yarborough Leisure centre and heading out to start the countryside loop. With nowhere to hide from the weather the strong riders soon came to the front. The leaders set a fast pace and the bunch were fighting to find a wheel. The strong cross winds were causing early problems and and would prove to be a big factor in the Grand Prix as small crashes made it difficult for the main peleton to get organised.
Meanwhile the West Common race came through Castle Square for the first two laps, three riders jumped off the front Scott Auld, Fraser Martin and Joseph Wiltshire with several more riders fighting to make the front group a six. With one lap to go the three leaders were holding a gap of just under a minute with a a small chase group trying to organise behind. The main field while decimated by the weather conditions was battling on bravely with a few riders trying to drag themselves back to the front. Scott Auld had already built a winning lead for the Michael Gate Challenge Competition and as the leaders came on to Long Leys Road their gap had shrunk to only a few seconds. At the start of the steep cobbled climb of Michaelgate it looked like the finish might be contested by several of the front runners but as they came in to view of the crowds in Castle Square, Joseph Wiltshire of NFTO Race club proved he was the man of the moment, crossing the line in front of Scott Auld and Fraser Martin.
The action then turned to the Grand Prix, which set off at eleven thirty, and made its way out onto the two loops that would add the required distance for the Nationals next year. With the two leaders of the Spring Cup fighting to stay on top of the leader board and the added incentive of it being used as the National course for 2015 the major teams had spent many hours planning how to put their man on top of the winners podium. A group of some nineteen riders had got a small lead of about one and a half minutes, during there time out in the countryside, on the chasing pack. Rapha Condor had got their plan correct, as they dropped into the first decent through Burton Village, they had three riders up in that group with Yanto Baker one of the men fighting to win the Spring Cup at the fore but his main rival Marcin Bialoblocki had also managed to fight his way into contention.
The big news from the race as they finished the first lap was that Russell Downing and Sam Harrison from NFTO had crashed out of the race. The breakaway group by then had managed to drag their gap out to two minutes with four chasers working hard to bridge the gap lead by Dean Downing who had missed the original split. The gap had come down as they came through again with seven to go. With the remaining peleton spread all along the course it seemed the selection had been made early. As the race progressed the lead group fractured into several small groups with six riders working together to stay away. Rapha had lost Graham Briggs to a accident on the side of the road and that had left them short handed as they got to half distance. The race had now entered a period of stability for the leaders as they left behind them single riders trying to find the strength and determination to get to the finish. With the rest of the race now strung out over several miles with many riders calling it a day as they dropped to over eight minutes back from the leaders.
Three laps to go, a loose group of nine had formed led by Thomas Moses who had built a good lead in the Cossavella Michaelgate Trophy. It looked like they would all come back together after the punishing climb had sapped the strength from tired legs once more. The NFTO Pro cycle team had perhaps the most riders in contention with a couple of riders from the iconic Raleigh team, Madison Genesis and Velosure Giordana.
The early bad weather had finally given way to the glorious Lincolnshire sunshine but it had taken its toll on many of hopefuls who had given their all. Seeing that many of his rivals were not going to be able to stay with him, Moses put the pressure on and started to ride away but with two laps to go many thought he had perhaps gone too soon but on the final lap he had built a gap of just under thirty seconds and was looking strong but Bialobocki and Baker were working to try and steal the victory. It would all come down to who could find the best line to climb the hill for the final time and take the honours before a fantastic crowd which had cheered the riders on all around the course. As the leaders bikes bounced on the cobbles of the climb and searched for grip, Thomas Moses held a slender six second lead, he had pushed his body to the limit but could he hold on to claim a magnificent victory in the years Lincoln Grand Prix. As the cheers went up from the crowd it was an exhausted Yanto Barker for Team Raleigh who had dug deep and found a few ounces of energy to cross the line first in front of Mike Northey. As a consolation for Thomas Moses he had done enough to win the Michealgate Trophy and the Under Twenty Three competition. The race had took just over four hours and thirty seven minutes to complete the one hundred and twenty one miles and had been one of the closest races for several years.
- 1st Yanto Barker
- 2nd Mike Northey
- 3rd Marcin Bialoblocki
On a final note, a big thank you to Ian Emmerson for Organising the event, all the officials, marshals, event staff, helpers and of course the generous sponsors who together with the the great crowds who turned out to cheer on each and every rider, make this race one of the best in Britian.
With Marcin Bialoblocki and Yanto Barker tied at the top of the standing for the Spring Cup
- Russsel Downing NFTO PRO Cycling
- Ian Bibby Madison Genesis
- Graham Briggs Rapha Condor
- Alex Peters Madison Genesis
- Evan Oliophant Raleigh
- Steve Lampier Velosure Giordana RT