By Patrick Walters
THE green, red and white New Forest CC colours were on show again in this year’s Sandie Radford Memorial Road Race with John Heffernan, Stuart Peckham and Hugo Walters deciding to join the traditionally strong field on one of the sunniest days of the year.
The 35-mile course had to be modified due to road works, with the effect of doubling, to four, the number of climbs up the leg-sapping Pipers Waite hill.
Heffernan, Walters and Peckham showed strongly early on in the race staying towards the front of the 45-rider field and keeping an eye on breakaways.
At one point, all three NFCC riders formed part of a small group off the front for a few minutes.
As expected, the first ascent of Pipers Waite split up the peloton with most of the race favourites staying towards the front.
Walters was the leading NFCC rider at the top of the first ascent with Heffernan riding a steady pace a few positions behind followed by Peckham.
Unfortunately a back injury forced Walters to abandon towards the top of the 2nd climb.
Meanwhile Phil Reynolds (Peter Hansford Racing), Rowan Horner (VC St Raphael/Waites Contracts) and James Gilfillan (Velo-Refined Aerosmiths) had pulled away from a group of seven at the same point.
Heffernan’s measured pacing started paying off as he picked off rival riders during the final two circuits.
Peckham’s staying power was also in evidence through to the finish.
The final climb saw Gilfillan, Horner and Reynolds fight it out with Reynolds beating Horner over the line with less than a bike length to spare. Only the top 10 places are published but Heffernan powered home with a creditable 11th place (estimated), whilst Peckham finished in the top half of the field.
An excellent afternoon’s racing in the sunshine.
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