The B-side: a closer look at National B road racing
The road racing season may have begun in Europe, but here in the UK, the first sniff of UCI road racing won’t happen until the Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic on 24 April. Thankfully, national-level road racing will begin soon with the first National B road race of the year: the Perfs Pedal. In anticipation of this landmark, here is a quick look at the route, the race history, the startlist and the contenders.
What is it?
The Perfs Pedal road race is a ‘National B‘ road race promoted by VC St Raphael. Taking place near Portsmouth in the south of England, it is the traditional opener to the domestic road racing season. This will be the first time the race has run since 2019. An important early-season marker of fitness, it normally attracts a strong field, including many domestic Continental-level riders, and this year is no different.
The race is a short, punchy affair at 74 kilometres (46 miles). Starting in Southwick, the race begins with five laps of a lumpy 13.6 km circuit around Portsdown Hill, which has a maximum gradient of 10.6 %.
The race then switches off the main circuit at Staple Cross Road to finish on the Lodge Hill climb, with the finish line placed just beyond the top of this final drag. The climb has a steep section towards the bottom – reaching nearly 15% in places, but continues to drag upward, making it a hard slog to the finish line. Local rider Red Walters holds the current Strava KOM for the climb.
The race is normally fast, furious and challenging enough that a solo win or a small group sprint can be expected.
Created by Mick Waite, who still runs the race, the first edition of the Perfs Pedal road race took place in July 1964, won by Tony Mills. The race moved to an early-season slot the following year where it has stayed ever since.
Given its position in the calendar, the weather has often been a key feature of the race. Ice and snow has been a frequent obstacle for the riders. And in the 1990s, mild, wet winters meant that flooding was a problem. The 2003 edition was cancelled by the local police because of what organiser Mick Waite described as a ‘puddle’. Poor road conditions have also hampered the race, resulting in the cancellation of the 2010 and 2014 editions. The 2020 edition was also cancelled because of forecasts of strong winds and heavy rain.
The race has a long list of illustrious winners. Ian Hallam, Dave LeGrys, Chris Newton, Sean Yates, Tim Harris and Alex Dowsett have all won the race. The last four editions of the race have been won by Tim Elverson’s teams: Rory Townsend won in 2016 (when the team was called Pedal Heaven), Chris Opie in 2017 (for Bike Channel Canyon), Alex Paton took the honours in 2018 (for Canyon Eisberg), while Jacob Vaughan (Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes) was the most recent victor.
At the time of writing, the startlist is provisional only, and subject to change.
Last update: 13 February 2022
WiV SunGod have dominated the race in recent times – it’s an important local race for team boss Tim Elverson – and as the only UCI Continental team represented, they will be the favourites to take the win for the fifth time in a row. All
four two of their riders – Jim Brown, Josh Whitehead, Damien Clayton (second in 2019) and Euan MacLeod – are contenders in their own right.
Former WiV SunGod rider Alex Paton, winner of the race in 2018, is a fascinating inclusion on the startlist. He officially retired from racing at the end of 2020 but, if in shape, clearly has the pedigree to win this race.
Junior rider Joshua Tarling (FlandersColor Galloo) had an outstanding 2021, finishing third in the Otley Grand Prix on junior gears, winning the junior CiCLE Classics at the first time of asking and winning his first junior UCI road race.
So it wouldn’t be a surprise if he is well in the mix for the win. Unfortunately, injuries picked up at a crash at the Manchester velodrome means he has had to withdraw from the race.
Elite teams Nopinz Motip RT, Primera-TeamJobs, and Spirit Bontrager BSS Rotor all field full teams of six riders and will be looking to make their numerical advantage count. Spirit Bontrager BSS Rotor rider Jordan Peacock was fourth in the 2019 edition, so has form in this race.
Elsewhere in the field, there are plenty of individuals who could challenge for a result. Richardsons-Trek DAS’ new signing Conor McGoldrick took no less than six wins at National B level last season, including a superb solo win at the Holohan Coaching Road Race. Cycling Sheffield’s George Wood is one of those; he took National B road race wins last year, including the Spokes RT Scottish Road Race. Wales Racing Academy’s William Roberts won the Sunderland round of the Tour Series last year, indicating he is capable of a win a fast, aggressive race like this.
Late additions to the race Alex Richardson and Yanto Barker are also both possible winners.
Startlist as published on 31 January 2022. Updated 2 and 13 February 2022.
|1||Alex Paton||BC PM||E|
|2||Dylan Hicks||Backstedt Bike Performance RT||2J|
|3||Euan Woodliffe||Backstedt Bike Performance RT||2J|
|4||Edward Hopkins||BCC RT||2J|
|5||Jamie Brown||BCC RT||2J|
|6||Lewis Holmes||BCC RT||2J|
|7||James Bevan||Bikestrong KTM||1|
|8||Jack Rebours||Caesarean CC Jersey||2J|
|9||Harry Johnson||CC Plancoetin||1|
|10||George Wood||Cycling Sheffield||1|
|11||Declan Hudson||Dolan Ellesse RT||1|
|12||Jack Crook||Dolan Ellesse RT||1|
|14||Griff Lewis||FlandersColor Galloo||2J|
|15||Lucas Jowett||FlandersColor Galloo||2J|
|16||Jacob Schnabel||Meudon Pedal Heaven Le Col RT||2|
|17||Dylan Humber-Kelly||JRC Interflow RT||2J|
|18||William Jewitt||JRC Interflow RT||2|
|19||Ethan Browne||JRC Interflow RT||2|
|20||Richard Todd||Le Col||2|
|21||Jack Freeman||Meudon Pedal Heaven Le Col RT||E|
|22||Matthew Houlberg||Meudon Pedal Heaven Le Col RT||1|
|23||Felix Whetter||Mid Devon CC||2J|
|24||Samuel Clark||Netlar Telecom-Ale||1|
|26||Daniel Shoebridge||Nopinz Motip RT||1|
|27||Cameron McLaren||Nopinz Motip RT||1|
|28||James Ashcroft||Nopinz Motip RT||1|
|29||Matt Witts||Nopinz Motip RT||1|
|30||George Fowler||Nopinz Motip RT||2|
|31||Andrew Critchlow||Norwood Paragon||1|
|32||Chris McNamara||Nunn-Sigma Sport-London RT||1|
|39||Ian Vagg||Project 51||2|
|40||Adam Cotterell||Project 51||2|
|41||Michael Weavers||Project 51||2|
|42||Conor McGoldrick||Richardsons Trek Das||E|
|43||Aaron Freeman||Richardsons Trek Das||2|
|44||Rory Barrett||Southborough & District Wh||1|
|45||Keith Henderson||Southborough & District Wh||2|
|46||Michael Mottram||Spectra Wiggle P/B Vitus||E|
|47||Jordan Peacock||Spirit Bontrager BSS Rotor||1|
|48||Joshua Avery||Spirit Bontrager BSS Rotor||1|
|50||Thomas Price||Spirit Bontrager BSS Rotor||2|
|51||Farley Barber||Spirit Bontrager BSS Rotor||2|
|52||Joshua Price||Spirit Bontrager BSS Rotor||2|
|53||Lucas Rowley||Tactic Sport UK RT||2|
|54||Jack Fothergill||Team Jewson MI Racing||2|
|55||Jude Chamberlain||Team Jewson MI Racing||2J|
|56||Jack Dylan||Team Tor 2000 Kalas||2|
|57||Steven Jones||Team Tor 2000 Kalas||1|
|58||Noah Hobbs||Tekkerz CC||2J|
|59||Joshua Golliker||TrainSharp DT||2J|
|60||Jacob James||TrainSharp DT||2|
|61||Harry Ives||TrainSharp DT||2|
|62||Torin Henderson||TrainSharp DT||2|
|63||Joe Hill||Upshift Nutrition RT||E|
|64||Oliver Mangham||VC Londres||2J|
|65||Conor Williams||VC Londres||2J|
|66||Anthony Morris||VC Londres||2J|
|67||Thomas Caine||VC Meudon||2J|
|68||Felix Tuck||VC Meudon||2J|
|69||Matthew Gilmour||VC Venta||3J|
|70||Oliver Hurdle||Stolen Goat RT||2|
|71||Thomas Heal||Stolen Goat RT||2|
|72||Thomas Grigson||Stolen Goat RT||2|
|73||Joe Holt||Wales Racing Academy||E|
|74||Harvey McNaughton||Wales Racing Academy||1|
|75||William Roberts||Wales Racing Academy||1|
|76||Toby Manning||Wessex RC||2|
|77||Damien Clayton||WiV Sungod||E|
|79||Josh Whitehead||WiV Sungod|
|81||George Gray||Z Junior RT||2J|
|82||William Smith||Z Junior RT||2J|
|83||Calum Moir||Z Junior RT||2J|
|84||Rory Knowles||Z Junior RT||2J|
|85||Oliver Akers||Z Junior RT||3J|
|86||Luke Goodwill||VC Londres||3J|
|87||Monte Guerrini||Foran CC||2|
|88||Max Fleming||University of Reading||2|
|89||Joseph Surmon||University of Bristol CC||3|
|90||David Roper||Nopinz Motip DT||2|
|91||Gabriel Dellar||Southampton University RC||3|
The race kicks off at 11.00 and is expected to finish not long after 13.00.
The forecast looks typically grim. Strong winds and rain look set to make this edition a real hardman’s race.
Featured photo: Phil O’Connor. Jacob Vaughan wins the 2019 edition of the race.