The B-side: a closer look at National B road racing
The national road racing season is now in full swing, at National B level at least. This weekend four national road races take place: the first round of the Scottish National Alba Men’s Road Race Series (the ERC Gifford Road Race), the men’s and women’s editions of the exciting new Peaks 2 Day stage race, and the historic Wally Gimber Trophy road race. This preview focuses on the latter.
What is it?
The Wally Gimber Trophy is a ‘National B‘ road race promoted by Dulwich Paragon, held on the border of East Sussex and Kent. One of the longest-running road races in the UK, this will be the 62nd edition of the race.
The trophy was awarded to the club for presentation at the annual road race by Wally Gimber, a lifelong club member. Wally Gimber was an active Dulwich Paragon member in the 1940s and excelled on the local Herne Hill track. In 1948-9 he was the London centre track, massed start and roller champion and set a national tandem paced half-mile record of 48.55 seconds. He emigrated to the US in the 1960s but returned to the UK in 1985 to present the trophy to John Shand at the club’s 50th anniversary dinner. He kept in regular touch with the club until his death in 1993.
The race has served as an important early-season race in the UK for over half a century. Past winners include Sir Bradley Wiggins and Alexandar Richardson. Tony Gibb won three times, while Simon Cope and Rob Hurd each won four editions.
In 2021, after a year’s break due to Covid, the race resumed in August at a new course in Tenterden, where Chris McNamara (Nuun – Sigma Sports – London RT) won the trophy after over 20 years of trying.
This year the race takes place between Royal Tunbridge Wells and Bewl Water reservoir on a 20.6 kilometre circuit around Frant, Lamberhurst and Wadhurst. The riders cover the anti-clockwise circuit seven times, with the race covering 144 kilometres in total.
It’s a relatively hilly route with 319 metres of elevation per laps. The descents are fast and wide fast, however, meaning that no hard braking is required anywhere on the corners. The race rolls out from Bells Yew Green for a two-kilometre neutralised section before the flag drops at the start/finish line just before Frant.
It is downhill after Frant until the riders reach Station Hill as the riders approach Wadhurst. At just over a kilometre in length and with gradients reaching nearly 8% in places, this marks an obvious point for breakaway attempts. The road is mainly downhill after Wadhurst until about five kilometres from home, just after Hook Green. From here, the road steadily rises all the way to the circuit’s end. The steepest parts of this drag are just before the finish line, where the road pitches above 8% in the final 200 metres. So expect a real slog of a sprint finish if a small group comes to the line.
At the time of writing, the startlist is provisional only, and subject to change.
Last update: 19 March 2022
The field might only include four UCI Continental riders but it’s a strong one nonetheless, featuring no less than three of the four 2022 National B road race winners so far.
After their domineering display at the Jock Wadley Memorial last weekend, Le Col is arguably the team to watch. They placed three riders in the top four at the race, including race winner Yanto Barker and second-placed Alex Richardson, both of whom will be closely marked.
Matt King, Red Walters (both Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling), Jake Crossley (Saint Piran) and Rory Townsend (WiV SunGod) are the four UCI Continental riders on the startlist. Matt King – 5th at the Beaumont Trophy last season – is a rider that could go well on this course. And Rory Townsend, a late entrant to the race, needs little introduction. One of the finest domestic riders in recent years, he surely has to be one of the favourites.
Seb Garry (Nopinz Motip RT) and Samuel Beckett (Wales Racing Academy) are both in-form riders having won the Evesham Vale and Primavera road races respectively this season. Beckett is second in our national road race rankings, so a good result here could see him move into the lead.
Richardsons-Trek DAS bring a strong squad, including James Jenkins and Conor McGoldrick, two riders we hold in high regard here at The British Continental. Spirit BSS are another team to watch too, with George Kimber our pick of their starters. Defending champion Chris McNamara (Sigma Sports / Cannondale RT) should not be discounted either. Watch out for Matthew Lord (Hart Performance Coaching); he was seventh at the Jock Wadley last weekend so clearly has the shape to go well here too.
Startlist as published on 19 March 2022.
|No||Name||Team / Club||Cat.|
|1||Will Auty||4T + Cyclopark||2nd|
|2||Jack Rebours||Caesarean CC Jersey||2nd|
|3||Kevin Nelson||Crawley Wheelers Race Team||1st|
|4||Morris Bacon||DAP Cycling Club||Elite|
|5||Harley Matthews||DAP Cycling Club||1st|
|6||Mark Richards||DAP Cycling Club||1st|
|7||Andrew Taylor||DAP Cycling Club||Elite|
|8||Adam Clifton||Dulwich Paragon CC||2nd|
|9||Maxwell Ikin||Dulwich Paragon CC||3rd|
|10||Chris Schiering||Dulwich Paragon CC||3rd|
|11||Stephen Maxwell||Dulwich Paragon CC||2nd|
|14||Ryan Savage||Finchley Racing Team||2nd|
|15||James Boyman||Hoops Velo||1st|
|17||Ole Henrik Bang-Andreasen||Le Col||2nd|
|18||Yanto Barker||Le Col||2nd|
|19||Alexandar Richardson||Le Col||Elite|
|20||Richard Todd||Le Col||2nd|
|21||Rowan Baker||London Dynamo||2nd|
|22||Marinus Petersen||Loughborough Students CC||1st|
|23||Jack Freeman||Meudon Pedal Heaven Le Col RT||Elite|
|24||Matthew Houlberg||Meudon Pedal Heaven Le Col RT||1st|
|25||Sebastian Garry||Nopinz Motip Race Team||1st|
|26||Nathan Hallett||Nopinz Motip Race Team||1st|
|27||Matt Witts||Nopinz Motip Race Team||1st|
|28||Andy Critchlow||Norwood Paragon CC||1st|
|29||Bradley Shenton||Partenza-Nude Espresso RT||2nd|
|30||Jacob Storey||Partenza-Nude Espresso RT||2nd|
|32||Ian Vagg||Project 51||2nd|
|33||James Gray||Rapha Cycling Club||2nd|
|34||Rafael Hackenbroch||Regents Park Rouleurs||2nd|
|35||Matthew King||Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling||Elite|
|36||Red Walters||Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling||Elite|
|37||James Jenkins||Richardsons Trek DAS||Elite|
|38||Conor McGoldrick||Richardsons Trek DAS||Elite|
|39||Callum Riley||Richardsons Trek DAS||2nd|
|40||Luke Ryan||Richardsons Trek DAS||2nd|
|41||Aaron Stone||Richardsons Trek DAS||2nd|
|42||Jake Crossley||Saint Piran||1st|
|44||Chris McNamara||Sigma Sports / Cannondale RT||1st|
|45||Rory Barrett||Southborough & District Wheelers||1st|
|46||Keith Henderson||Southborough & District Wheelers||2nd|
|47||Joshua Avery||Spirit BSS||1st|
|48||David Bolland||Spirit BSS||1st|
|49||Clay Davies||Spirit BSS||1st|
|50||George Kimber||Spirit BSS||1st|
|51||Thomas Lowther||SRCT MUC-OFF||2nd|
|52||Oliver Maxwell||SRCT MUC-OFF||1st|
|53||Charles Ager||Stolen Goat Race Team||2nd|
|54||Jack Fothergill||Stolen Goat Race Team||2nd|
|55||Oliver Hurdle||Stolen Goat Race Team||2nd|
|56||Matthew Downie||TAAP Cervelo||1st|
|57||Matthew Lock||TAAP Cervelo||1st|
|58||Jamie Pullen||TAAP Cervelo||2nd|
|59||Lucas Rowley||Tactic Sport UK Race Team||2nd|
|60||Kishan Bakrania||TBW23 Stuart Hall Cycling||2nd|
|61||George Pittock||Thanet RC Race Team||2nd|
|62||Samuel Clark||trainSharp Development Team||1st|
|63||Finn Dunton||trainSharp Development Team||2nd|
|64||Torin Henderson||trainSharp Development Team||2nd|
|65||Harry Ives||trainSharp Development Team||2nd|
|66||Jacob James||trainSharp Development Team||2nd|
|67||Danylo Riwnyj||trainSharp Development Team||2nd|
|68||Casper Brazier||TRASH MILE||2nd|
|72||Joe Hill||UpShift Nutrition Race Team||Elite|
|73||Leighton Oxley-Crisp||Velo Schils-Interbike RT||2nd|
|74||Dominic Schils||Velo Schils-Interbike RT||Elite|
|76||Samuel Beckett||Wales Racing Academy||1st|
|78||Joe Staunton||WightlinkWight Mountain CRT||1st|
|79||Rory Townsend||WiV Sungod||Elite|
|80||Jesse Yates||Yoeleo Test Team P/B 4MIND||3rd|
|81||Jack Wylie||TAAP Cervelo||2nd|
|82||Ben Wheeler||TRASH MILE||2nd|
|83||Scott Redding||SRCT MUC-OFF||2nd|
|84||Benjamin Tappenden||Precise Performance RT||2nd|
|85||Matt Bailey||High Wycombe CC||2nd|
|86||Matthew Lord||Hart Performance Coaching||2nd|
|87||James Nicholson||TAAP Cervelo||2nd|
|88||Len Delicaet||Dulwich Paragon CC||2nd|
The race departs race HQ at 11.00 with the finished expected around 14.45.
At the time of writing,the forecast suggests the weather should be mild and dry with just a moderate breeze, so the weather is unlikely to be a big factor.
Featured photo: Dave Hayward