Saint Piran dominated the opening national road race of 2023, with Jack Rootkin-Gray leading home a 1-2-3 at the Perfs Pedal road race.
Featured image: Ian Wrightson / The British Continental. Jack Rootkin-Gray (Saint Piran) wins the 58th Perfs Pedal road race.
The Perfs Pedal road race is infamous for its torrid weather conditions, but it was a mild, overcast day that greeted the riders as they arrived at the D-Day Memorial Hall in Southwick to sign on for the 58th edition. Five laps of the lumpy Portsdown Hill circuit awaited the riders, before a half lap of the Hundred Acre circuit to the uphill drag to the finish line.
The early laps were cagey, but on lap three the first serious move had gone clear as the riders passed Fort Nelson at the top of Portsdown Hill.
The break was a youthful group of five consisting of juniors Angus Stoneham (17) and Matthew Cole (18, both Zappi Junior Race Team), Benjamin Bright (19) of the Wales Racing Academy, and the relatively experienced Jack Crook (23) and Conor McGoldrick (25, both Richardsons Trek DAS).
In pursuit of the quintet were the Saint Piran duo of Jack Rootkin-Gray and Harry Birchill, with Rowan Baker (London Dynamo) and Ollie Hurdle (Stolen Goat).
The moves ended up coming back together but then towards the end of the third lap, Birchill, Baker and Crook went clear again with a group of around six riders. Rootkin-Gray bridged across, as did his teammate Zeb Kyffin.
Rootkin-Gray then pressed on, whittling the group down to just him, Kyffin, Birchill, Baker and Crook. With three in the lead, it was advantage Saint Piran.
“We rode together hard into the winds,” Rootkin-Gray said of the move after the race. Behind, the Zappi Junior Racing Team were among those who tried to coordinate a chase, but were left frustrated by a lack of cooperation in the peloton.
As the lead group’s lead increased, the Saint Piran riders then sought to take advantage of their numerical superiority.
“As the race progressed we started to attack as a team, countering each other and making the other two work,” explained Rootkin-Gray. “In the end, we managed to engineer it that it was just us three away. First the London Dynamo guy got dropped. Then Jack Crook was pulling a long turn while Harry was solo after various attacks from all of us. Then Zeb and I jumped across to Harry just before the left turn to the finishing climb.”
It was clear at this stage that a Saint Piran rider would take the win, but who would it be?
“We hadn’t discussed who was going to win or anything. We just left it open to racing it down. Harry opened up the sprint first, and then I just came round him to take the win.”
Kyffin finished third to complete a 1-2-3 for Saint Piran, with Crook fourth and Baker fifth. Last year’s winner Damien Clayton (Embark Spirit BSS) took ninth, while Stoneham was the top-placed junior in tenth.
- Jack Rootkin-Gray has started the season as he ended 2022: on fire. Last year he ended the season with 2nd at the Ryedale GP, a strong showing in the Tour of Britain, 2nd at the Ryedale GP, a win at the GP Eugeen Roggeman pro kermesse before capping it off with a victory at the Beaumont Trophy. If his performance at the Perfs Pedal is anything to go by then he could be one to watch in his first UCI road races of the year (Grand Prix Criquielion (1.1) and Grand Prix de la Ville de Lillers Souvenir Bruno Comini (1.2).
- Rowan Baker (London Dynamo) was not a name we were familiar with before this race, but judging by his 5th place at Perfs, together with his 2022 performances, the 20-year-old could be one to watch in 2023. Like Rootkin-Gray, he ended 2022 strongly, with 5th at the Roy Hillman Memorial Road Race (won by Rootkin-Gray no less) and then 19th in his first National Road Series, the Beaumont Trophy. An excellent string of results for a club rider who only began racing in 2021.
- Perfs is often a race where junior riders can shine against some of the top domestic riders and the 2023 edition was no exception. Angus Stoneham and Matthew Cole – both second-year juniors – shone in the early break, with Stoneham bagging 10th in the end. But it was their teammate Finlay Hawker, still only 16, who perhaps stole the junior limelight with an impressive 11th place, crossing the line at the same time as Stoneham.
|1st||67||Jack Rootkin-Gray||Saint Piran||45:11.1||–|
|2nd||9||Harry Birchill||Saint Piran||45:14.6||+00:03.49|
|3rd||46||Zeb Kyffin||Saint Piran||45:18.2||+00:07.08|
|4th||19||Jack Crook||Richardsons Trek DAS||45:33.2||+00:22.14|
|5th||5||Rowan Baker||London Dynamo||45:39.1||+00:28.01|
|6th||82||George Wood||Cycling Sheffield||46:22.1||+01:11.02|
|8th||11||Benjamin Bright||Wales Racing Academy||46:25.0||+01:13.86|
|9th||1||Damien Clayton||Embark Spirit BSS||46:30.8||+01:19.69|
|10th||73||Angus Stoneham||Zappi Junior Race Team||Y||46:52.9||+01:41.81|
|11th||32||Finlay Hawker||Zappi Junior Race Team||Y||46:53.4||+01:42.27|
|12th||49||Conor McGoldrick||Richardsons Trek DAS||46:56.2||+01:45.11|
|13th||22||Cai Davies||Kalas Motip Race Team||46:57.2||+01:46.08|
|14th||45||Seth Jones||Backstedt Bike Performance JRT||Y||46:57.4||+01:46.26|
|15th||55||Chris Opie||Le Col||46:57.6||+01:46.48|
|16th||8||James Bevan||trainSharp Elite||46:57.8||+01:46.75|
|17th||54||Cormac Nisbet||Zappi Junior Race Team||Y||46:58.1||+01:46.99|
|18th||33||Angus Hawkins||Ride Revolution Coaching||46:58.7||+01:47.61|
|20th||57||Samuel Painter||Embark Spirit BSS||46:59.0||+01:47.94|
|21st||64||Jack Rebours||trainSharp Elite||46:59.1||+01:47.97|
|22nd||25||Finn Dunton||trainSharp Development Team||46:59.2||+01:48.08|
|23rd||18||Matthew Cole||Beeston Cycling Club||Y||46:59.3||+01:48.22|
|25th||90||Ben Barnett||Team Novo Disc Development||46:59.9||+01:48.77|
|26th||21||Spencer Davies||Wales Racing Academy||47:00.9||+01:49.80|
|27th||50||Fred Meredith||Wales Racing Academy||47:01.3||+01:50.25|
|28th||13||Huw Buck Jones||Wales Racing Academy||47:01.4||+01:50.29|
|29th||59||Marinus Peterson||Kalas Motip Race Team||47:01.7||+01:50.58|
|30th||4||Matt Bailey||Ride Revolution Coaching||47:02.2||+01:51.08|
|31st||83||Isaac Wright||Project 51||47:02.3||+01:51.20|
|32nd||53||Robin Mould||Foran CCC||47:02.9||+01:51.82|
|33rd||38||Sam Holwill||trainSharp Development Team||47:03.5||+01:52.46|
|34th||17||Harry Codd||Cero – Cycle Division Racing Team||Y||47:04.6||+01:53.47|
|35th||52||Calum Moir||Zappi Junior Race Team||Y||47:04.7||+01:53.57|
|36th||26||Max Fleming||LAKA Pedal Mafia RT||47:04.7||+01:53.61|
|37th||43||Will Jewitt||Kalas Motip Race Team||47:04.9||+01:53.81|
|40th||89||Edward Charles||Backstedt Bike Performance JRT||Y||47:06.2||+01:55.12|
|42nd||81||Oliver Winwood Bratchell||Primera-TeamJobs||47:07.0||+01:55.93|
|43rd||60||Vaughn Pretorius||Team LDN – Brother UK||47:08.3||+01:57.24|
|44th||75||Rhys Thomas||Backstedt Bike Performance JRT||Y||47:09.7||+01:58.60|
|45th||71||James Somerfield||TRASH MILE||47:11.5||+02:00.37|
|46th||42||Dom Jackson||Foran CCC||47:11.8||+02:00.68|
|47th||29||Joe Griffiths||SCOTT Racing||47:12.3||+02:01.19|
|48th||85||Theo Anderson||Chippenham & District Whs||Y||47:13.9||+02:02.81|
|49th||78||Dean Watson||Embark Spirit BSS||47:15.9||+02:04.77|
|50th||68||Dave Roper||Kalas Motip Race Team||47:16.6||+02:05.53|
|51st||61||Thomas Price||Reflex Racing||47:20.4||+02:09.31|
|53rd||84||Irfan Zaman||Embark Spirit BSS||47:43.9||+02:32.78|
|54th||76||Benjamin Tuchner||TEKKERZ CC||48:18.4||+03:07.29|
|55th||74||Joseph Surmon||University of Bristol CC||52:32.1||+07:21.00|
|56th||79||Felix Whetter||Mid Devon CC||52:32.6||+07:21.49|
|57th||65||Daniel Rees||API-Metrow/Bodyby JR||52:34.4||+07:23.33|
|58th||7||Paul Barnard||Precise Performance RT||52:34.6||+07:23.53|
|59th||80||Conor Williams||trainSharp Development Team||52:35.5||+07:24.38|
|61st||24||Gabriel Dellar||StolenGoat Race Team||53:11.5||+08:00.36|
|DNF||56||Sebastian Ottley||Racing Club Ravenna||–||–|
|DNF||34||Danny Hedley||Royal Air Force CA||–||–|
|DNF||44||Harry Johnson||VC St Raphael||–||–|
|DNF||14||Max Bufton||Tofauti Everyone Active||Y||–||–|
|DNF||48||Olivier Mangham||TEKKERZ CC||–||–|
|DNF||36||Archie Hilder||London Dynamo||–||–|
|DNF||87||Oscar Pratt||Saint Piran Development||–||–|
|DNF||39||Matthew Houlberg||Embark Spirit BSS||–||–|
|DNF||27||Gary Freeman||Orwell Velo||–||–|
|DNF||2||Fletcher Adams||LAKA Pedal Mafia RT||–||–|
|DNF||41||Oliver Hurdle||StolenGoat Race Team||–||–|
|DNF||51||George Mitchell||Foran CCC||–||–|
|DNS||10||Alexander Bosley||CC Plancoet||–||–|
|DNS||15||Lucas Byam||Kalas Motip Race Team||–||–|
|DNS||66||Alexandar Richardson||Saint Piran||–||–|
|DNS||16||Thomas Charles||Team PB Performance||–||–|
|DNS||30||Zackary Hamon||Big Maggys||–||–|
|DNS||86||Richard Todd||Le Col||–||–|
|DNS||37||Joe Hill||Embark Spirit BSS||–||–|
|DNS||88||Oliver Masters||Southboro & District Whs||Y||–||–|
|DNS||40||Dylan Humber-Kelly||Yoeleo Test Team P/B 4MIND||–||–|
|DNS||77||Jacob Vaughan||Saint Piran||–||–|
|DNS||63||Thomas Quaid||Foran CCC||–||–|
|DNS||12||James Brown||University of Bristol CC||–||–|
|DNS||62||Milo Purvis||Paceline RT||–||–|
|DNS||31||Tyler Hannay||CC Etupes||–||–|
Huge thanks to Anna McEwen for helping to convert the results into a format we could use for the website!