After the first national road race of the season, the Perfs Pedal last month, won by Jack Rootkin-Gray (Saint Piran), the domestic peloton has had to patiently wait until this weekend for more National B road race action.
The actions steps up a level this weekend, however. There are two National B road races, the men’s Jock Wadley Memorial in Essex and the Capernwray road races (one men’s race, one women’s race) in Lancashire. The day before, there is also the 61st edition of the treasured Eddie Soens Memorial, a closed-circuit Regional C+ handicap race held at Aintree that always contains a strong field.
Meanwhile, AT85 Pro Cycling are at the Dorpenomloop Rucphen (1.2) in the Netherlands. It feels like the season is finally getting underway for the domestic teams.
This post previews the long-running Jock Wadley Memorial.
Featured image: HPSource Media / The British Continental. Yanto Barker and Alex Richardson take a 1-2 at the 2022 Jock Wadley Memorial.
What is it?
The Jock Wadley Memorial is a ‘National B‘ road race promoted by Colchester Rovers CC. It takes place by Abberton Reservoir in Essex one of Europe’s top wetland sites.
Organised by Malcolm Hargreaves of Colchester Rovers CC, this is the 39th edition of the race, created in Jock Wadley’s memory. Wadley was a pioneering cycle racing journalist who helped opened British fans’ eyes to Continental bike racing during his time at publications such as The Bicycle, Sporting Cyclist and International Cycle Sport.
Past editions of the race attracted stellar fields, similar in standard to a modern National Road Series race with UCI Continental teams sending some of their strongest riders to compete. As such, the list of past winners is impressive, including names such as Ben Luckwell, Tony Gibb, Malcolm Elliot, Luke Rowe, Jonathan Tiernan-Locke and two-time winner Steele von Hoff. Another two-time winner is Andy Lyons, now manager of the Richardsons-Trek DAS team.
Last year, Yanto Barker (Le Col) – 42 at the time- rolled back the years to take victory, crossing the line with then-teammate Alex Richardson. Both riders are on the provisional startlist for this season’s edition too.
Starting and finishing by the village of Layer-de-la-Haye, just south of Colchester, the race takes in 12 laps of Abberton Reservoir.
Each lap is 11.4 kilometres long, and takes in just 67 metres of elevation gain. Flat? Yes. Easy? No. With twisty narrow lanes, crosswinds, unrelenting drags, a little kicker under a kilometre from the finish, and 80 riders all raring to go after their off-season, the racing should be fearsome. Expect the bunch to be whittled down steadily on each lap, with a solo win as likely as a reduced bunch sprint.
The race begins at 11.00.
The weather should be much warmer than it is currently (snow is falling out the window), but rain is a possibility, and the breeze looks stiff.
The startlist is provisional only, and subject to change.
Saint Piran bring some UCI Continental glamour to a field that is otherwise made up of a contingent of strong elite-level riders. The team have Jack Rootkin-Gray, Harry Birchill, Zeb Kyffin, and Alex Richardson on the provisional startlist: the former three riders took at 1-2-3 at the Perfs Pedal, while Richardson was on fire at this race this time last year. On paper, then, these will be the four to beat. Richardson though is currently training in Tenerife, while Rootkin-Gray has been under the weather, so it’s not clear at this stage if the team will be quite as strong as it looks when it comes to race day.
Beyond Saint Piran, the strongest teams are local squad Richardsons-Trek DAS and Embark Spirit BSS. Both have a number of quality riders on the startlist. Richardsons-Trek DAS look particularly well-equipped to get a result, with new signing Alex Peters, a former WorldTour rider, lining up alongside three riders that featured in last year’s top ten: James Jenkins, Sam Asker and Matthew Lord. Under-23 riders Matthew Houlberg and Sam Painter are our picks for the riders most likely to feature at the front of the race for Embark Spirit BSS.
Others to watch? Who would bet against reigning champion Yanto Barker (Le Col) repeating his 2022 win? Former UCI Continental rider Charles Page (ROKIT-SRCT) has a fast finish so could be one to watch if it comes down to a reduced bunch sprint. Rowan Baker (London Dynamo) caught the eye at Perfs Pedal with a 5th, so we’ll be watching to see if he can continue that form.
47-year-old Chris McNamara (Sigma Sports – Cannondale RT) had a brilliantly consistent road season last year, with several top tens in National B road races. At the other end of the age spectrum, Sam Clark (TrainSharp Elite) demonstrated his potential last year with a win at the Yorkshire Under-23 Classic and a top ten at the Ryedale Grasscrete Grand Prix. Can he start 2023 with a bang?
Startlist as published on 8 March 2022.
|2||Marcus||Burnett||Brunei Continental Cycling Team|
|5||Max||Avery||Colchester Rovers CC|
|6||Morris||Bacon||Dap Cycling Club|
|7||Mark||Richards||Dap Cycling Club|
|8||Matthew||Brown||Elite cycling Development Team|
|9||Benjamin||Flatau||Elite cycling Development Team|
|10||Jude||Chamberlain||Embark Spirit BSS|
|11||Iwan||Evans||Embark Spirit BSS|
|12||Matthew||Houlberg||Embark Spirit BSS|
|13||George||Kimber||Embark Spirit BSS|
|14||Samuel||Painter||Embark Spirit BSS|
|15||Irfan||Zamen||Embark Spirit BSS|
|16||Ryan||Savage||Finchley Racing Team|
|22||Andrew||Kerr||INFLITE TYPE ONE|
|23||Daniel||Shoobridge||Kalas Motip Race Team|
|24||Matt||Witts||Kalas Motip Race Team|
|31||Harold||Evans||Onyx Racing Team|
|39||Samual||Asker||Richardsons Trek DAS|
|40||James||Jenkins||Richardsons Trek DAS|
|41||Matthew||Lord||Richardsons Trek DAS|
|42||Alex||Peters||Richardsons Trek DAS|
|43||William||Scott||Richardsons Trek DAS|
|44||Joshua||Avery||Ride Revolution Coaching|
|45||Matt||Bailey||Ride Revolution Coaching|
|46||Clay||Davies||Ride Revolution Coaching|
|47||Matt||Watson||Ride Revolution Coaching|
|54||Charles||Emmerson||Sigma Sports – Cannondale RT|
|55||Niels||Emmerson||Sigma Sports – Cannondale RT|
|56||Chris||McNamara||Sigma Sports – Cannondale RT|
|57||Simon||McNamara||Sigma Sports – Cannondale RT|
|58||Thomas||Heal||Stolen Goat Race Team|
|59||Oliver||Hurdle||Stolen Goat Race Team|
|60||Callum||Slade||Stolen Goat Race Team|
|62||Thomas||Charles||Team PB Performance|
|63||James||Dent||Team PB Performance|
|64||Nathan||Hardy||Team PB Performance|
|65||Mark||Lightfoot||Tofauti Everyone Active|
|66||Dexter||Mansel-Thomas||Tofauti Everyone Active|
|67||Harry||Ives||TrainSharp Development Team|
|68||Kyle||Jones||TrainSharp Development Team|
|73||Alexander||Cross||Velo Schils – Interbike RT|
|74||Peter||Fuller||Velo Schils – Interbike RT|
|75||Cameron||Hurst||Velo Schils – Interbike RT|
|76||Dominic||Schils||Velo Schils – Interbike RT|
|77||Oliver||Wood||Velo Schils – Interbike RT|
|78||Tom||Merry||Wheelbase Cab Tech Castelli|
|80||Freddy||Pett||Wold Top The Edge Pactimo|
|84||Harley||Matthews||Dap Cycling Club|
Featured image: HPSource Media / The British Continental.