O’Neil breaks club record as the conditions prove testing

Jack O'Neil on his way to breaking the Banbury Star  CC record
Jack O'Neil on his way to breaking the Banbury Star CC record

Spring can be a fickle season in the saddle and Banbury Star Cyclists’ Club experienced the worst of it during the early part of Sunday’s annual Hardriders Time Trial.

Torrential rain, strong crosswinds and cold temperatures affected the early starters from a field of 69 riders who were prepared to take on the challenge of the 23 mile road race.

The time trial started in Wroxton and headed up the Stratford Road when the field attempted the descent of Sunrising Hill with its notorious inclines and tight corners.

All the riders successfully negotiated the hill and continued to Ettington where they turned for home and retraced their steps back to Wroxton.

Sunrising Hill once again featured, with significantly slower speeds compared to the outbound leg of the race and the 17 per cent slope soon began to take its toll on those riders who didn’t have enough winter miles and training in their legs.

The early rain had by now cleared and the brisk wind, assisted by both drying the roads and making the course much safer and also providing some tailwind assistance on the final few miles.

In the men’s category, Jack O’Neil broke the previous course record set in 2016 by Dan Bigham by four seconds and in so doing won the Broughton Trophy.

The University of Warwick Cycling Club rider clocked 51.38. Chris Goodfellow (DRAG2ZERO) was second in 53.49 with Cameron Foster (Team MK) third in 55.34.

The trophy was donated to Banbury Star CC by John Broughton in 1993 after he completed 30 years as the club’s president. John recently passed away and the riders held a one minute’s silence to pay their respects and remember what he gave to the club.

Banbury Star rider Tim Butt won the veterans (40+) category, who went just under the hour in 59.20.

Runner-up was Richard Howes (Coventry Road Club) in 1:3.01 and third was Roger Foster (Team MK) in 1:3.29.

Lydia Watts (Zappi Racing Team) won the female category in 1:5.31.

Deborah Davidson (Mickey Cranks Cycling Club) was second in 1:7.20 and third was Alison Bagnall (Stratford Cycling Club) in 1:7.51.