Over ten Redhill riders turned up on Thursday night to battle the Newchapel circuit for the Surrey Cycle Racing League Handicap Series, assisted by Addiscombe Cycle Club.
As this circuit is in our home turf, and is used for our Time Trail series at present, I won’t introduce it in detail. The race started at Newchapel Village Hall on Bones Lane heading east, taking the next left into Brickhouse Lane, followed by the next left into Croydon Barn Lane, past the entrance into Horne Golf Course, then left back into Bones Lane. The finish line was just before the entrance into Horne Golf Course, which meant we did about eight and a half laps.
The race started in stages as usual with the handicap series. Olly, Stuart and others were in the first group (I was concerned when my name was not called out since I am a Cat4). I was called in the second group with Chris Batch. Maurice was started in a later group.
Eventually we were off and the pace was fast. We were warned about the crater in the middle of our lane on Brickhouse Lane. Also the road is a bit rough on Bones Lane before the Village Hall. Chris Batch must have completed this course many times as he certainly knew the line to take on the corners. On the third lap, our group was caught up by the chasing group and the pace increased, and within the next lap the larger group caught up the first group.
Apart from other road vehicles heading towards us as the roads are open, we all overtook some vehicles under tow along Bones Lane. The leading group is shielded with an official car fitted with roof mounted warning lights, but I doubt that any other road users would be expecting the mass of hungry cycle racers. On the final lap I was near the front and any rules were disregarded as the race took over the entire road width, so it was good that there were no cars approaching us! There were no incidents to report from what I could see, and I believe that all our riders completed the course. I recall Olly and Maurice were ahead of me but others could have been too.