The Central, Eastern and South-Eastern British Cycling regions joined forces on Sunday the 19th of August to put on this year’s Regional Road Race Championships on a long and fairly hilly circuit near Edenbridge in Kent. Despite the length of the circuit, due to limits on permitted distance in races where junior and senior riders ride together the race was relatively short at 70km – meaning that breaks which might not usually last to the finish had a good chance of sticking. A few attempts right after the gun came to nothing, but then Fusion RT-Veloperformance rider Ruth Summerford got away and stayed there, gradually building her advantage to almost three minutes and becoming overall winner and South-Eastern Champion.
Neutral Service caught up with Ruth and her team mate Molly Patch, who finished second and became Eastern Champion, and Sigma Sport X Threo’s Helen Ralston who took third at the head of a thrilling bunch sprint to become Central Champion, to get their take on the day’s events.
Neutral Service: Ruth, how was that for you, congratulations on the win.
Ruth Summerford: Thank you, yes really good! My plan at the start of the race was to get away, but I maybe didn’t plan to do it that early – it made it really hard for myself but it was good fun and it’s great to get the win.
NS: You had a fairly healthy two to three minutes lead on the peloton at the end.
Ruth: Maybe with all the different regions racing together not everyone wants to chase, so it then becomes a separate race behind.
Molly Patch: I’d agree with that. Ruth went away and it gave me a really easy race – people were concentrating on the regions a lot more, so people were attacking then sitting up, attacking and sitting up and nothing was sticking, On the last lap I got a little frustrated; I knew Ruth had a healthy margin and I feel we work quite well up the road together, so I tried to bridge across. Last lap going up the hill there was an attack, I went over the top I looked behind and had a decent gap and just pushed on. Before I went, in my head I thought “Molly are you just going to 10 mile TT this… maybe I can try!”
NS: Its been a pretty good year for the team – you won the Women’s Team Series and we last saw the pair of you in action at Naseby for the Duncan Murray Wines Road Race, where you finished the other way round.
Ruth: We just thought we would alternate – next time it’lll be Molly for the win! We have had a brilliant year with Fusion, getting better as the season went on.
Molly: It’s come together very well at the end – we’ve had some great results in time trials and road racing, and we’re taking a team to the Ras na mBan in Ireland at the start of September.
NS: The team is now known for its attacking style of riding, trying to lead races out such as the Dave Peck Memorial Road Race, where you weren’t successful, and Naseby where you were – and here where you were again.
Ruth: We are all strong riders! None of us are really strong sprinters, so our tactic for a win would be to get away because that’s how we have the best chance.
Molly: If Jenny Holden, our best sprinter, isn’t with us and depending on the race, the main target is to get people up the road. We know we can hold our own in a breakaway and if there are more of us in the break it gives us a bit of a tactical advantage – it’s great because we got some really good results, but also we’re going to be marked a little bit more next season.
NS: So, Molly, Regional Champion, how does that feel?
Molly: It feels pretty good! I wasn’t really focused on that to be honest, it was more the race overall and having the tactic of getting Ruth up the road. Trying to bridge across and getting the one-two was an afterthought but it feels pretty good and its nice to have a medal!
NS: Congratulations on today!
Both: Thank you!
NS: Helen, Congratulations on the regional win.
Helen Ralston: It feels amazing!
NS: What was the plan for today?
Helen: I did just try and go with everything…I saw Ruth go and was like s**t, and then I saw Molly go and realised I should have tried to go then, but I thought I can get it in the sprint.
NS: So what sort of year has it been for the team (Sigma Sports x Threo)
Helen: Its been really good, we’ve been around about 3 years now, but this year we have really consolidated, today was a little odd because we were all racing a little bit for ourselves, where as normally we would really have a strategy and try and work together, but near the end Mathilde (Paul) came to me and said ‘If I’m there I will lead you out’ and she really did today so it was fantastic. [In] her region, she was racing for South East, Ruth had gone up the road, so there was not much for her to go for and she really sacrificed her self for me and it really paid off.
NS: What’s next?
Helen: I’ll have a bit if a break and then the Ras!
1 Ruth Summerford (Fusion RT Veloperformance; Cat. 2) 30pts – South-East Champion
2 Molly Patch (Fusion RT Veloperformance; Cat. 2) 25pts – Eastern Champion
3 Helen Ralston (Sigma Sports x Threo; Cat. 2) 21pts – South-Eastern Champion
4 Sophie Edmondson (5th Floor CC; Cat. 2) 17pts
5 Elizabeth Hughes (Sigma Sports x Threo; Cat. 1) 14pts
6 Anna Marie Hughes (Norwood Paragon; Cat. 2) 12pts
7 Gemma Melton (Pedal Power Ipswich; Cat. 2) 10pts
8 Zoë Bartlett (BowlPhish Racing; Cat. 3) 8pts
9 Alicia Speake (OnForm; Elite) 7pts
10 Charlotte Colclough (Bianchi Dama; Cat. 2) 6pts
11 Tina Hartwright (Dulwich Paragon; Cat. 2) 5pts
12 Michelle Arthurs-Brennan (Norwood Paragon; Cat. 2) 4pts
13 Karen Tostee Hub Vélo; Cat. 2) 3pts
14 Rebecca Johnson (Fusion RT Veloperformance; Cat. 2) 2pts
15 Alexandra Hamilton (TW1 Racing; Cat. 2) 1pt
16 Angela Radden-Rutt (The Cycle Room; Cat. 2), 17 Millie Citton (VC Londres; Cat. 3), 18 Claire Hammond (TW1 Racing; Cat. 1) 19 Emma Bentley (CC London; Cat. 2), 20 Holly MacMahon (4T+ Cyclopark; Cat. 2), 21 Rosamund Bradbury (Sigma Sports x Threo; Cat. 2), 22 Kerry Middleton (Sigma Sports x Threo; Cat. 2), 23 Christine Robson (VC Londres; Elite), 24 Katharine Broadbent (Norwood Paragon; Cat. 3), 25 Philippa Jenkins (Southborough & Dist. Wheelers; Cat. 3), 26 Vivienne Tomlin (CC London; Cat. 2), 27 Mathilde Pauls (Sigma Sports x Threo; Cat. 1) 28 Olivia Bentley (Vision Innovative Leisure; Cat. 2), 29 Clover Murray (Liv-AWOL; Cat. 2), 30 Francesca Cutts (CC London; Cat. 2), 31 Rosi Muensterer (Cat. 3), 32 Heather Nickson (VC Londres; Cat. 3), 33 Amy Marks (CC London; Cat. 2), 34 Abigail Langley (Thanet RC Race Team; Cat. 3), 35 Gemma Hobson (Sussex Nomads CC; Cat. 3), 36 Isabella Torrie (Liv-AWOL; Cat. 3), 37 Victoria Strila (TW1 Racing; Cat. 2), 38 Tracy Wilkinson-Begg (Folkestone VC; Cat. 4), 39 Carolyn Swan (Norwood Paragon CC; Cat. 3), 40 Charlotte Jackson (Nice Brew CC; Cat. 3), 41 Kim Brown (TrainSharp; Cat. 3), 42 Gina Brown (Redhill CC; Cat. 4), 43 Kathryn Gohl(Nice Brew CC; Cat. 3),
DNF Alicia Love (Crimson (Performance RT; Cat. 3), Isabella Stone (Isorex; Cat. 2),
1 Hannah Graveney (Liv-AWOL; Cat. 2) 30pts
2 Megan Panton (Project 51; Cat. 2) 25pts
3 Elizabeth Marvelly (Liv-AWOL; Cat. 2) 21pts
4 Lauren Higham (Liv-AWOL; Cat. 3) 17pts
5 Neve Hattee (OnForm; Cat. 3) 14pts
6 Georgia Bullard (Jadan Weldtite-Vive le Velo; Cat. 2) 12pts
7 Elspeth Grace (Welwyn Wheelers; Cat. 2) 10pts
8 Toni Wilkes (Project 51; Cat. 3) 8pts
DNF Josie Shepherd (Project 51; Cat. 2)