It’s the biggest and toughest crit racing series in the UK professional calendar. Three weeks of racing where you leave it all out the asphalt lap after lap. Each race is like 12 rounds of heavy weight boxing were no one gives an inch in case you receive that knockout punch in the first 15 minutes. The speeds are rapid the fear of getting dropped is locked on your mind. Each race is 1 hour plus 5 laps. Thousands of fans gather each evening in anticipation to see whose wheel will cross the white tape first to give the famous two-handed salute.
This was our third year in the tour series (first year as guest team, last year in all 10 rounds) As a team we have learned and developed a lot of the last three seasons and we felt more equip to deal with the intensity and work load over this extremely busy period of racing.
For the 2018 series we tackled eight venues but still with traditional 10 rounds of racing. To spice things up this year there was a team time trial and an individual hill climb. As the only non-UCI team (non- professional) in the Tour Series we were expecting a very hard few weeks of racing, which we were relishing.
The tour series is about a team effort where your best 4 rides (out of 5) count. This means you need to know where each rider is and, at times what you need to do to affect the overall results. We made a solid first week start where after the first three rounds we were above two of the UCI Professional teams sitting in 6th position. Already achieving two top 20’s we really had made a fantastic start. Also, within these first three rounds Mikey Mottram had our best result to date with 7th in Aberdeen. Catching on the main break and riding his skin suit inside out to achieve a goliath of a result.
This set us up for a strong second part of the series. The Tour Series means a lot to the bigger teams and make no mistake everyone comes in to this three weeks racing on the top of their game giving it everything round after round. We headed to Durham, the fear cobbled climb circuit which also incorporated the individual time trial. This was not a good round for us. We battled hard and came away with an individual top 20 from Ben Marks and a solid ride from James Ireson but not much to show on team stats, it was simply not our round. A crash from the gun caused a huge pile up putting us on our back foot. However, the guys showed real character to literally wipe the blood away, remount the chairs and get the job done. We had to put this one out of our minds as the rounds were coming thick and fast.
The Circus continued to roll, and we arrived in a sunny Aberystwyth. With fresh legs and hunger to get back on track we did exactly that with Jake, Steve, Bradders, Mikey and ken delivering a professional job of beating our two closest teams to bounce back up to 6th on the team rankings. With 2 points separating us we needed a good last week of racing to hang on to what already had been a pretty succesful Tour series.
Final week, final show down. Stevenage, Wembley and Salisbury were our last three locations. It was a truly titanic week or racing by all the teams involved. The ‘Wembley’ installment once again was a wet technical course, which felt like you were on a Scalextric set. With the crowds packed around the course it provided many crashes and excitement. Combined with fans bombarding the pits to see and hear the Morvelo Basso Lamborghini (supplied by Lamborghini Seven Oaks) start its jet engines, it was a very exhilarating round. With one round to go we were only one point behind 6th position knowing we had secured 7th no matter the outcome at Salisbury.
What a final round. Thousands of people flocking to the streets and the main town square to soak up the tour series experience. It truly was a historic race being the 100th tour series race in its tenth year of running. The course was fast, the streets were packed. Some say was the best round of the tour series to date. We unfortunately didn’t quite achieve our 6th position but we ended up with another high top 20 with Bradders nailing a 13th. Another awesome result to be proud of.
The Tour Series is a real honour to take part in and we once again thank the organisers for having us and letting us take part in all 8 rounds. We got stuck in, achieved four top 20’s, one top 10 and we were right in the mix until the end. As the only non UCI team we did a fantastic job and with more support and the right people behind us for 2019 we are extremely positive there is a lot more to come.
Thank you to all our sponsors
Morvélo, Basso Bikes, Mallorca Cycling, Darren Smith 2plan, 100%, Velo21, Baker Brothers, OTE Nutrition, Cycle Republic, Flame Brand Imaging, Vredestein Cycling, VEL, Veltec Wheels, Vankru, Laka, Fabric and NWB