Monday 26 October 2015

2015 In Review - Another great season for Team Sales Engine

2015 saw the Team Sales Engine cadre expand and develop to new highs. Exisiting team members continued to compete and perform around the region at a very high standard. Our new members fitted in brilliantly and have helped move 'The Engine' up yet another level.

2015 Team
We welcomed five new riders this year. Martin Jones, Andy Roffe, Chris Rimes, Andy Blower and Steve Franklin. Our newbies complemented the existing active roster of Sam Hayes, Dave Wentworth, Chris Hartley, Roy Robinson, Stuart and Hugo Hocknell, Simon Doyle, David Ledgerton, team founder, Steve Robinson and his son, Ben Robinson.

Rick Palmer acted as the ever-present and enthusiastic DS for the group during his sabbatical from racing. Fortunately Rick never followed through with his promise of Ra-Ra skirt and pom-poms for the N&DCA series.

Outstanding performances
Martin Jones led the charge this year at the National level. Martin is the first TSE rider to step up to the CTT nationals and did the team proud with strong performances in the National 25 (54.15 for 51st in the country at the distance) and at the National 10. The 10 saw Martin held up by traffic but still record 21.46.  Martin knocked out a series of 20 minute 10 mile performances wherever he rode, and was also our top points scorer in the N&DCA series. Martin was 3rd overall and 2nd in the short-course series. An amazingly consistent set of results proves that 'effort in' leads to 'rewards out'. A 20.21 TSE best for 10 miles says it all really.

Martin Jones
Sam Hayes's season was equally impressive. Having kicked of the year with sub-hour 25 rides on the sporting courses of Essex and Herts, he went on to claim 5th spot in the N&DCA overall and 4th in the short-course events. Victories in the Victoria-2up team time trial series with Steve Robinson, saw Sam and Steve retain their 2014 title. In August Sam proved that he was in the form of his life, by blasting around the Tempsford based F1b/25 course in 54:33, to knock 9 seconds off his fastest ever 25. Sam also took half a minute out of his 2014 time at the RTTC National Closed Circuit Championship in October. He took 35th spot this time around.

Sam Hayes
We could probably fill a page on Sam and Martin alone but the team palmares for 2015 doesn't stop with Martin and Sam. 

N&DCA Success
The Northants & District 10 race time trial series is one of the toughest and well regarded in the UK. Riders compete in a number of competitions based on age or distance, and its fair to say 'The Engine' did brilliantly well in all of them...

Firstly, the N&DCA 2015 team award saw TSE come home in 2nd spot. Fenland Clarion pipped us to the title by 3.5 points. Whilst we didn't retain our 2014 crown it is clear to see that this was a two-horse race again. In terms of performances the team punched well above its weight in terms of overall placing (best 3 rides on short courses plus best 3 rides on the remainder):
  • 2 riders in the top 5
  • 4 in the top 20
  • 5 in the top 25
In the short course competition (best 4 short distance rides):
  • 3 riders in the top 5
  • 4 in the top 10
  • 6 in the top 20
In the Masters Z
  • 1 rider on the podium
Great results given we were not at anything near full strength. Watch out next year for a real push to get the title back. Congratulations to all who took part and thanks to N&DCA for promoting this series.

Strength in depth - a selection of our riders' 'stand out' performances
In terms of more individual performances, Andy Roffe was a notable name on many 'Top 10' N&DCA results boards this year. In his TSE maiden season he also clocked 20.58 in the VTTA Championships in June. The '20' is sandwiched by a number of 21 minute and 22 minute rides for the 10 mile distance. Andy should be a contender for the N&DCAoverall next year having placed 5th in the short course series. Andy Blower's debut season saw him in action in three open events for us, the quickest run out was his contribution to the team at the Lampard RC 10 on the F15/10. 23.58 saw him clock a +25mph ride.

The 10 mile distance also proved fruitful for another of our newbies. Chris Rimes recorded 21 minute times in the Team Cambridge and Chronos RT events. Chris's time in the Chronos RT contributed to the team win for Chris, Sam and Simon. Chris figured in the early rounds of the N&DCA with a notable 8th place in Round 3 and capped off the season with a +25mph ride in Round 9.

Steve Franklin, in his inaugural season for the team posted a set of solid times around the K courses and on the N&DCA circuits. 23.35 at the Royal Sutton 10 (May) and a short-4 on the F14/25 were great times. The ever-improving Franklin will be posting quick times again next year. Steve was 16th in the N&DCA short-course series and 18th overall.

Dave Wentworth bashed out a 22.54 on the Icknield RC promoted 10 in September. He had preceded this tremendous ride with a number of 23s on the F and E courses, including the VTTA championships in June. In August Chris Hartlesmashed around the 10 mile, Hull based V718 course in 23:05 to match his best ever performance at the distance to the second.

David Ledgerton made huge strides this year in terms of getting his performances to a level he was happy with. Dave bloomed with a 23 in the Team Cambridge 10 and a really good 1.05.12 in the Finsbury Park 25. A good winter should see Dave go well next year and build on 12th spot in the N&DCA 'Masters X' category and 24th overall.

In an up and down season Simon Doyle kicked off the year with victory in the Lea Valley 2up 25 mile TT with Steve Robinson (March). Having developed a lung infection his mid-season was impacted but he went on to record a life-time PB for 10 miles of 21.44, two sub-hour  rides around F14/25 and a final flourish of 8th place in his age category at the National Closed Circuit series in October.

The Hocknell boys also have seasons to remember. Stuart was 3rd overall in the Masters Z category of the N&DCA series. Hugo knocked everyone for six by smashing out a 54.54 for 25 miles in the VTTA E2/25 in August. Hugo has suffered with a number of coughs and bugs this year, so to pull that out of the bag was a fantastic achievement. Chapeau!

Three generations of Robinsons troubled the timekeeper this year. The senior of the triumvirate, Roy Robinson, recorded 26.20 for 10 miles in two events, the Bossard 10 in August and the VTTA 10 in June. The Ox has certainly still got the power and he will be another one to watch in the improvement stakes.

Team founder, Steve Robinson posted victories with two 2up partners, Sam and Simon (see above). He also went on to clock a sub-hour 25 with a 58 on the F1b/25. Pretty good when you consider he hates riding for more than half an hour at a stretch. A 21 minute 10 tandem ride with Sam Hayes and 22 minute 10 solo performances underline his consistency and versatility. And finally, junior member of the squad, Ben Robinson scored notable tandem victories and age-related performances stoking around the Kettering CC and Norlond Combine events. Ben also took part in his first solo, open TT. A 10 around Bicester Airfield where he recorded 37.20, which is pretty impressive for a nine year old. A glowing career beckons.
Ben and Steve Robinson in Tandem action (Kettering CC)
And we've not even bothered reprising our efforts in the UCI  Amateur World Championship qualifiers in the Tour of Cambridgeshire.

As well as some fantastic individual and team rides, we also promoted our own 'open' 10 mile time trial and hosted a round of the N&DCA. The team supported ECCA and other events through marshalling duties. Although we are racing mad, we are also aware of the need to put things back in to the sport.

Well that's it for 2015...  we'd all like to say thanks to all of those of you who have supported us in whatever way you have, especially our significant others. Watch out for even more from 'The Engine' in 2016.

Monday 19 October 2015

Curtain falls on spectacular 2015 season - RTTC National Circuit Championship - 18 October 2015

Sam Hayes and Simon Doyle represented Team Sales Engine in the National Circuit Championship which was held at Thruxton Park motor racing circuit in Hampshire. This is the second year that the event has been run by Cycling Time Trials (Road Time Trials Council) and Antelope RT.

Building on the 2014 format, the event has developed in to a 200 rider contest, with all ages and categories represented. The event is a closed road time trial that takes on 5 laps of the scenic Thruxton motor sport circuit with riders being set off at 30 second intervals.

The early rides saw the Juniors and Ladies do battle around the 2.3 mile circuit. Dame Sarah Storey took top honours in the female contest with a stunning time of 25.05 for the total 11.4 mile distance.

Simon was off #127, just after 10am, the wind had definitely picked up during the course of the morning, meaning a gritty head wind in the first half of the twisty road circuit. Lapping consistently, Simon put in a time of 26m 59s to average 25.57mph. This was good enough for 55th place on overall classification and 8th in the Masters A category (40-45). This more than made up for the mechanical issue that robbed him of a decent time in 2014.

Simon Doyle - Image from Charles Whitton
Sam Hayes commenced 15 minutes later (#157), by which stage the conditions had deteriorated further. However, his current excellent form was more than enough to push him up the general classification list with a rock-solid 25m 52s time: an average speed of 26.68mph.

Sam Hayes - image (c) Huw Williams 

Sam's time was 48 seconds quicker than 2014, a great ride by the form man, and a fitting ending to a really progressive and remarkable season for the team.

Brett Harwood (Terry Wright Cycles RC) took top spot. Full results at - results. Thanks to all at CTT, Antelope RT and supporters, sponsors etc for making this such a great event.

Friday 2 October 2015

Martin Jones frustrated (but still quick) at the National 10

There's been little question about who has been the fastest member of Team Salesengine in 2015, with Martin Jones consistently topping the times for the team.

This speed carried Martin into the 10 mile National championships with high hopes of a top 50 finish.  On the day Martin was on good form, but was really unfortunate to get caught at one of the main roundabouts on the course which cost him a huge chunk of time.

Having stopped and re-started he blasted to the finish to record a time of 21:46, just over 2 minutes behind the eventual winner Richard Bussell, and in a finishing position of 74th.

Martin estimates that the traffic disruption cost him in excess of 20 seconds, which would have seen him battling for a top 50 place. Luckily he was sanguine about the problems he faced, and has already re-focused on helping the team retain the Northampton & District series winners trophy that we won in 2014.

Team Salesengine place strongly at the Kettering CC 10

Almost perfect conditions greeted a number of members of Team Salesengine as they took to the start line of the Kettering CC 10 in late September.

First off for the Team was Roy (Ox) Robinson, who finished with a massive smile on his face in a time of 30:43 to take 48th place in the open TT bike event.

Sam Hayes was a force to be reckoned with in the road bike category, finishing in a superb 3rd place overall with a rapid time of 24:50.

Making his debut in Team Salesengine colours was an old friend of the team Neil Fitzgibbon. Having not raced for over a decade, Neil took to the start line with great base fitness, but no real idea of how competitive he would be. As it turns out, the answer was that he was absolutely flying, bagging a superb 10th place in the road bike event, and 2nd place in the novice category with his time of 25:44.

Steve and Ben Robinson were battling for honours in the tandem event, finishing in a strong 2nd place overall, and 1st place in the tandems with a junior rider section, in a time of 26:32.

As the season draws to a close the superbly organised Kettering event shows the strength in depth that Team Salesengine now has, and proved a great way to round off a superb season.

Ben Robinson makes his solo 10 debut

Having been racing on the tandem for the last year, the youngest member of the Team Salesengine team made his solo time trial debut at the Bicester Millennium CC 10. The race took place on 4 laps of a 2.5 mile RAF airbase, and saw Ben at just 9 years old competing with riders at least a decade older.
Having clocked 42 minutes in training Ben was hopeful of getting close to 40 minutes and a 15 mph average, but determination and good weather conditions saw him smash his target. His efforts on the day delivered a new PB of 37:20, and he's already set his sights on going much quicker in 2016.