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.

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