24th March


Sunday 17th March stayed dry but cold for the Betty Pharoah Memorial Road Races. Riders left the headquarters for a neutralised start through Cowbridge before climbing onto the A48 to Corntown and Ewenny. The climb through the Gulch [ called Death Valley by Cardiff riders ] led to the Prime point near the cattle grid, the race continuing through Wick to Llandow and Cowbridge for further circuits before finishing on the straight past the Llandow Circuit entrance.

The main event for Elite, 1st, 2nd and 3rd category riders saw Team UK Youth dominate affairs with Devon rider Yanto Barker crossing the line first, closely followed by his six teammates. The race for 3rd and 4th Cat. riders included Steve Williams, Dai Long and Dan Taylor. Steve and Dai were eventually distanced by the bunch in this their first race on the open road but Dan road strongly, placing himself in the front of the bunch throughout. He may have spent too much effort at the very front because approaching the finish and final sprint [not his best asset] he was passed by about twenty riders and dropped back to 28th of the 44 finishers.

More photographs of the race can be seen in the Photo Galley thanks to Kerry Lewis and Chris Thomas who is just managing to prevent the long lens from overbalancing him. Phil Andrews endured the cold weather to support our riders and cwtched up to Chris to stop him freezing to death. Phil is no doubt itching to get on his bike and have a go himself.

At the Llandow circuit the previous weekend Steve Bennett once again showed his ability, following up his earlier points score with a top ten placing in both events he rode. On this occasion he took 7th place in the 3&4th cat event and went on to secure 4th place in the Vets only event totalling 16 points in two weekends.

New member Gary Flower was due to compete in a 25 mile time trial at Usk today [Sunday 24th] but it was cancelled because of road works. Very disappointed at missing this event he instead rode the Cardiff Ajax 10 mile TT at Risca on Saturday afternoon. He found the experience a really enjoyable one but managed to extend the race to eleven and a half miles ! Approaching the end of the race he was concentrating so hard he powered straight past the turning into the finishing straight on the estate. By the time he realised his mistake he was on double white lines and because riders had been warned of disqualification for crossing them he had to carry on to the roundabout, retrace past the finish to turn into the estate. He was estimated to have lost three minutes and may well have claimed a club bronze standard but for the detour. Never mind Gary, you are not he first Acme rider to add miles to a TT. Undeterred, he is keen to wear our club colours in the next available event and looks forward to being joined by other Acme riders.

Kerry’s response to the current weather conditions is expressed in his picture below !2


9th March

Tony Rees reports on his first sportive of the year.


The temperature gauge in the car was showing two degrees when I arrived in Pendine to register for my fifth start at The Daffodil Classic Sportive. I soon wished that this was an accurate reading because the biting wind certainly lowered this figure by a considerable number of degrees. I was encouraged however when I realised that it would be a tail wind for the first part of the course. As this contains the longest and steepest climbs I knew I would be grateful for the unexpected assistance.

I made sure that I warmed up well on the sea front before joining the 200+ participants for the 12 o’clock start. I knew how essential this was because, after just 100 meters, it was a right turn at the end of the beach and straight up the 20% climb out of the village towards Red Roses. As usual this reduced many people to pushing their bikes. I maintained a steady, even pace to get me to the top among the front half of the field.

I joined a group of around ten riders that worked well together towards the feed station at Trellech. While a few riders stopped here, the rest of us continued until the headwind caused a further reduction in our numbers. Shortly after this I joined another group which I stayed with to St Clears and over the undulating roads to Laugharne and back to Pendine.

I was really pleased to finish the ride in a personal best time time of 2 hrs 46 mins. This was particularly pleasing because, like everyone else, the weather has not allowed me to get as much time on the bike as I would have liked.



Steve Bennett also competed in his first race of the year on 10th March when he joined Dan, Simon, Steve Williams and Dai Long in the circuit races at Llandow. In the 3rd and 4th category event, club riders were in good positions through most of the race until a crash just in front of him stopped Simon. Checking on a fallen rider who broke his collarbone he lost contact and pulled out before the finish. Dan was in contention having ridden strongly but his finishing sprint was not fat enough to gain him any points. Steve Bennett, however, finished with a good sprint which gave him 5th place. Despite riding to and from the circuit on the coldest day yet, he decided to also compete in the following race for 2nd,3rd and 4th category riders where he gained even more points by finishing in 7th place.Steve is a 3rd cat while all six who inished in front of him were 2nd cat riders. We can expect to see more top ten places from Steve this year.

Welcome to several new members. Paul Rickards is young Evan’s dad and has been accompanying Evan to the clubroom and riding on the rollers at which he is now adept. This week they arrived with Evan’s new birthday presents. A track bike of his own for use at Newport Velodrome and a set of rollers for warming up, although Paul soon adjusted it to fit his own bike !

Callum Banwell is just 4 years old and now our youngest member. If he has inherited dad Carl’s genes he will be making peoples legs hurt in years to come. At the moment he seems more interested in the tea and biscuits at the clubroom.

Gary Flower is a triathlete and is so keen that on the day he joined he entered his first race, the Ross-on-Wye 25 mile TimeTrial later this month. Living in Llantrisant he will be able to get plenty of advice from fellow resident and ex Commonwealth Games rider, Gwyn Humphries.