Jo Smith and Alec Briggs are the winners of the Thundercrit II which was held last Saturday in the Olympic Park, London. Over 150 riders, divided over the men’s and women’s category, showed up to participate in the fixed gear crit. With only 1 hairpin the course wasn’t very technical but the hilly circuit combined with strong winds made it a tough race for everyone. Do not forget to check out the vlog by Francis at the bottom of this race report!
Header Image: Aaron Vinnik
Photography: Aaron Vinnik/Brian Megens/Jimmi D Nicholls/NLTCBMBC
Men’s B Final
The B final consisted of those who didn’t make it into the main final and those who might have been unlucky in their qualifiers and in the end it was won by Russell Peace (Dursley Road Club) who was unlucky not to get into the main final after being involved in an accident in his qualifying heat. Peace took the race by the scruff of the neck and took a solo victory being followed in by a sprint from Alex de Cortada (Santafixie BLB Team) and Felix Speller (KYCU Velo).
In the women’s finals it was Jo Smith who immediately was alert in the front and took the prime. The race then settled into a pace with NLTCBMBC’s Caz Pulford sitting on the front of the group taking the wind for a couple of laps. Aoife Doherty (The 5th Floor), tried a few times to thin the field out down the back straights, but the main pack kept reeling her back in.
Halfway through the race it was time for the 12” Pizza prime. As the bell signalled the start of this lap the women put the hammer down again and it was full gas for the whole lap around to the prime line as Jo Smith took her second Prime of the day.
It was just after this point in the race that Sophie Edmondson (The 5th Floor), in her first fixed gear crit, decided to take the race by the scruff of the neck and set the pace off the front of field. The move lasted nearly 3 laps, but the pain on everyone’s faces afterwards lasted until the finish line.
The pack of 14 women raced hard until the last lap and, in the end, 2.5 seconds was the difference from 1st to 14th. Jo Smith, took the victory ahead of a photo finish between Brooke Phillips (ELF Huez) and Hayley Edwards (Stanridge Cycles). The timing system gave the same time to both women, but the replays show that half a wheel was the difference and Brooke took the 2nd place on the podium.
Men’s A Final
72 finalists were lined up on the track and the race rules were repeated once again. The gun went and they were off down the long straight to corner two and the fastest guys fought their way up to the front of the race for the first lap prime. Matt Payne (ELF Huez) took the prime ahead of Dimitri Demishev (NLTCBMBC) and Alec Briggs (Specialized Rocket Espresso). Then Brian Megens (Fixed Gear Crit) and Alessandro Mariani (IRC Carrera SC) attacked. After several laps their effort seemed neutralised when Brian launched a solo attack. However, the field was too strong for such a long solo effort, and with 15 rounds to go the main pack was back together.
It was Owen Blandy who took the free pizza provided by Yard Sale Pizza. prime. After the primes were settled the peloton seemed to calm down when Eike Haumann launched his solo attack forcing the peloton to go full gas. Eike’s attack looked promising especially when he achieved a 10 second gap on the peloton. However, with 6 laps in he was brought back in the main bunch. However, Eike didn’t give up without a battle and he attacked again which made him lead the field for several laps. Although the attacks weren’t successful in the end it did bring him the top antagonist award rewarded with a custom FGC cycling shirt.
With one lap to go, the a bunch of 24 riders were together and it looked like everyone was getting ready for a mass sprint. It was Alec Briggs who positioned himself the best and kicked up the short punchy climb awarding himself with a comfortable looking victory with a 1 second lead over everyone else. Paul Vanotti (Disorderly Habits) and Alessandro Mariani sprinted for 2nd and 3rd with a nice wheelie from Paul!
Men’s B podium
1. Russell Peace – Dursely Road Club
2. Alex de Cortada – Santafixie BLB Team
3. Felix Speller – KYCU Velo
1. Jo Smith
2. Philips Brooks – Elf Huez
3. Hayley Edwards – Stanridge Cycles
Men’s A final
1. Alec Briggs – Specialized Rocket Espresso
2. Paul Vanotti – Disorderly Habits
3. Allesandro Marriani – IRC Carrera SC
Eike Haumann’s attacks got him the top antagonist award!
Thundercrit vlog by Francis