Awesome ride for the team! Tight, dark and well-attended dog fight in beautiful Beaufort. Team Exergy worked very well as a unit tonight and after Carlos jumped in the break of the day, Barley and Ben prepared for the final laps to set up their teammate and Speedweek Points Leader for the finish.
Windy day with a strong headwind along the sweeping left mainstraight away. Turn 1, goes from 3 lanes to 1, very tight with walls of haybales on both sides. Turn 2, choppy at turn-in and apex with some loose stuff on the exit. Back straight, very dark with bumps and holes on outside near turn 3 turn-in. Corner 3, very fast with drainage at apex followed by sweeping corner four with hole at apex. 1km lap, about 70-75 seconds per lap. Smaller field than previous days but all teams still well represented.
Carlos and Barley got the call up, the field started before the gun though and the officials let it slide...tossing Carlos and Barley behind Remi and I on the first lap (even though Remi and I started at the back on the left side!). Panic! Regroup at front in time for Carlos to make it into significant break of the day. Eleven riders, including 3 UHC riders quickly pull out a gap. Of the 75 laps, it only took to lap 50 to get around and reconnect with the peloton.
At this point, we tried to get ready for the mid-race prime (10points and money 3-deep) but were caught offguard when the bell rang before it was expected. Carlos just missed the prime to Jake Keogh (UHC: 3rd overall in points at the time). Then a 2nd small breakaway went of five riders but without UHC representation, it didn't have much of a chance. With 30 laps remaining UHC led the field with its entire 8 riders, while Barley, Carlos and I followed with Kenda lining up behind. Although there was some elbowing for the UHC train, eventually we claimed our place there for the finale.
It got very dark with 15 laps to go, only 3 or 4 large lights brightened the course but going through the tight course single file thanks to the blue train made for a relatively stress-free run into the finale. The course was quite large too, especially along the main straightaway, through corner 1 and even down in the treacherous but well-lit corner 2. On the finale lap, I accelerated past 4 of the 5 remaining UHC riders along the backstraight, but there wasn't enough distance to get over top. Into corner three, the speed was very high and it was dark as Barley and I tried to disrupt the UHC train in Carlos' favor. Out of corner 4, UHC, followed by myself and Karl bidding for second wheel. Thankfully he gave me enough space to survive the corner albeit I forfeit any continued leadout. Barley slammed on his brakes in corner three as he was boxed but this allowed Carlos to sweep through with full momentum. In the 250 left-turn sweep to the line, Carlos launched around the outside but Jake Keogh reacted and moved towards the barriers. Hilton Clarke (UHC) came through on the left, followed by Luca Damiani (Kenda) to finish 1-2. Carlos managed to squeak by for 3rd place on the day.
Now Luca leads in points by 2 (only 2!) ahead of Carlos.