After being boxed in by former Belgian bike racer Wolf in the run up to Saturday morning’s Regents Park sprint, it was fitting that The Wattmeister should spend the Sunday commentating on a bike race named in the memory of 1952 Belgian professional champion Jozef or Jef Schils.
The 127 km event organised by Patrick, Nicky and Natalie Schils of INTERBIKE, Mark’s Tey, took place over nine circuits of a generally flat course comprising the roads around Abberton Reservoir, Layer de la Haye and Birch Green near Colchester in Essex.
Beautiful weather reigned supreme. Spectators spread out on the village green adjacent to the Hare and Hounds pub. Despite the fact that The Wattmeister and his colleague, Paul Gage had only partaken of one pint of shandy, the Hot Spot Sprint became quite a tongue twister, and when Tom Fitzpatrick of Diss and District CC got into the decisive break, the enunciation problems really started.
During the course of the race, various riders who were forced to pull out came by and gave us an insight into what the race felt like. It was very fast. There was quite a stiff headwind on the open stretch of road which crosses the reservoir and recovery on the bike was difficult.
A couple of racers suffered mechanical issues which could not be resolved by the neutral service cars and two more endured the indignity of crashing, mercifully without serious injury. If you know you are getting older when policemen look younger, then these bike racers make you feel positively decrepit.
They could all do with fattening up too!