Just 24 hours passed between round four and round five of the Matrix Fitness GP series, but Team WNT was raring to go as they arrived in Croydon for the penultimate race of the series.
Once again the teams were faced with a totally different style of circuit with Croydon posing the challenge of lots of technical corners and elevation changes as the course made its way around the town and under its flyover. Compounding the challenge was the fact that in typically British fashion, the weather had changed from glorious sunshine to cloud burst and lightening for good measure! Therefore, it was with mixed feelings Team WNT inspected the technical, wet course. Jo Tindley was very much hoping it would stay wet, with everyone else hoping it would dry, luckily for the bulk of the team the rain stopped and the course dried out in time for the race start.
Due to the nature of the course, and unlike the previous night in Stevenage, the race started splitting to pieces from the first lap and on lap three disaster struck for Jo, when she had a puncture that saw her complete almost a full lap on deflated front tubular tyre. Unlike most criterium races there are no laps out in the Matrix fitness GP for punctures, or crashes, so Jo got back round to the pits as quickly as she possibly could and jumped onto a spare bike. Her efforts meant that she was in the second chase group on the road and still in a points scoring position. So all was not lost.
Come half race distance Team WNT had Lydia Boylan and Natalie Grinczer in the thick of the front group, supported by Hannah Walker, with Jo in the second group. As the second sprint lap approached the race pace picked up considerably, causing further splits in the front group. While Lydia managed to be in the right place, Natalie got distanced, but she is still at the early stage of her learning curve in this type of event, so still a good experience for her. When the leaders took the bell Lydia was still well positioned and looking confident, she then made her move exiting one of the tightest corners on the circuit getting a gap! Coming out of the last corner with only the run up to the finish line she still had a slight advantage but the race win just wasn’t to be as Grace Garner of Podium Ambition took the win with Lydia holding on to take 4th place, a great effort!
Team WNT’s strong performance put them in 4th place on the night, maintaining 5th place overall in the series, with just 10 points difference between them and 4th place. So all to ride for in the final round in Portsmouth on the 9th June. Prior to the Portsmouth race Team WNT is ‘relaxing’ with a gentle ride with its competition winners.