It has taken me a while to write this, 2020 has been a very hard year for many reason and racing was obviously very limited, but then you sit down to think of what a team that was only started at the end of December 2019 has achieved and grown to, and it fills you with a great sense of pride and achievement.
The season started at the end of February. Nopinz had in a very short time not only managed to design our team kit but also ship some out to riders meaning Jake Sargent managed to get hold of the first skinsuit to wear on race day. Also lining up where team mates Felix Wilkinson and Mike Davies. I remember it well, a wet and cold day with strong winds on a course that was tough on a good day. I was sat on the side of the road well wrapped up and timings showed Jake, who was now being coached by FTP Cycle Coaching, and team mate Felix was very close. Felix had a pedigree for results and Jake was still building into timetrials. Racing an old giant road bike with some TT bars on it so was a big step up. Mike was making a return to TT after a year focusing on and having a successful year in crit racing and made a solid return with 8th overall and would really get back into the swing of TT over the season. Timing on the course showed pretty much nothing between Jake and Felix with both being a fair distance ahead of the rest.
The gather around the result board (one of the biggest things I’ve missed in racing over the races during COVID) was a tense one, the results came in with Jake pinching it by a 10 seconds and grabbing his first ever open win. This was backed up on the opening weekend for the team with Jo Buckland taking the vet class on the U102 the day before in very tough conditions. You would think that was enough for an opening weekend when very few of the team had braved the early start to the year but Tom Bowden and Sasha Smith still had some road racing to contend with Tom unfortunately suffered a mechanical after chasing down the break and Sasha got a 2nd place in the last odd down winter series race of the year.
1st of March was the DB max event at Castle Combe, great events ran very smoothly and always produces some quality action! This was a good chance for some of the team to test the early season race legs. Castle Combe was windy and cold and the rain kept coming and going. Today was an open event but had a big team prize which was based of finishing positions in your category, we knew we had a strong bunch of riders but not the spread over all the age groups that was generally needed in these events, out on course was Sasha and Deacon both on their road bikes and Steve Bray, Jo Buckland, Mark Hudson and Felix flying around on TT bikes. Everyone finished shivering but luckily avoiding the rain. Huddled around for a team chat after we thought we would do our bit and cheer on the winners on the day, 3rd place got called out, it wasn’t us so I guessed we were probably 4th , 2nd called out then 1st place FTP racing we all stop our chat and look at each other as they call it out again, with Felix dominating the race with a big win, Mark Hudson winning his age group , Jo and Sasha winning theirs and Deacon and Steve finishing highly in theirs was enough to win the overall.
Results were coming in fast with Will Murtagh taking a 5th place in a local 10 mile TT and Jo smashing her course pb on the R10/17 and taking 1st Female and Mike Davis taking 6th at the hardriders in Swindon. The weather was really knocking a lot of the races out with many of the team getting events cancelled and then COVID happened.
With no racing team rider Tom Bowden took to another mission and went for a Everest Challenge, a 8848 meters of climbing effort and all for NHS charities raising £1600 in the process.
We were also very lucky to add Haiko cycling to our list of sponsors in June helping the team build going forward with more support.
Some racing was trying to come back and DB max and Andy Cook cycling was putting on events at Castle Combe and the team where coming back strong and grabbing both power and time pb’s on the race circuit course. Josh, Anthony, Jeff, Deacon and Mike all made sure that the team name was consistently at the top of the leader board every time they raced. Some open TT racing was coming back with Felix, Jo, Steve and Rory racing the Latton evening 10 series with Felix ending up taking the overall win in the series at the end of the season winning every race he entered. Latton was a great course for the team with Arthur Franklin also coming out to take a win on the course over the series. Tim McEvoy did a 30 mph average ride on the E2/50 course to take 7th overall in an extremely strong field with it being one of the only fast 50s of the year.
West DC had worked hard to get events back on and put out a call to arms to try and get events running again, we had decided it wasn’t enough to praise the organisers putting on the events in challenging times but also join them and put on a team event and the 29th of August was the date and the mighty U7B was the course. But before that we had the National 100 mile TT to look forward to. We had a super strong team out with Arthur Franklin, Tim McEvoy, Jake Sargent and Rory Gilling all taking to the start, but for some 100 wasn’t enough as Tim took on a 12 hour race finishing with a huge 303 miles and 4th place the week before. The day of the 100 we also had Felix out racing the H25/1 and taking a convincing win. The team battled hard with Arthur Franklin having his race hampered by bad cramps in the second half but battled for 5th overall, Jake again performing very strong with 11th and 2nd U23, Tim coming home close behind with 16th and Rory who hit a pothole causing the bars to drop but managed to finish with a respectable 43rd in a very strong and large field, the team claimed 2nd place on the day.
The FTP racing event was ready to go a 112 rider field and a hugely impressive prize list provided by our great sponsored meant we could give £750 to the teams chosen charity of Bristol Mind who we have been very proudly supporting from the early stages of the team. A great day of racing with the course record nearly going from a flying David Janes and the team winning the overall team prize in what was a hugely proud day for the team as we stood up as a small group to put on an event in challenging times and proved we are not just here to make up numbers but also be part of the racing scene in the West. It got even better as Jo Buckland took 2nd in her age group at the national 10 and Felix finished strong 16th and Steve bray on his way to a strong ride until the mechanical gremlin came out to unship the chain just before the long drag.
The 100 trio of Jake, Arthur and Tim got another bash at 100 miles with the A100/4 and they took the chance to smash the old team comp record but it wouldn’t be theirs to keep with the record being beaten again by the team from GS Metro in style, but the team really showed there class and that there is much more to come from the trio.
It came down to hill climb season but there was still time for Tim McEvoy to attempt the circuit of Bodmin Moor record with the road records association. In a horrendous day Tim had to pull the attempt not far from the end as conditions really hampered his effort but I’m sure this won’t be his last attempt at it so watch this space. Hill climb season started and a few of the team who had missed the racing fix had the chance to at least get an effort in and a number on their back. Sasha, Corrine and new team rider Charlotte really hit the hills on the woman’s side of the team and the 3 took the WTTA series win and both Sasha and Charlotte putting in great efforts at the national hill climb a few weeks later. Jo Buckland still wasn’t finished either, taking 3rd in the national VTTA championship and 3rd in the BMRC championship really showing her class and doing both the team and FTP Cycle Coaching very proud. The female side of the team really showed their class this short season and we can’t wait to see what they can do in 2021.
So what does 2021 hold for the team? We have already picked up two new riders in Sam Westlake and Syd Brown on the men’s road team, we will be pushing hard to build the woman’s side both road and TT and continue to grow the club side allowing people the chance to ride under the team banner and get the help and support of being in a group of riders focused on racing and a love for the sport.
We have also stepped up and will be running a full series next year with an open 10 on the 10th April, A 25 on the 23rd of May, A 50 on the 30th may and a 100 on the 13th of June all making up an overall series and part of the west DC short best all-rounder. We are also running a hill climb at the end of the year finishing in style on the 23rd October.
All of this wouldn’t of been possible without our kind sponsors, Nopinz and IDkit who first help support the dream, Bomber Bikeworks that have also been there from the start and supported every step we have taken, 76 Projects who have been very generous in supporting the team and our event and we look forward to growing with next year, Haiko Cycling who came on board to support the growth of the team going forward as we try and grow in 2021 and beyond, again we are hugely honoured and proud to support Bristol Mind the mental health charity going forward. Special mentions go to the team and club riders who continue to help the team grow and show the set up in a great light, and a thank you to Tony Russell who runs the website and Will Hamilton who runs the club social rides.
The support for the team and what we are trying to achieve has been very humbling and we have set our standards high, who knows what 2021 will hold but we will work hard to support the sport we love. If you would like to be part of the team or club please check out our page at www.ftpracing.co.uk follow us @fulfilthepotentialracing on Facebook or Instagram!