Race Report: Goodwood Gallops #2 - Flat as a pancake.

Goodwood race circuit is known for its car racing heritage; for over a century it's been a venue that classic racing cars have blasted round at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. The less common use is as a bike racing venue, and up until a few years ago it was a regular weekly race meet for south coast racers.

The series was dropped from the calendar for a few years, but now it's back, and as popular as ever. Last week was the first meet, but I was a bit under the weather, so this week was my first outing at the Chichester venue...

The course is flat, I mean completely flat; there isn't any reason to change between two or three sprockets for the majority of the race. The corners are pretty wide and sweeping too, and don't require much braking to navigate. Couple that with the fact that from most points on the circuit you can see the rest of the circuit, and it means a breakaway attempt is pretty unlikely; you'll have a job to get 'out of sight, out of mind' here. This all means that this really isn't a great circuit for me, and without wanting to sound negative, I kind of knew that before I started.

The race is effectively a pursuit race; with the 4th Cats setting off first, then the 3rd Cats and finally the E.1.2 ranks. The result is the potential for one massive sprint at the end; we're talking 100+ riders!

With the above in mind, and the nature of the course, I decided a breakaway was my only real (though slim) chance, as going up against the leadout trains of the big teams was never going to hold much hope. 

So, I gave it a shot; two or three times I gave a kick off the front to try and get a gap, and each time we were quickly reeled back in. The best attempt was actually on the penultimate lap, when three of us got a decent gap and started working together well; unfortunately once the big teams realised this, they soon took up the pace in the peloton and pulled us back.

After that last attempt I was pretty shot. I sat towards the front of the back to avoid getting mixed up in the chopping going on towards the back, but I knew I had nothing there for the sprint. I rolled across the line safely in the bunch. 

It was a good race, but not really my kind of circuit. It makes for a very late mid-week night too. I won't be too fussed about going back too soon, Thruxton race circuit is more up my street. That said, it was good fun to give it a go, and race around the iconic motor circuit on a dry spring evening.

Off to Provence next week for a bit of Enduro mountain biking. Can't wait! 


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