This past weekend Team Flamme Rouge rode the Will Houghton Trophy road race, based from Oakley in Oxfordshire. The event itself has been running for the past 10+ years and was formally known as the Oakley Village road race but following the tragic loss of Will Houghton in 2016 was renamed in his memory with all proceeds from the race going to the foundation setup in his honour.
The race itself was based on 6 laps of a fairly flat circuit with one small, punchy climb
every lap up to the finish. The speed was high from the gun with no early move being allowed any space in the first hour of racing. Jack attacked after the finish line on lap three and managed to get a small gap, stringing the bunch into the gutter, sensing an opportunity myself and Alex both jumped onto the back of the next few riders bridging across making a group of approx. 7 containing three Flamme Rouge riders. Unfortunately, Vision Innovative Leisure sensing the danger rode the move back fairly quickly.
With the average speed sitting around 27mph it was going to take a monster effort for anything to get away, Jack tried again with 2.5 laps to go and rode off with two others, but again this was ridden back by Vision within 1 lap. All things look set for a bunch kick, a few more moves went off the front with one lap to go but due to the speed over the top half of the circuit looked doomed.
With 5 miles left to race Alex and Jack got on the front and slowly pulled the remaining riders back, allowing them to hang out as long as possible to deter any counter attacks, mopping up the final solo escapee with 1 mile to go, myself having been sat third wheel the whole time getting an easy ride.
Following the last few monster turns from Jack and Alex, I was dropped off perfectly at the base of the climb, sitting pretty on the front row I started to turn the screw to see who had the minerals, Josh Avery from Vision kicked first which I followed, gaining us a fairly large gap from the rest of the bunch, he lead it out round the final corner at which point I kicked again to comfortably take the win.
Thanks to some selfless and classy riding from Jack and Alex we got the result we have been chasing for the last few months. We have had many seconds, thirds and fourths between us, so to finally get the win was a relief and goes to show when you ride as a team unit, the results will eventually come!
As always thankyou to the wonderful sponsors who make it all possible.