THE second Stella Farrell Exmoor GP 50-mile cycle race, promoted by Minehead Cycling Club, took place over four laps of a hilly circuit based at Wheddon Cross.
Stella Farrell is a Minehead resident who was a prolific racer in the 1940s and 50s when women’s racing was in its infancy. She was a multiple national champion and record holder in time trials and on the track and is Minehead Cycling Club’s most famed rider.
The race started steadily until Winsford, where Giles Hawkright, riding for the London Dynamo club, won a special prize for being first through the village.
A split in the race took place on the second lap as the riders tackled the steep climb up from Luckwell Bridge, with a group of ten quickly establishing a gap of around a minute on the rest of the field.
They rode well together, ensuring that the remaining riders would not catch them, and extended their advantage to over three minutes despite some determined chasing until, on the fourth and final climb from Luckwell Bridge, the lead group was whittled down to seven.
On the final time through Winsford, one rider attacked and looked to have made a winning move, but the group gradually reined him and he was finally caught with two kilometres to go.
The final kilometre saw 17-year-old George Kimber from the Exmouth based CS Dynamo club pull away up the final climb to the finish at Wheddon Cross to win the race.
A sprint for second place was won by Robert Borek of Bristol based DRK Racing, narrowly out-sprinting local favourite Graham Collins from Minehead of Team Tor 2000 Kalas.
The races were well supported by the local Wheddon Cross business community, Exmoor Bikes, Shearwell Data and Stuart Lowen Butchers in Minehead.
Race Director Briony Turner said that after the riders had produced a terrific race in last year’s inaugural event, Minehead Cycling Club were thrilled that this year’s was even more exciting, with many local residents watching.
The club is promoting a series of circuit races around Minehead Town Centre on Sunday September 10 as part of the Minehead Festival of Wheels, and the prestigious Porlock Hill Climb takes place on Sunday September 24.