Copeland back with a bang

James Copeland on his way to glory. Picture: Eamonn Deane/localriderslocalraces.com
James Copeland on his way to glory. Picture: Eamonn Deane/localriderslocalraces.com
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Jacob Vaughan leads Chris Opie, Rory Townsend and Jack Billyard into Boarhunt on the final lap of Portsdown Hill. Picture: Hugh McManus

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James Copeland banished painful memories of a broken shoulder blade with victory in the VC St Raphael Hard Riders time trial on Portsdown Hill last Sunday.

The Fareham Wheelers star got his season off to a triumphant start as he clocked 41min 37sec on the 18-mile course.

Copeland had only been back on the bike for six weeks after suffering his injury in a crash last autumn.

But that didn’t stop him beating Hampshire Road Club’s Tom Pritchard (41.46) into second, with James Mapley (42.26), from Blazing Saddles, taking third.

The event, which doubles as the curtain-raiser for the south district testing season and the opening round of the Sporting Time Trial Series, featured two different ascents of Portsdown Hill, including the Swivelton Lane climb used in the Perfs Pedal.

Last year’s winner, Chris McNamara, snapped his stem on the start line and was forced to withdraw.

However, Copeland and his Wheelers club-mates were on fine form.

Junior rider James Brickell clocked 43.35 for sixth spot, Paul Morris (45.10) was 12th and David Dalton (46.02) finished 16th.

Their efforts earned the Wheelers the team prize.

Host club VC St Raphael placed ninth, 10th and 13th through Andy Smith (44.04), Simon Berogna (44.23) and Andy Rivett (45.36), respectively.

i-Team junior Joe Clark was 17th in 46.18.

Simone Dailey, of a3crg, won the women’s event in 46.53. Despite taking a wrong turn, Wheelers’ Marianne Holt was fourth in 54.07.

And Matt Downie took the road bike category in a brilliant time of 41.53.