Croft earns Perfs Pedal honour

Calum Croft follows the wheel of Chris McNamara in the Perfs Pedal. Picture: Larry Hickmott/VeloUK.net
Calum Croft follows the wheel of Chris McNamara in the Perfs Pedal. Picture: Larry Hickmott/VeloUK.net
Mike Williams on his way to second place in the veteran 50 race last month. Picture: Neil Marshall (171322-123)

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Calum Croft won the inaugural James Atherton & Richard Phillips-Schofield Award at the 50th Perfs Pedal.

The 26-year-old, from Bridport in Dorset, finished in 13th spot – 3min 25sec adrift of winner Yanto Barker.

It was enough to see him pick up the trophy, which is given to the best-placed 2nd cat rider from British Cycling’s south region.

The award was introduced in 2012 in memory of VC St Raphael rider James Atherton, who was killed while training in the New Forest in 2013.

In March of last year, his close friend Richard Phillips-Schofield died after a tragic accident while competing on the Mountbatten Centre circuit in Portsmouth.

And the Perfs Pedal organisers decided to pay tribute to both men and rename the title.

Croft was delighted to accept the trophy, particularly after such a hard race.

He said: ‘It is an honour to win the award.

‘The race was a bit of a shock to the system at the start of the year.

‘I knew it was going to be tough, so when I got to the first climb I knew I just had to go.

‘It split and I thought yes, I’m in the front group!

‘It was nice to be surrounded by all these incredible guys.’

As the race developed and the ONE Pro Cycling team turned up the heat, Croft joined forces with Pedal Heaven’s Chris McNamara and Al Murison of Easton Ritte Racing.

They broke from the main group and set off in pursuit of Barker & Co at the front of the race.

‘I just slipped off the front at one point with Al and Chris and before I knew it we were in a little three-man chasing group,’ said Croft.

‘And we more or less took that to the line.

‘It was a good feeling.’

Croft has made an encouraging start to the season, with success in circuit races already.

And he has also linked up with Team Primera-TBCUK, which he hopes will help give him an extra edge as the campaign progresses.

Croft said: ‘I have won already in Bath but just little crits, nothing quite like this.

‘But it is good to come to a race like this and be able to stick with it.

‘I knew if I could do well here, just outside the top 10, that’s brilliant because when I am in 2nd cat races or more regional things where there aren’t some of the best riders in the country, I know I can potentially be one of the protagonists.

‘It’s great to have the support of Primera, too.

‘I have always travelled around a bit on my own. I’m always a bit of a lone ranger.

‘But this year it will be good to have that extra support along the way.’

Click here for a gallery of pictures from the 50th Perfs Pedal.

Picture kindly supplied by VeloUk.net