Hill challenges junior Wheelers to learn from Perfs

The Fareham Wheelers talents are put through their paces before the race by the club's head coach Chester Hill. Picture: Rob Atkins
The Fareham Wheelers talents are put through their paces before the race by the club's head coach Chester Hill. Picture: Rob Atkins
Mike Williams on his way to second place in the veteran 50 race last month. Picture: Neil Marshall (171322-123)

Wheelers prepare for Wessex war

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Chester Hill described the Perfs Pedal as a ‘big eye-opener’ for his Fareham Wheelers quartet.

But the club’s head coach has challenged each of his riders to learn from the experience.

Brendan Drewett, Harvey Morcombe, both 17, Doug Tandy, 18, and James Brickell, 16, were all withdrawn by the commissaires after the opening two laps of Portsdown Hill.

Detached from the main bunch as the elite riders put the hammer down, they were removed on safety grounds – along with a raft of other racers.

Hill reckons it was an indicator of the talent on show at the event.

But he is confident his riders, who are all still juniors, will improve after watching some of the best riders in the land at close quarters.

‘It was a big eye-opener for them,’ said Hill.

‘They have not done a huge amount of road racing.

‘And it is worth bearing in mind you had domestic pros there on Sunday.

‘You saw with ONE Pro Cycling bringing the likes of Yanto Barker and Chris Opie, they are some of the best riders in GB.

‘It was not far off a Premier Calendar-standard race.

‘Maybe not in terms of the spread of teams but certainly in the quality of the top guys.

‘So for us, it is about taking the learning points from the race and actioning that in training.

‘You have to mentally sort it out and say these are some of the best riders we are racing against.

‘And this is still early days for us.

‘So it is just about reflecting on it, taking the learning points home and keeping going.’

While the Perfs Pedal was something of a baptism of fire for the Wheelers quartet, Hill does not believe there will be any lasting scars.

‘It will always affect them for a few days,’ he said.

‘People like to win. We all have egos which need appeasing at some point and they are no different.

‘They just need to go away, chill out and come back knowing the races we are looking at in the next few months will be of a lower standard.

‘But that is where they need to put into practice what they have learned.

‘For example, they were talking about stopping at the top of a climb during training.

‘But Harvey has just said we need to be training over the top of the climbs more.

‘And when you look at the circuit, that’s the way it works in these races.

‘You get to the top of that climb, that’s where people’s legs are at their weakest and it is at that point when you can cause splits or be on the wrong side of splits.’

Hill, who has plenty of experience of the domestic road racing circuit, reckons his troops have time on their side.

‘You have got riders here, like Chris McNamara, who I was racing against five or 10 years ago,’ said the Wheelers head coach.

‘He has been racing at this level longer than these guys have been riding their bikes.

‘So riding as a junior, these guys have got to realise it is going to take one, two, three or four years to get to this level.

‘But if they keep at it and keep working, they will get there.

‘And they will get there faster if they take on the learning points and action those things.’

There was better news for Hayling Island’s Tom Morris.

The Portsmouth North End rider crossed the line in 18th spot after a gruelling 72km battle.

He finished 4min 22sec behind winner Yanto Barker, while VC St Raphael duo David Billings (+4.50) and James Champken (+6.00) finished 38th and 43rd respectively.

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