A sizzling performance by the in-form Dean Watson matched the mini-heatwave on another day to remember for the Staveley-based Andy Moore Autocentres/J.E.James Racing team.
With confidence riding high after an impressive performance on his previous outing, Watson switched to the discipline of closed-circuit criterium racing in a bid to maintain the team’s stunning early-season run.
And despite taking on a field of top-quality competitors in the Elite 3RT Race Series, he pulled off a magnificent second place on the podium, while teammate Andy Bishop finished eighth and junior Aaron Chambers-Smith also performed well.
The management team would have been happy simply to get points on the board at such a high national level. But it soon became clear that Watson had bigger targets in mind and sprang a surprise attack that set the race alight.
Out of nowhere, he sprinted clear of the group and after three laps of maximum effort by the schoolteacher from Doncaster, the professional riders and top-level amateurs in the field realised he meant business.
Ed Hopper, of the UK’s top-ranked outfit, Pro-Team Ribble, bridged the gap for a thrilling duel. But a splinter group fromn the peloton couldn’t catch them, and Watson was able to seal second spot.
The icing on the cake for the Moore team was Bishop launching a final-lap attack that blew the group apart and left the peloton for dead.