Team manager Andy Moore hailed “probably one of the best results in our history” as Staveley’s cycling team made their presence felt in the prestigious Beaumont Trophy road race.
The event, which is part of the HSBC Road Series, is a national A-ranked race, complete with extensive TV coverage on Eurosport.
But in a star-studded line-up in the picturesque Northumberland village of Stamfordham, Damien ‘El Dynamo’ Clayton raced to a third-place podium spot for the Andy Moore Autocentres/J.E.James Racing team.
An elated Moore said: “Damo rode a champion’s race. A podium at national A-level is fabulous, and a magnificent achievement.”
Clayton showed no sign of being intimidated by a high-quality field that contained cyclists from all the major teams in the country.
He quickly settled into the pace and kept his cool when a number of breaks started to test the main bunch.
Eventually, a counter-attack took him clear of the peloton with a couple of fellow contenders, and a gap of 20 seconds opened up.
A secondary attack from the front of the pack created a strong leading group of seven riders, who made an impressive drive to get away, with Clayton firmly in tow.
The time advantage ebbed and flowed for a while, but on the final circuit, it was clear that the attack group had the race under control, having opened up a 24-second advantage over a peloton that appeared none too keen to close it down.
On the final run-in, Clayton showed absolute commitment to make the podium and he edged third spot in a magnificent lunge for the line.
Clayton was supported over the 187km of robust terrain by teammates Dean Watson and Aaron ‘Supersonic Smiffy’ Chambers-Smith.
Chambers-Smith was making his debut at this level and, initially, the youngster demonstrated considerable confidence within the peloton.
Watson looked similarly comfortable and rode in to a fine peloton finish, having done an excellent support-job for Clayton.
However, the race ended in disaster for Chambers-Smith when a tangle in the peloton led to him being involved in a spectacular 45mph crash.
He flew over the handlebars and was fortunate to escape serious injury, sustaining just cuts and bruises. But his Giant Propel bike was written off in the carnage.
Moore added: “How Smiffy avoided more injuries, we’ll never know. We’ve patched him up and he’s ready to go again. Up to that point, he had shown no sign of nerves in an accomplished display.
“Deano rode a very solid race and supported the team superbly. Overall, it’s been another fantastic week for us.
“We also got good exposure on TV and in social media. The coverage was huge, and great for everyone associated with the team.”