Team Bike Sale
Endura Racing Win 2012 Tour Series
Endura Racing won the 2012 Halfords Tour Series with a dominant performance throughout the twelve race series with seven team wins and two individual victories each for Scott Thwaites and Zak Dempster.
The final round in Stoke-on-Trent started in the dry but the wind made its intentions known by blowing barriers down during the period before the first race, the inaugural Tommy Godwin Team Time Trial. As series leaders, the team were last off chasing Rapha Condor Sharp's time. The TTT was held over two laps of the 1.2km circuit in Hanley town centre and after the first lap, we were slightly down on the leading time. A faster second lap wasn’t enough however to bring victory and finished the race in third place behind Rapha Condor Sharp and Team UK Youth.
The riders then had a few hours to relax before the final circuit race of the series and whilst they did so, the rain blew in and it was to be a wet race. As has been the case in all the previous rounds, Endura Racing were mixing it at the front during the early skirmishes but unlike Woking where they dominated, this time it was the team of Node 4 - Giordana, racing in their home round, who went on the attack.
They sent New Zealand circuit race champion Mike Northey up the road and from that, a break of six formed with three Aussies; Bernie Sulzberger (Raleigh-GAC), Zak, Richard Lang (Rapha Condor Sharp) and Zak, Kiwi Mike Northey Node4-Giordana) and two Brits, Stephen Adams (Cycle Premier Kovert) and Yanto Barker (Team UK Youth). They soon had a solid lead and we soon started to fire lone riders up the road to try and join them from the bunch. Ian Bibby was looking like his old self and riding strongly off the front of the chasers and then another rider who has struggled in the series at times, Ian Wilkinson, joined a chase group of six riders. They weren’t going to catch the leaders but with the other major teams in the chase group, Wilkinson was there protecting Endura Racing’s interest in winning the team award.
Into the closing laps, the rain got heavier and the wind making it very cold. With the light almost gone, Bernie Sulzberger slipped away into the shadows with just over a lap to go. Zak waited for his moment but his fellow Australian, Sulzberger, was too strong and Dempster finished third behind Mike Northey.
The race though wasn’t over and Ian Wilkinson won the sprint for seventh, but even with third and seventh, that wasn’t enough for the series leaders to win the round as our next rider was further down the results and as in the Team Time Trial, the team finished 3rd. Whilst the individual and team wins on the night though escaped them, the team did have plenty of reasons for celebrating with their first series win now a reality. Champagne flowed as the team, riders and staff, were brought up onto the podium to celebrate the victory and the all important target for the team had been achieved.
Final Team Standings
1. Endura Racing, 110pts
2. Rapha Condor Sharp, 93pts
3. Team UK Youth, 92pts
4. Team Raleigh - GAC, 89pts
5. Node4 - Giordana Racing, 88pts
6. Cycle Premier - Kovert, 53pts
7. Team IG - Sigma Sport, 45pts
8. Metaltek Scott, 42pts
9. Herbalife LeisureLikesBikes, 26pts
10. Team Hope Factory, 21pts
It’s really satisfying to get this win which was important for every UK team so it’s great for us to win the series and wrap it up in such convincing fashion. Incredibly satisfying for everyone involved, not just for the five guys here tonight, but the others who helped out, Erick (Rowsell), Dean (Windsor), and Russell (Downing).
I hope for Jim at Endura it’s a good repayment for his great investment in cycling. There hasn’t been a British Continental team do so much in a season as we have done so far and it’s been great to be part of that and for me personally, it feels really good.
I knew I would be watched and went away early and attacked the break to show I wasn’t there to muck around and I spent a few laps on my own. On this course, with the uphill and downhill, you could really smash the hill so I think I should have gone earlier on my own or tried to do what Bernie did. Fair play to Bernie though, he’s a quality bike rider and deserved to win a round of the series as he’s been a big part of the series in the sprints.
I’m going to have tomorrow off and go to the beach (Zak is based in Spain) and relax for the day and then Saturday, I’ll start my preparation for the race in the Czech Republic and I’m not going to take a mid season break but keep the ball rolling. I have all this confidence and all this condition so I’ve relaxed this week and now it’s time to fight for wins in the races for the rest of the season. I don’t see any reason why I or anyone of us can’t win a UCI 2.1 race in Europe and that’s what we want to do, what we’re here to do so look out!
Julian Winn (Sporting Director):
In a team time trial over such a short distance, the gaps were going to be close and it only needed you to take a corner wrong and that could be the difference. They all came back and said I did this bit wrong and that bit wrong. If they’d trained for it, I’d be disappointed but they just rocked up, we talked about it half an hour before and they went out and did their best. I’m quite happy and even happier that one is over with!
It’s fantastic to win. Winning the Halfords Tour Series has been one of the projects for this year, a big target for us and we made no secret of that. We did all we could with staff and riders to win so it’s mission accomplished. That means a lot and everyone has done a good job. I’d like to have finished the series as we started and we went out all guns blazing but it wasn’t to be.
The plan for the series was to keep the same five riders right from the word go. A month before the series, the team was decided on and I got the riders to do some stage races in preparation for the series and have the riders talking to each other; creating a "Tour Series group”. Unfortunately, we lost Dean (Windsor) and Zak wouldn’t be here if Dean hadn’t crashed. But, we had a perfect replacement for Dean with Zak and he knew he was going to be called up as a first reserve. Zak had Tour Series experience so he made the ideal replacement.
You can catch all of the action from The Halfords Tour Series exclusively on ITV4 once again this summer - click here to see the up-to-date transmission schedule.
Click here for results and series standings from the Halfords Tour Series