SINGAPORE - Clever tactics and a tinge of luck helped Allied World Racing team to take gold in the OCBC Cycle 2022 Speedway Championships club category on Saturday (May 7).
The four-men team consisting of Reuben Bakker, Hasroy Osman, Jonas Trindler and Jay Bridge finished with a mean time of 18min 44.107sec after completing a 10km closed-road circuit along Stadium Drive. Anza Racing was second (18:49.347) with CycleTraining.cc third, just a second slower.
Returning after a two year hiatus, the club competition was full of drama. MatadorRACING were favourites after clocking 18:47.770 secs in the semi-finals but tricky road conditions after a passing shower undid their advantage.
At the halfway mark, there was little to separate the pack. Just one lap after the handover, a member from MatadorRACING skidded at a turn giving Allied World Racing captain Bakker a rare opportunity to capitalise.
"He went down, I saw his chain was off and it was gonna take another two, three seconds to put on. So I took off and tried to make the others work as hard as possible," the 41-year-old Canadian said.
"It's unfortunate that a competitor went down but in a short race like this where it could be decided by a difference of under a second. You have to take advantage of the situation."
He held on to the lead while Hasroy took second as a handful of spectators gathered at the finish line cheered.
Teammate Bridge said: "Winning by yourself is a good feeling but winning as a team is a better feeling, especially when you see your teammates do what these two guys did."
The Briton noted their efforts - waking up early to train four or five times every week - paid off and added that since returning from the pandemic to the competitive track, there has been a stronger sense of mutual respect between the various teams.
"It is competitive out there but I do think after the pandemic, it is quite a friendly scene. I have a lot of respect for the fellow cyclists and to the other teams. It felt good out there."
In the inaugural women's category, NDS were first in a time of 23:26.937, ahead of ANZARacingW (23:30.217) and Pedal Bellas Team 1 (23:46.310).
NDS captain Ava Woo said: "We came into the competition slightly nervous as the Speedway Championships was new to us and our team only decided to compete quite close to the race. Some of us are even 'Covid cyclists' who picked up the sports only recently. One of the biggest takeways from this experience is building teamwork and navigating challenges together."
In the corporate race, first-timer Singapore Cycling Federation took home the championship while OCBC Bank bagged second, followed by Shimano.
The OCBC Cycle 2022 City Ride, with 2,000 participants, will flag off on Sunday at 5am and 6.30am at Nicoll Highway.