Cycling: More success for Verulam Reallymoving racers

Tom Martin was third in his latest junior race

Tom Martin was third in his latest junior race - Credit: Archant

Verulam Reallymoving’s racing team had a busy, and successful, weekend at home and abroad.

Luke Houghton was second in Ettelgem

Luke Houghton was second in Ettelgem - Credit: Archant

They fielded a strong squad of Michael Parry, Clay Davies, Luke Houghton, Sam Reed, Marcel Six and Gavin Bench to race in Belgium.

And in Koekelare on Friday, Paul McGrath showed the St Albans-based team were on strong form and ready to take on everything the Northern European teams could offer.

McGrath’s early attacks off the front of the peloton put the entire field under pressure from the start and although he was caught, Davies took sixth and Houghton ninth.

The team moved to Ettelgem in West Flanders on Saturday where, in pouring rain and thanks to Reed, Parry and McGrath’s efforts to close down breaks, Houghton scored his highest result in Europe to date, taking second place over difficult road surfaces around the 5k village circuit.

He said: “Paul and I were in the break from the start and Clay bridged across about halfway through, but dropped back to the peloton.

“Paul dropped back with about three laps to go, Michael and Sam covered and blocked attacks from the peloton behind to keep the breakaway in front, including chasing down attacks from the Belgian national champion.

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“We stayed away, with about 20 seconds gap most of the time, and I managed to take second place at the line.”

Further torrential rain in Langemarck on Sunday did nothing to dampen the team’s resolve and spirits, with McGrath an excellent ninth in treacherous conditions.

Nearer to home on Sunday, but in similar conditions, James Hedley-Smith was an impressive eighth in the prestigious Shutt Ridley RT Road Race.

However, it was off-road cyclocross racing in Milton Keynes that brought further podiums, with Tom Martin an excellent third in the Junior category of the CCXL Velobants CC races.

Verulam Reallymoving veterans Liz McKie and John Jones also performed well at the event, finishing third and seventh respectively in their races on the Campbell Park cyclocross course in the centre of Milton Keynes.

Marcel Six said: “The boys did extremely well in Belgium – it was great to see them mixing it up and to see the younger seniors showing their progress.”