Delight for Luke Houghton as cycling’s return sees Verulam Reallymoving on top

Luke Houghton takes the win for Verulam Reallymoving at the Bovingdon Bomber. Picture: JUDITH PARRY

Luke Houghton takes the win for Verulam Reallymoving at the Bovingdon Bomber. Picture: JUDITH PARRY PHOTOGRAPHY - Credit: Archant

After a frustrating year with all racing cancelled Luke Houghton and Verulam Reallymoving have returned with a bang.

Luke Houghton in action for Verulam Reallymoving at the Bovingdon Bomber. Picture: JUDITH PARRY PHOT

Luke Houghton in action for Verulam Reallymoving at the Bovingdon Bomber. Picture: JUDITH PARRY PHOTOGRAPHY - Credit: Archant

The St Albans-based cycling race team were all set for a major assault on podium places and victories when the season was suddenly postponed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

For Houghton the annoyance was double, having missed the majority of the 2019 campaign with a serious elbow injury.

Luke Houghton in action for Verulam Reallymoving at the Bovingdon Bomber. Picture: JUDITH PARRY PHOT

Luke Houghton in action for Verulam Reallymoving at the Bovingdon Bomber. Picture: JUDITH PARRY PHOTOGRAPHY - Credit: Archant

But with racing now allowed in a modified form of the Bovingdon Bomber series, which utilises a closed road circuit at the former Bovingdon Airfield, Houghton and the squad have taken full advantage.

He said: “It’s awesome to be back racing at the Bovingdon Bomber. Andy Fleet from Hemel Cycling Club does such a good job at putting on a great event.

Matt Davey in action for Verulam Reallymoving at the Bovingdon Bomber. Picture: JUDITH PARRY PHOTOGR

Matt Davey in action for Verulam Reallymoving at the Bovingdon Bomber. Picture: JUDITH PARRY PHOTOGRAPHY - Credit: Archant

“Will Smith and I had great tactics in the first round, and put up a good showing.”

The new format of the series for 2020 falls in line with British Cycling’s COVID-19 guidelines.

Will Smith in action for Verulam Reallymoving at the Bovingdon Bomber. Picture: JUDITH PARRY PHOTOGR

Will Smith in action for Verulam Reallymoving at the Bovingdon Bomber. Picture: JUDITH PARRY PHOTOGRAPHY - Credit: Archant

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Instead of an hour-long race, riders now race in fields limited to 24 and over just a 15-minute period.

The events include short race followed by a points race with a scoring sprint every three laps.

Sam Hodges in action for Verulam Reallymoving at the Bovingdon Bomber. Picture: JUDITH PARRY PHOTOGR

Sam Hodges in action for Verulam Reallymoving at the Bovingdon Bomber. Picture: JUDITH PARRY PHOTOGRAPHY - Credit: Archant

It ends with another scratch race and the short punchy stages on a flat, fast and technical 1km circuit continue to produce thoroughly entertaining races.

The first round saw Houghton take the lead in the King of the Bomber 2020 points series while U16 Smith claimed a win and a second place in the category three and four points and scratch races.

Luke Houghton in action for Verulam Reallymoving at the Bovingdon Bomber. Picture: JUDITH PARRY PHOT

Luke Houghton in action for Verulam Reallymoving at the Bovingdon Bomber. Picture: JUDITH PARRY PHOTOGRAPHY - Credit: Archant

Defending series champion, and new Verulam signing, Sam Hodges took second place in the category one and two scratch with Matt Davey third in the points race.

The second round on Sunday saw Houghton cement his lead by winning both cat three and four races while George Olive took third and Davey fifth in the cat one and two points race.

Toby Hunt in action for Verulam Reallymoving at the Bovingdon Bomber. Picture: JUDITH PARRY PHOTOGRA

Toby Hunt in action for Verulam Reallymoving at the Bovingdon Bomber. Picture: JUDITH PARRY PHOTOGRAPHY - Credit: Archant

Houghton added: “I won races one and two with help from my team-mate Izzy Zimmerman in the bunch keeping things under control.

“We were under close guard from the Watford Velo riders who were aware of our strength but we managed to out-fox them in the final sprints.

“I placed fourth in the last race but overall I’m leading the King of the Bomber series so I’m really happy with the team so far.”

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