Tragic death overshadows Tom's Springtime Pursuit Series victory
THE THRILL of young Tom Baylis' overall victory in the Mid-Devon CC/Colin Lewis Cycles' Springtime Pursuit Series has inevitably been clouded by the death of Junior Heffernan – only 24 hours after he'd finished as runner-up in the third and final leg of the Series on the old A30 near Exeter.
Over a weekend which nobody on the South-West racing scene will forget, Baylis's fourth place in Race 3 was enough for the talented Junior rider from the host club to pip Peter Medhurst (Exeter University CC/Double Locks) for the overall title.
The 40-mile handicapped race had come together in the closing stages, with Mid-Devon duo Andrew Perkins and Mark Dolan working hard to prevent any breaks before the tough uphill finish.
But it was Medhurst who proved the strongest, winning (1hr 42mins 9secs) a four-man sprint, with Heffernan (Herbalife/Leisure Lakes) second, Exeter Wheelers' Andrew Feather third and Baylis fourth.
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Heffernan had been part of the 'Scratch' group which had chased down the earlier starters in the race near Ottery St. Mary.
Baylis' junior Mid-Devon teammate Joel Kelly was fifth, four seconds back.
Baylis' elder brother Seb, 18, who's just stepped out of the Mid-Devon jersey to sign pro for the new Madison-Genesis team, was eighth at seven seconds, just ahead of teammate Brennan Townshend.
Jake Durant was eleventh.
The race for 4th Category riders ended in a 1-2 for the Exeter University club – Jonathan Jones (1.49.36) beat Alex Todd by two seconds, with George Clews (Somerset RC/Bicyle Chain) third.
The Ladies' series was clinched by Ellie Gillham (VC St Raphael/Waites Contracts).
Gillham's big rival Natalie Grinczer (University of Birmingham) was right on her wheel again, but Gillham (28miles in 1.25.57) won the two-up sprint, with teammate Jennifer Hudson seven seconds back in third.
Mid-Devon's Carrie Hill was eighth, at 16 seconds.