Date: 17 April 2010
Event: Eagle Road Club Criteriums
Venue: Hogg Hill
Category 3rds and 4ths
Junior Southend Wheeler George Pearl (17) rounded off a recent string of top ten places with an impressive win on Saturday. Just 10 minutes into the 1 hour race, Pearl started to wind up the pace forcing a ‘trademark’ break from the bunch, taking two riders away with him. Of the 71 mostly senior riders the two were, like Pearl, both Juniors, Alex Peters of CC Hackney and Mat Cook of API Metrow. The gap from the bunch immediately stretched to 6 seconds. Pearl, knowing, that to stay away until the finish, the lead would need to be at least 40 seconds, drove his small group on to commit to the break, barking orders to ride ever harder each time they came to the hill, and maintain the pace on the flat sections. The lead continued to extend until at the halfway mark the pace on the day became too much for Cook and he dropped off, eventually to be engulfed by the chasing bunch, but not before he had bravely helped drive the lead out to 40 seconds. Lap after lap the two continued to increase their lead until with the gap at a minute two riders broke free from the bunch and started to make progress on Pearl and Peters. The chasing two closed the gap to 45 seconds with the chasing bunch now at I min 10 secs at which point the gaps stabilised. In the last 3 laps the Pearl and Peters partnership was dissolved as both prepared to settle the final outcome. Pearl, never wanting to leave it until a final sprint, tried all his usual tricks and tactics but could not shake Peters off and was forced to sprint it out for the chequered flag. Coming up the hill towards the line the two were wheel to wheel and in the final surge there was still nothing between. As they crossed the line the watching crowd audibly groaned, as by eyesight alone is was not possible to determine the winner. There was a long painful wait as the judges went back over the video but eventually Pearl was announced as the winner which was cause for a double celebration as this win confirmed Pearl’s promotion from 3rd to 2nd category rider which means that in future races Pearl will be up against some of the best senior riders in the country including local heroes Jason White (www.cyclepremier.com – Metalak) and Dean Shannon (Team Orbea For Goodness Shakes) .