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Alexander Miller makes most of good fortune to steal early march

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Off to a winning start: Alexander Miller, who claimed victory in the Fat Tire Massive Series season opener at the Arboretum (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Lurking with intent: Liam Flannery (2) stayed in close proximity to race leader Alexander Miller (12) until a broken chain halted his charge for victory. Flannery ultimately had to settle for third place (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Fat Tire Massive Series season opener at the Arboretum (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Fat Tire Massive Series season opener at the Arboretum (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Fat Tire Massive Mountain Bike Series Race 1 at the Arboretum (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Fat Tire Massive Series season opener at the Arboretum (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Alexander Miller got off to the perfect start in this year’s Fat Tire Massive race series by claiming victory in the season opener at the Arboretum yesterday.

Competing in the Male Open 60 minute category, Miller signalled his intent from the start line, leading from the front with close friend and main rival Liam Flannery in proximity.

It soon became clear that it would be a straight head-to-head battle between the pair with Flannery keeping on Miller’s back wheel, seemingly waiting for his moment to make an attack with the clock winding down.

However, just as the race looked set for a thrilling finale, disaster struck for Flannery as his chain snapped on the twelfth lap.

That allowed a relieved Miller to complete not only that lap, but an extra one as well, before the 60 minute countdown finished to take the chequered flag as clear winner with 13 laps completed in a time of 1hr 54sec.

Flannery’s untimely misfortune also allowed Alan Potts to overtake him and clinch second place having completed 13 laps in 1:04:15 with the former to his credit, completing his final lap on foot, to at least claim a deserved place on the podium in a time of 1:00:33.

“I’m delighted to get off to the perfect start to the new season,” said Miller, who scooped the maximum 25 points.

“I tried to go all out from the start and then settle into a rhythm. After the first lap it was only Liam on my wheel and it was between the two of us lap after lap.

“I kept trying to put some pressure on him but there was never a gap between us until his chain snapped, which I’ll admit made me feel a little relieved.

“I was just waiting for him attack but then thankfully for my part I could finish without that pressure.”

A disappointed Flannery, who goes into third in the standings on 20 points, two adrift of Potts, was ultimately left to rue the late mishap which scuppered his charge for victory.

“It was massively disappointing that my chain snapped when it did,” he said. “I decided to run the rest of the last lap to try and give myself a chance of still getting on the podium.

“It was annoying to end the race the way I did but I guess it was lucky it happened when it did because it was so late in the race and I could still run my bike to the finish line.

“I’m obviously disappointed but overall I was pleased with how I raced until that moment and being able to keep pace with Alexander.”

Jennifer Lightbourne took the honours as the sole entrant in the Female Open 60 minute race, completing eight laps in a time of 57:15.

Nico Davis gave an impressive display to claim a dominant victory in the Open Male 30 minute race, completing six laps in 34:02.

More than a minute behind in an exciting sprint finish for the line, Alec Shepherd took second place, completing six laps in 35: 09 pipping Jonathan Betts, who completed the same amount of laps in 35: 13.

Jennifer Wilson was also in superb form to clinch a comfortable win in the Female Open 30 minute race. Completing five laps she crossed the line in 30:13 more than three minutes ahead of nearest rival Caroline Wright (33:17) with Christine Soutter completing the podium in 35:01.

In a closely fought Male 13 to 16 race, Gordon Smith took top honours, completing five laps in 30:11. Just six seconds behind also completing five laps was Jackson Langley with Tyler Coleman completing the top three, riding the same amount of laps in 35: 56.

Zylah Bean was the sole entrant in the Female 13 to 16 event, completing a total of four laps in a time of 41: 24.

A strongly contested Male 12 and under race saw Reeve Johnson take top spot after he completed five laps of the shortened course in 15:14. Also finishing with five laps were second-placed Jacob Wright in 15:25 and Makao Butterfield third in 16:47.

Meanwhile honours went to S’Nya Cumbermack in the Female 12 and under race after she completed a total of five laps in a winning time of 17:41. Daisy Langley clinched second place, finishing four laps in 15:31 with Lauren Simons completing the podium places, also completing four laps in 19:27.

The series continues with race two at Casemates in Royal Navy Dockyard on December 13.

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Published November 30, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated November 30, 2020 at 7:52 am)

Alexander Miller makes most of good fortune to steal early march

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