Nicholas Narraway eyes national title after triumphant return
Nicholas Narraway is relishing the challenge of battling for national honours after savouring victory in the Bermuda Bicycle Association Road Race on Sunday.
Having returned to the island ahead of the time-trial championships on June 17 and road-race championship a week later, the 20-year-old received an early confidence boost by winning the A division in a time of 1hr 32min 25sec, ahead of Sinclair Packwood Memorial Race champion Dominique Mayho (1:33:26), with Cameron Morris completing the podium in 1:40:09.
Narraway, who competes domestically in Spain for the Telco, m On Clima Osés team, reflected on a hard-fought triumph after finally shaking off the challenge of Mayho on the final climb.
“Overall it was a great to come away with the victory, so I can’t really complain,” Narraway said.
“I knew Dom would be coming in strongly off the back of winning the Sinclair Packwood Memorial Race. It came down to the very last climb, because every time I had tried to attack before that, he did not let me get away.
“I knew if I couldn’t make that attack stick then he would more than likely outsprint me to the line, so it was a case of giving it everything I had and thankfully I finally managed to wear him down and he let me go.
“It’s great to be back on island and winning a race against strong competition.”
Narraway will be aiming to bring his good form into the national championships, which promise to feature some intriguing fights against his fellow overseas-based compatriots Kaden Hopkins, Liam Flannery and defending time-trial and road race champion Conor White.
While those four riders’ exploits overseas may be in more high-profile races, Narraway is adamant the national championships hold great significance for all of the island’s riders with more than just prestige and bragging rights up for grabs.
“Previous years have always proved really close races, but this year it should on another level with Kaden and Conor both enjoying success in France and the US respectively, and Liam doing really well over in the UK,” Narraway said.
“Everyone seems to be in really good form and what makes it really interesting is that we all know how each other likes to race, so it may well come down to being a very tactical battle.
“While I know I’m probably not the favourite in the time-trial, with Kaden and Conor just being that little bit more stronger than me, I’m definitely looking forward to the road race, where I feel it can be a lot more tactical and suits my riding style a lot more.
“The national championships are definitely important. We all would really like to have the title and earn UCI points which allow us to qualify for bigger races and improve our ranking.
“As well as that, we also have the chance to have the flag on our team kit and show Bermuda off to wherever we are in the world. It would be an honour for any of us to be able to wear the flag on our kit and represent the island in our races.”
While playing down his chances of claiming glory, Narraway has warned his title rivals that he has made notable progression since relocating to Spain and competing regularly at a higher level.
“Absolutely, I’d say I’m way stronger as a rider than I was last season,” added Narraway, who signed a one-year deal with the team, which is based in the northern Spanish region of Navarra, at the end of last year.
“I can tell that I’ve become a stronger rider, but also I’m much calmer in race situations and can read the tactics within a race better. Just being part of a proper team overseas I’ve definitely learnt a lot.
“Although I’m more suited to the road race, I will definitely be giving it all in both races and just seeing what happens.”
Sunday’s BBA road race also featured Panzy Olander continuing her fine form to claim victory in the women’s division.
Fresh from clinching a maiden Sinclair Packwood Memorial race title, Olander just edged out Annabelle Miller to claim victory in 1:23:28, just a second ahead of her rival, who in turn pipped Charlotte Millington for the runner-up spot in the final sprint to the line
The B division race proved just as close fought with Darren Glasford prevailing in 1:40:17, less than a second ahead of Tracy Wright and Kavin Smith.