The Day after a fairly successful race at the Beaumont Trophy Jack and spirits new recruit Julian Pearson headed across the pond to Belgium. The duo had planned a week and a half trip to Belgium having both just graduated from University it was a chance for them to get some good training and racing in after a stressful few months. After a couple of days to recover from the weekend’s race and the long day travelling on Monday, their first race was on the Wednesday.
Both the riders animated the race in the opening laps taking it in turns to get in the breaks and attack. Unfortunately once the race settled a group of 7 escaped and despite attempts to bridge the gap that was constantly around 40 seconds it proved too tougher task. With 3 laps remaining the break looked although it was going to be brought back but a tracker leaked some oil on the fast decent, which caused a big crash in the bunch taking down several riders including Julian. This gave the breakaway chance to build their lead once again and the rhythm in the bunch was disturbed. Despite attempts from Jack to escape the bunch in the final km’s it was not to be and had to settle for 25th place in the sprint. Julian came of relatively okay after his crash although had a lot of road rash.
The next race was Sunday and on the same day as the Belgium national champs meant there was very few amateur races on. So even with torrential rain 140+ riders took to the start. Julian gave this one a miss as not to get his road rash infected, which left Jack flying solo, although he had extra incentive as the race was held in Oplinter a small village near where he spent much of his junior career racing. Jack keen to get stuck into the racing found himself in the first break of the day with 3 other riders although it only lasted for around 15kms before being swallowed back into the bunch by which point many riders had already pulled the plug. The race never seemed to ease off and more and more riders were shelled each lap, Jack found himself yo-yoing from been at the front of the race and attacking to been at the back hanging on. The race was all still together going into the final 3rd with maybe 50 riders left it was getting to crunch time. A small group of 6 went clear and managed to hold a small gap going into the finish. Jack had put in one final attack with 5kms to go but was chased by team-mates of those in the break. A big crash with 2kms to go took out half the riders towards the front of the bunch and unfortunately Jack got caught up in the drama and rolled over the line for a disappointing but respectful 35 place in appalling conditions.