NEIL Rushton took an unexpected win as he charged clear in the last mile and road to victory in round 11 of the Shropshire and South Staffordshire Road Race League.
The 55-year-old from Dudley took his opportunity as the first handicap group escaped the faster riders and took all the honours on the hilly Enville circuit.
In a series which has largely been dominated by the fastest ‘scratch group’ it was the slower riders who held onto a portion of their starting advantage and fought out the win.
After working hard throughout the race the first group started to believe they had a chance of victory in the final of the four laps.
Up the Six Ashes climb veteran rider Kevin Payton (Stourbridge CC) made his bid for home and built up a 20 seconds advantage with several miles left to race.
As the leading group approached the rise up to the last mile and flat finish Payton’s gap shrunk and his team-mates Rushton and Simon Smewin powered across.
Payton hung onto the duo as Rushton powered clear for victory while Payton beat Smewin as Stourbridge CC took the top three places.
“It was an unexpected win I have to say,” said Rushton.
“It’s rare that the first group stay away but the handicap worked for us last night. We ride every week and in our hearts knowing we are going to get caught.
“Luckily we stayed away this week and I managed to get the win. As we were approaching the top of the final climb I was aware group two were baring down on us. So once we turned left into the finishing straight I put my head down and didn’t look back.
“I went as quick as I could and just expected somebody to come past. It’s really unexpected as usually I’m out of the back and I’m not light either so to win on a hilly course is unexpected.”
Behind leading woman rider on the night Hannah Lancaster (Ludlow Brewery Race Team) was also part of the first group and took sixth.
Behind the usually dominant scratch group including the rest of the leading jerseys finished 15 seconds behind and were led home by Charles Walker (unattached) in 13th.
1 Neil Ruston (Stourbridge CC)
2 Kevin Payton (Stourbridge CC)
3 Simon Smewin (Stourbridge CC)
4 Bryan Davies (unattached)
5 Alec Bond (Mid Shropshire Wheelers)
6 Hannah Lancaster (Ludlow Brewery Race Team)
7 Darren Parsons (Pro Vision RT)
8 Andrew Mortimer (Mid Shropshire Wheelers)
9 Steve Whitehouse (Stourbridge CC)
10 Tim Wilfort (Mid Shropshire Wheelers)