Smithfield Nocturne: Warrick thrills on a great evening.

So what if he finished fourth, Warrick Spence was the man of the night with a bravura display of handling and power round the tight course.

There’s a report and more photos on London Cyclesport and I wrote a race report for BBC’s 606 cycling section.

As for me, I got my arse kicked by the big boys from Cycling Weekly, Rouleur, Procycling and a few other publications in the All-Stars/Journalists race. After 7 laps my body was screaming in agony. I didn’t know which way was up and was doing the vomiting in the bin thing five minutes after we finished.

The buzz of all those people lining the streets and cheering/jeering was electric. I’ve never ridden in anything quite as exciting. I couldn’t really see much due to the pain and my contacts popping out halfway round. Perhaps the fact the boys at the front were mostly cat 2 racers would explain why I was out the back door on about the third lap of seven. so much for exhibition riding and then two laps action.

I wasn’t sure if I would make the folding bike race but managed to recover enough to be up for it. And what a race it was! Shortly before the courier race finished the heavens opened dousing everything liberally. So we were down to 4 laps (or was it 3 and one behind the car?).

Angus and I made sure we were near the front and were in the first three down the road. Angus went past the leader, who I think crashed and was away. There was no way I was going to catch him so I thought I would see what I could do for a podium place. The eventual winner came hooning past me and I couldn’t see anyone coming up on me so it was just a case of clinging on grimly in the pouring rain and not coming off.

Last corner I thought I was home and thoroughly hosed, then some bloke came flying up the inside and nailed me in the sprint. Gutted. Still it was my best result of the year so I’m not complaining.

Moreover it was fucking fantastic fun to race in the wet, in suits on folding bikes. I really enjoyed. Who cares if I’m not as quick as I’d like to be, I’ve rediscovered how much I enjoy racing and riding which has been missing the last few weeks. Here’s me in action:

Fingers crossed the event will be back next year as a post-Tour crit event with big names, sponsors and proper TV coverage. It’s exactly what London needs.

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