SAM Spokes might have raced his last Tamworth Cycling Club criterium – and certainly went out in a blaze of glory at Goddard’s Lane on Sunday morning.
The young rider, who heads back to Italy and his European professional team mid-month, has his sister’s wedding to attend before flying out for another big cycling year.
He was virtually flying late in Sunday morning’s A Grade criterium, a 30 minute plus two lap race which he seized control of late.
Fellow A Grader Mitch Carrington was a little miffed too.
“He did what I’d tried to do,” Carrington said.
“But every time I tried to make a break they’d cover me.
“As soon as Sam – a European professional – went, they let him go.
“Everyone else looked at each other, let him go and then rode for second.
“Sam did pick a good time to go, though, just as they picked me back up after a couple of breaks.
“And he’s so much stronger than the rest of us.”
Spokes won easily by about 200m from Fraser Ashford and Scott Thompson.
“It was a good hitout,” Spokes said.
“One of the harder crits I’ve raced in.
“It was a good bunch too. I think we had nine – one of the larger groups.”
He flies out February 19 to link with his pro team in Italy.
“This could be my last crit here too,” he said.
“I’ve got my sister’s wedding and the bucks party to go to. It just depends whether I can get back for next Sunday’s crit or not.”
His presence will be missed by the club riders who value the chance to test themselves against such a talented young rider.
On Sunday they had nine A Graders with another eight in B Grade and 11 in a C Grade race won by talented young Jessie Saunders.
The B grade race was won by Jeremy Bartlett in a sprint finish after Allan Spokes, Sam’s father, had tried to replicate his son’s late breakaway.
Spokes broke away four laps from home but just missed lasting and was caught late by the peloton.
Gavin Inglis was the driving force in chasing that break, with Bartlett outsprinting Darren Traill and Mark Jeffrey in a blanket finish.
Tamworth races again from 8am at Goddard’s Lane this Sunday.