The event was being billed as the last and final ever (probably) Planet X Old Skool event. Of more significance was the opportunity for failed Old Skool Champions to take on the newly crowned World Champion Paul Mellen (Horsham CC).
The biggest ‘draw’ as far as Dave Poulter, the event organiser, was concerned was the possibility that ‘the Power’ Parkinson would confirm the rumours bounding about in the national press that he would take part and kick butt.
‘The Power’ has returned to competition after a much publicised fall from grace believed to have resulted from the spoils of war last year (numerous sponsorship agreements, the high life in general, and a penchant for all things naughty but nice). One of his final preparation events was the CC Breckland 12 hour for riders with nothing better to do on a Sunday other than to pose around on all the latest aero gizmos - a million miles away from what Old Skooling is all about.
All was going according to plan, but when (allegedly) on schedule for a ride in excess of 450 miles, ‘the Power’ found himself being pulled over on to the hard shoulder by the local Constabulary and called upon to answer allegations of littering the verges of the highway with Melton Mowbray’s best in international cuisine (that’s the crusts from his pork pies … nothing to do with his delicate constitution ok?).
Fortunately, the event was abandoned due to the onset of jet-lag to one of the riders as he left the superfast stretch of the A11 and hit the slower roads that make up the finishing circuit. This was little consolation for ‘the Power’ who had hoped to hit the ground running with a National record, but this would fuel his desire for success all the more and the Wrekinsport event was to prove to be the battlefield for revenge, victory and world recognition.
For Mellen, this was the opportunity to underline his dominance of this year’s series and the chance for other pretenders to take the limelight before the series disappears without trace altogether (maybe).
As with all previous counting events, fans and supporters travelled from all over the country to line the course at least ten deep from the start at Hinstock to the turn near Newport. The roars from the crowd followed each rider out and back along what must rank as one of the fastest stretches of road in the world … if not that, then between Hinstock and the roundabout near Newport.
Poulter had certainly pulled out the stops to make this event something special and had arranged for each Old Skooler to be followed by his own helicopter, motor bike, team car and commissare with representatives from Age Concern
Poulter had certainly pulled out the stops to make this event something special and had arranged for each Old Skooler to be followed by his own helicopter, motor bike, team car and commissare with representatives from Age Concern and plenty of other men in white coats on hand just in case. Planet X should be immensely proud to be associated with both him and his Wrekinsport cronies … and we are!
Against all predictions, forecasts, threats, boasts and flow of play, both ‘the Power’ and Mellen were battered into submission by the little known dark-horse from Fibrax Wrexham CC, Dave Crawley, who annihilated second placed rider Neil Skellern (Congleton CC) by one second with an earth-shattering 22.58 to rightfully claim the victor’s spoils. Mellen and ‘the Power’ found themselves in an unaccustomed lowly 3rd and 4th place with 23.40 and 23.52 respectfully but took comfort in the Planet X prize vouchers awarded to the victor, also-rans and losers alike.
1. Dave Crawley (Fibrax Wrexham CC) 22.58
2. Neil Skellern (Congleton CC) 22.58 and a bit
3. Paul Mellen (Horsham CC) 23.40
4. Colin Parkinson (South Western RC) 23.52
5. Rob Cannell (Newport - Shropshire CC) 25.30
6. Barry Packman (V C Meudon) 26.12
7. Paul Gittins (Retrobike.co.uk) 28.24
8. Ian Cammish (Planet X) DNF ... DNS ... DEE (Didn't Even Enter ... woos!)
Photos from: Bernard Thompson's Cycling Archive
29 September 2010