All good things come to an end and so it was with the Matrix Fitness GP Series which held its final round in Portsmouth. The organisers had designed a fast, flat, technical course with double points up for grabs… so very much everything was still to play for!
Team WNT’s starting line-up was Lydia, Jo, Natalie, Hannah and Sam, with all of them up for the race to come. Conditions were good with the temperature dropping, but with the sun shining it made for perfect racing conditions. In typical Matrix GP style the start was super-fast, but all five Team WNT riders were well placed in the early stages, Sam especially was having a good ride, relishing the fast corners.
In no time, though, disaster then struck when Hannah was brought down in a crash on the final corner before the finish line, with that her race was over as later X-Rays revealed a broken wrist and elbow, a real blow for the team, get well soon Hannah. The same incident almost brought Sam down as well, but she just managed to avoid it. The result was a split in the front group with Sam left on the wrong side of it. Further up the field Team WNT still had Lydia, Jo and Natalie out front, with Jo especially pushing the pace and attacking off the front to try and get a gap, which she achieved for three laps before being reeled in as the first sprint lap approached.
Lydia took third place in the opening sprint and then continued that effort to push on in front of the group with another rider. Due to Lydia’s position in the overall standings this attack was reined in as other teams chased this move down.
Taking advantage of this was 17 year-old Jess Roberts, as she wasn't a threat overall the team's let her go, she managed to build up a huge lead going on to win by the finish, a real talent for the future.
With four laps to go Jo once again attacked taking two other riders with her and building a 10 second lead, as they entered the final lap this lead was pulled back to five seconds, with Jo doing all she could to hang on for the final two podium positions. Jo was eventually caught, but immediately attacked again, this time holding out to claim fourth place on the night. The excitement wasn’t over though, as Drops rider Rebecca Durell crashed on the penultimate corner, also taking down her teammate, and worse for Team WNT ruining Lydia’s chances of a top 10 finish, she would come over the line in 15th.
The team effort ensured that Team WNT was classified third on the night and fourth in the overall standings in the team classification. Individually Lydia and Jo finished fourth and ninth overall in the general classification with the pair also taking fifth and eighth respectively in the sprints competition.
"It's been a very tough series this year with many, many ups and downs. It was great to see so many teams fully committing to the series. Hopefully this will keep building for the future. It was also great to see so many WNT customers attending and enjoying the racing," says Marcus Nainby.