Back in July, my Finchley Racing team mate Nick Faint suggested
racing in Jersey over the August Bank Holiday weekend. Spurred
on by the idea of racing overseas and combining this with a
holiday, I jumped at the idea.
Soon the weekend came around with Nick and I, and better halves
Karen and Tam, taking to the high seas heading for St Helier.
Nick & Karen
~ Ossie & Tam
I’d been communicating with Tony Williams of flamme
fame/notoriety (or both!) by email for several years. I'd
even written a Riders Ride report of our
2009 Etape adventure.
So it was that my first trip to Jersey was also my first meeting
with Tony, he’s every bit as engaging in person as he is on his
Jersey Town Criterium
After two days of touring around the island’s diverse and
appealing terrain, on the Sunday we took part in the
Town Crit. This
could not have contrasted more sharply with those races of the
same title held regularly in England at off-the-beaten track
Jersey Town centre was our battleground, with narrow pedestrian
crossings, sharp T junctions and cobbled sections being our
technical challenges! Roads were closed to traffic, barriers
joined to form the perimeter of the circuit, and with an
inflatable archway at the start /finish under which the MC
stood, we were treated to a volley of race commentary and
pumping music as we completed each lap.
Several hundred spectators lined the course, and with all day
racing provided for kids, right up to Elite level seniors, the
Town Crit is testament to its organisers Tony Moffa and Toby
Aubert and to how the island of Jersey has embraced such a
positive and healthy culture.
Nick Faint ~ holiday instigator and line-out
We raced in the early afternoon. Within minutes of the gun
I realised why the local lads had been pushing themselves
forward for a front line start position.
Every sharp turn was preceded by an almost complete halt.
By the time I’d emerged from the corner, the lead that had been
close just a second before had stretched out way ahead. By
the time I’d sprinted back up to within touching distance of the
front, the next sharp turn was upon us, and the inevitable
This set the tone for the day. As we charged around the
circuit, I found my heart joining in the party, providing an
accompanying beat to the frantic dance music! So much for
leisurely Sunday shopping. I’ve never window shopped at a
rate of 100 store fronts per minute at an avg 167bpms!
Ossie Assem ~
centre of pic
deciding which way to go around imminent traffic island!
We watched the Elites top the bill in the early evening, with
Nigel Mansell’s equally speedy son Greg winning the main event.
It was then off to carbo load at a good Italian eaterie before
retiring to our B&B. However, a quiet night it wasn’t.
The retirees at the B&B were at the mercy of a quizmaster whose
microphone setting meant I could’ve joined the hotly competed
contest from the "comfort" of our second floor room.
Watersplash Road Race
After a less than peaceful night’s sleep, we were up at 5am for
breakfast in the dark, minus milk (light fittings and milk
settings overlooked by our host who hadn’t failed to set out her
award for Customer Service for 1989 on the mantelpiece).
We rode to St Peter for the second part of the Jersey race
weekend, the Road Race.
The race was 80kms, 7 laps of the
on the west coast of the island, with a strong headwind coming
into the start/finish just before a left turn into a tough 1.2km
climb over Jubilee Hill. It was obvious the climb was
going to be the key factor, if I could stay up near the front
and in touch, I would have a chance.
On the early laps, there were some hard sudden digs on the early
slopes of the climb. I made sure I went with these and
stayed near the front, so that even if a sudden attack came
again at the top, I could get onto a wheel.
Nick second left and Ossie far right
approaching the climb
photo ~ Sarndra Laugeard
As the race wore on, I began to feel better. The race split up
on the third last climb from a very hard attack, - I made this
split – and all of a sudden there were seven of us away.
We worked hard from the climb and over the top of the island,
but the chasing pack brought us all back together with just two
laps to go.
On the last time up the climb, another guy suddenly attacked
very hard from the base of the climb, the race split again with
eleven making the break. I was paying attention, made this
selection as well and we all worked away, thinking this one hads
to be it.
This time, there was a massive gap to the guys behind, and even
with the roulette game into the finish slowing us down ahead of
the sprint, there was no sight of the pack.
There was a very strong headwind coming at us off the coast, so
no one wanted to commit first. I thought about an earlier
break for it, but the headwind was so strong, I knew this would
be absolutely eaten up.
We then lined up for the prize-winning sprint. Initially I
found myself sheltered, but boxed in on the inside. I
managed to manoeuvere myself to the windswept outside, got on a
wheel, pushed hard for home and came around a couple of guys to
A great race and a very pleasing finish, I was back in my more
familiar territory of a road race, and with my preference for a
climb, it was a circuit I thoroughly enjoyed racing over.
We rode back to base with Tony and the flamme
gang, and after a quick change and lunch, we were at sea heading
It was a fantastic weekend in Jersey, truly enjoyable to race
in, to tour the island, and to experience the enthusiasm and
buzz of the islanders. Hats off for the creation of the
Jersey Youth Academy
that appears to be growing side by side with the island’s
Criterium and Road Race weekend.
We look forward to returning to Jersey and seeing such a healthy
outlook continue to thrive!