The concept for the Smithfield Nocturne was originally developed by Rapha Condor and FACE Partnership. This year, the event was launched in January with the first indoor UK Criterium at The London Bike Show, won by Ian Bibby (Madison Genesis). The Nocturne is well known for combining elite racing with less serious racing, such as the Folding Bike race and Penny Farthing race. There truly is something for everyone at this event.
There has been plenty of hype in the run-up to the Smithfield Nocturne. Mainly due to Wiggo backed team Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling making it their UK team debut. This team contains 3 of our Olympic Gold Medalists and World Record holders in the Team Pursuit. Dani King, Laura Trott and Joanna Rowsell are riding together and all eyes were on them today.
New this year and kicking off the day’s racing was the LCC Urban Cycle Cross. The event was riddled with obstacles and pinch points to make the Smithfield circuit as technical as possible. This being Urban Cycle Cross and with the blessing of great weather, the only thing the riders got covered in was sweat. The race was very entertaining and it was a great way to start the day off.
There were plenty of big names around on the day, including Paul Smith, Phil Liggett, Rob Hayles and Ned Boulting. During the Norglide Elite I had to the pleasure of standing beside Paul Smith and Lois Dowsett, both in full support of Alex. My ears have just about recovered from Lois’s support.
The Leigh Day Kermesse provided some great racing from the local clubs. Also some great team kits as you will see in the pictures. There were many attacks in this race, some very early on. It was the first bunch race of the day and truly set a standard. The race was fantastic to watch and photograph.
The Wiggle Women’s challenge is run on a very similar basis to the Tour Series. The first 3 riders of the same team across the line after 10 laps will be victorious! The race was absolutely dominated by the Rapha Condor girls. They lead a breakaway group from lap one all the way to the finish. There were a few other riders that managed to hold onto them, one of which was from the AnaNichoola team. But the rest of their team could not keep up with the pace. Second place went to the DHB Wiggle Team who also put in a sterling effort with 3 of them powering around the course in a Team Time Trial position.
This race got lots of support from the crowd. I could hear cheers the whole way round. There were clear favorites from the group, but mainly down to style over performance! I have never seen anything corner quite like a Penny Farthing, not sure I would want to race one myself.
I recognized a few faces and kits from this race. Namely, our friends from The 5th Floor, who had 2 riders in the race. It was good to see Rudy’s Death Spray Custom forks for real, rather than a photo. The was pretty fast and furious, a few riders started wandering wide around the corner and edging ever closer to the perfectly placed purple cushion. Lucky no riders needed to use it!
The reception this race got was breath-taking, I had goosebumps and I don’t think I was the alone. You could people banging boards and ringing cow bells around the entire circuit. The atmosphere was magnificent, Laura Trott likened it to riding at the Olympics.
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s UK debut could not have gone better with Laura Trott taking 1st place and Dani King taking 3rd after MG-Maxifuel rider and previous winner Hannah Barnes.
There was a fantastic turnout for the men’s race including two Movitstar rider’s, fresh from the Giro d’Italia, Alex Dowsett and Beñat Intxausti. Dowsett came here to win and really demonstrated his power. He was multiple breakaways and attacks. The field was strong and fast, after 50 minutes the last 3 laps ended up being a 4 four man sprint. Team Raleigh’s Tom Scully took it on the photo finish with Dowsett in 2nd and Dean Downing (Madison Genesis) in 3rd.
Fantastic atmosphere and a crowd twice the size of last year’s. Check out the sneak preview from Century TV who produced the show for Channel 4.