The OVO Energy Tour Series celebrated its 10th edition in 2018, with eight town and city centres welcoming the only British domestic cycle race Series to be televised on terrestrial, free-to-air TV. Although as a team, this was the debut appearance for Admiral Liv AWOL, team riders Charlotte Broughton and Clover Murray were returning for their fourth year of action. Unfortunately, the team’s other Tour Series experienced rider Isla Rush was still in rehab following her accident earlier in the year.
With the Series races being held across the length and breadth of the UK and being confined to a tight three-week schedule in May that coincided with GCSE exams and exam preparation, it was always going to be a tough task to field and support a team throughout. But to the credit of DS Pat Hayes, support technician Brent Skinner, the riders and their parents, a schedule was put together with Charlotte and Clover competing in all 8 rounds while giving the opportunity to as many riders in the team as possible the experience of racing at such a high level.
The Series opener was in Redditch, and making up the team were Charlotte Broughton, Connie Hayes, Elizabeth Marvelly, Clover Murray and Poppy Wildman. The team were well prepared, even down to the Admiral team water bottles that were produced and supplied at very short notice by Dutch company Tacx Bottles. For those that watched the TV highlights, you have to congratulate Charlotte for being off the blocks so fast to get right behind the TV motorbike for the neutral lap, giving almost a full minute of team exposure to kick off the series!
The race was fast and frantic right from the start with plenty of attacking, as is expected with the Tour Series events, and the riders put in a great performance against some of the best riders in the country.
While small groups of riders from other teams attacked off the front, Charlotte managed to stay with the main peloton throughout the race. An incident caused the race to be temporarily halted late on, which resulted in the race being shortened and the restart didn’t take into account position at the time of stopping.
Despite all this, the team did great on their debut, and the overall team position had Admiral Liv AWOL on 4 points in 7th position (out of 9).
Individually, Charlotte Broughton was highest placed in 19th (+1:15 of the leader), Clover Murray, Elizabeth Marvelly and Connie Hayes all finished together in 33rd, 34th and 35th position respectively, with Poppy Wildman in 43rd. (PDF results here) The crash and restart did affect final placings which would have seen Connie and Elizabeth finishing a lot higher than their final placings suggest.
An amusing comment from Connie on Twitter the day after “Yesterday I was riding the UK’s best race series, today I am back in school trying to pass my A-levels.”
Pat Hayes (DS) commented afterwards, “Real shame that stoppage for a crash meant race shortened and riders restarted together regardless of position at the time of the black flag in today’s Tour Series but these things happen. Great effort by the team in Tour Series. Didn’t have best of luck with mechanicals crashes and race being stopped but gave 100%.”
Here are a few more photographs gathered from the event.