The inaugural Rapha Condor Smithfield Nocturne was an evening to remember for all who attended. Crowds numbering over 5000 came down to the market, despite the pouring rain to support 200 cyclists competing across 5 races.
The Regional A race was hotly contested and despite a couple of crashes, was won in style by Craig Stevens (PCA Ciclos Uno), with George Brent (Addiscombe CC) coming in just behind him. David Millar made a quick visit during prize giving, congratulating Craig and saying a few words before heading off the Heathrow for the ProTour Team Time Trial the next day.
The courier race was a spectacle of organised chaos! With five teams and four pickup points and technical, complicated course to negotiate, London’s messengers entertained the crowds during the 30 minute race. Creative Couriers lived up to their promise of ‘reliable, friendly and fast delivery,’ winning the race with a fantastic sprint finish.
The line up for the ‘All Star’ Race was another fierce battle with hot favourite Matt Seaton pipped at the post by Ben Wilson from Cycling Weekly.
Next up was the folding bike race which took place in the middle of a torrential downpour. London’s commuters were unfazed and clearly the hardy bunch are more than used to riding to work in less than favourable conditions. Dressed in shirts, ties, jackets and skirts 40 commuters raced from the start line to their bikes 20m away. After building them, the field sped around their five lap course, with Richard Bailey securing the victory and winning the Dahon Speed TT.
The highlight of the evening was the Elite Criterium which was won by National Criterium Champion James McCallum. London Dynamo’s Warrick Spence dominated most of the race with an impressive break but it was McCallum who triumphed in the bunch sprint after Spence had been pulled back with two laps to go.
The victory didn’t come easily though for the Plowman Craven rider. With a strong field including Rob Hayles, Dean Downing and local rider Adam Blythe the race proved a tough challenge, “I was most worried about Rob Hayles and Dean and with Adam too it was a quality field” he said. “Even after Rob’s crash, the Rapha guys gave me hell. If you took your eye off the road for a second you risked crashing. I approached the race to win it and my team rode well to support me. When Rapha kept attacking I was lucky to have Simon there to take the heat off.”
The Nocturne will be back, bigger and better next year.