BUCS Team Time Trial 2024

by Will Lowden

The 2024 British Universities Team Time Trial Championships took place in Wiltshire, on the 10th of March, with racing held over 13.5 laps (40.5km) of the Castle Coombe motor racing circuit; a 3km loop with smooth tarmac and 17m elevation gain per lap.

With racing starting from 13:30, the meeting time at the University sports centre was somewhat civilised and negated the usual bleary-eyed morning start synonymous with most BUCS events. The three-hour drive westward proved uneventful, and even the grey palled drape of a sky, failed to put a dampener on the [ever optimistic] CUCC spirit. But miracles do come true, and the day at Castle Coombe, whilst not sunny, proved to be dry and still, despite the rather wet and windy weather to be found everywhere else.

The CUCC BUCS TTT men’s 1st team, with (left to right): Joe AC, Matt Rizzo, and Will Lowden

Upon arrival, the six-team strong CUCC squad unloaded the van and set up an organised base of operations, with bikes, turbos and wheel bags quickly sprinkled liberally around the area, rather like sheep speckling a distant Exmoor landscape. Having sorted out wheels and other paraphernalia (we all know the best time to test equipment is just before a race), the teams began their warmups before making their way to the start gate for the allotted race time. First up was the CUCC women’s team, consisting of Sannah, Phoebe and Maddie. Having braved rain and wind in previous weeks to practice for the TTT, the women put in an excellent performance of power and teamwork, alongside a show of cosmopolitan sporting skill by Sannah, throwing her helmet mid-race. With aero-a-plenty, thanks to Maddie’s rapid Boardman and Phoebe’s fancy helmet, the women averaged an impressive 40.7 kph, completing the course in 59:19.4 for 5th place. Perhaps next year, we can persuade the organisers to include athletic field events mid-race?

The CUCC women’s TT team in action, with (left to right); Maddie Angwin, Sannah Zaman, and Phoebe Barker.

Following the Women’s race, the CUCC men’s teams were off in quick succession with team 2 (Tom Hale, Tom Wade and Francis) stopping the clock at 51:42.6 for 9th, team 3 (Mantas, Harry and Ben) at 55:03.1 for 17th, followed closely in by team 4 (Lucas, Josh and Janik) at 55:44.4 for 18th, and team 5 (Mattis, Ilya and Matt) at 59:04.9 for 24th.

Finally, it was the turn of the Cambridge men’s 1st team. The pacing started conservatively, the aim being to ride a negative split, with the speed increasing steadily throughout the race. Minute turns were taken on the front with consistently smooth pulls and changes from all, and as the lap counter climbed, so did the pace. With two laps to go, the throttle was wide open, and the afterburners ignited, with Lowden driving it on the front for the final few laps. Averaging 50.1 kph, the clock stopped at 48:11.8 which placed second overall, at just 10 seconds off Loughborough’s winning time.

The solid performance of the women meant that CUCC also placed 2nd in the combined competition and the great performances by everyone a testament to the hard work put in training, in the weeks preceding the event. Overall, a successful day out all-round!

Full results for the BUCS 2024 team time trial championships are available here

‘Great Success!’