With the fifth round of the Revolution Series coming up on 27/28th February in London, we are having a look back at Emma Lawton’s interview with the Cycling Team back in October before their first round in London .
Interview Participants: Harley Matthews, Tom Ward, Matthew Webster, Ben Wimpory, and Matt Woods.
Emma: The team raced in many BUCS races during the 2013/14 season, but did significantly well on the track. What was the biggest success on the track for you all?
- Tom Ward: I think our Team Pursuit was exceptional considering we only had two training sessions beforehand.
- Ben Wimpory: I think the biggest success was exceeding our points tally from all previous BUCS track meets put together!
Emma: Could you tell us about the Team Pursuit?
- Tom Ward: On the day, we rode Glasgow in qualification and Southampton in the final and rode a time of 4 minutes, 29.7 seconds. This was a BUCS record by about 8 seconds.
Emma: We have heard that due to your BUCS success you have been invited to ride at the Revolution Series. What is this?
- Matt Woods: Revolution is the Premier League of track racing in this country and often has invitations for big name riders, for example, the London round will have Laura Trott there who is the Omnium Olympic Champion and the Team Pursuit Olympic Champion.
Emma: What is the biggest challenge you will face?
- Harley Matthews: The crowd. We have never ridden in front of 4000 people with the pressure and the noise so it will be interesting.
- Ben Wimpory: Defending our title in front of that many people.
Emma: Are you looking forward to it?
- Tom Ward: I was quite nervous about it a few weeks ago, but I’m not so nervous about it now as I think we are more prepared.
- Ben Wimpory: Can’t wait!
Emma: Would you say this is the biggest race on the biggest platform you have done so far?
- Harley Matthews: Personally, for me it is and I think for Loughborough Student Cycling it is the biggest coverage they have ever had.
Emma: From what I understand you didn’t have a great qualifier. Can you tell me about this?
- Harley Matthews: We were incredibly lucky. Our coach was telling us we were up on the schedule so we were holding back, but actually we were down and there had been a slight miscalculation. It wasn’t until the final kilometer that we put the hammer down to try and bring it back, but it wasn’t enough and we qualified second fastest with Southampton still to ride. The next five minutes seemed like an age, as soon as we saw Southampton relegated we were so relieved. Luck is the only way we got to the final.
Emma: You won the final with a time of 4 minutes 31.9 seconds. Did you win from the team’s determination and hard work, or was some of it down to an opponent crashing?
- Tom Ward: It’s the second fastest we’ve ever gone as a team, but it was slower than at BUCS. We were all very determined and were much better prepared than for BUCS with better equipment, but it did hinder Glasgow when one of their riders crashed. However, they didn’t lose out massively.
Emma: Which was better, winning BUCS or the Varsity Team Pursuit at Revolution?
- Ben Wimpory: Varsity, 10 times! I was doing it in front of family and friends, my Dad had flown from South Africa to watch.
- Matt Woods: BUCS because we had no expectation other than what we knew we could do. Because of our BUCS ride we knew we had to perform in London. For me when it was over it was a relief that we had done it, rather than the feeling of the win I had at BUCS.
Emma: How do you feel about being accused of cheating by a Southampton rider?
- Matt Woods: Southampton had done a lot of work for this. I felt sorry for them in their two false starts and wanted them to do a good time in the finals. The rider who made that comment was upset by what had happened, and even made some bold claims as to what time they could have done. We know we’re in the right and the rider retracted the statement. It doesn’t matter what they think as long as you stick to the rules and keep winning. It’s good to see other universities up for the challenge and it might lead to more regular fixtures on a big stage, just perhaps with a little more sportsmanship.
Emma: Due to your win at Revolution, the team has been invited to race another race against a United States university. Ben, will you be riding as an ex-student?
- Ben Wimpory: I think it’s time I stepped aside to allow the development of the new breed of team pursuit riders for BUCS next year.
Emma: Matthew do you think that you will be one of the four main riders for that as you were the fifth man for the team pursuit at Varsity?
- Matthew Webster: Tom and Harley have both strongly said they really want me to race with them in the team pursuit. I’m a different sort of rider as I’m quite powerful and strong so am able to get a good start. We have time to prepare for the next BUCS and Revolution Series, so hopefully we can do well in both.
Unfortunately they will not be competing in the upcoming round in London but we wish them the best of luck with future competitions
By Emma Lawton