Tag Archives: Road race

Primavera 2024 Road Race Report

Mid-Devon CC’s annual ‘Primavera’ pursuit road race took place over the weekend, and saw a fantastic performance from Exeter Wheeler Tristan Kelsall-Spurr, who finished on the podium with a highly creditable 3rd place. Amazingly, this was Tristan’s first ever road race, so established SW road racers look out !

The route used the Halwill Junction circuit, 44 miles of rolling terrain, with the start and finish at Hatherleigh.

Tristan spoke afterwards of his race –

“I began bike racing 18 months ago, starting with Hill Climb competitions, and this year, Time Trials.

Through these events I had made friends with a couple of chaps from Okehampton CC, with whom I had a friendly rivalry.

Given that the Primavera is a pursuit, with 4th category riders like ourselves off first, and the Elite a few minutes later, we opted for a plan . . . smash it from the gun in a three-up-time-trial fashion! And hope to stay away…..

Better that, we felt, than mix it with the Elite and 2nd cats.

We kept the plan to ourselves, and from the off, we just went for it . . . one other 4th cat rider tried to stick with us after the start, however, after a mile or so we’d dropped him, so it was just the three of us, sharing the pace. Perfect. At just over halfway through the race we got a timecheck and learnt we were 3 and half a minutes up on any chasers, and it was at that point that we all felt “Yeah, we can do this!”. The spectators at the side of the road had cottoned onto the fact that we three 4th cat underdogs were in with a good chance of staying away, and their support was fantastic.

We held the pace right to the finishing straight where we had a sprint finish, ending with myself in third and my mates on the podium. We had done it!

The chasing group came in over a minute later. 

Buzzing from the race, I am looking forward to more races. Myself and my fellow escapees Lloyd (Copp) and Jonathon (Hobbs) all felt before the start that even if just one of us came in ahead of the field then our plan could be considered to have succeeded, to have all three of us on the podium was just brilliant”

An indication of the wisdom of ‘the plan’ was how the race went for all the other 4th cat riders – aside from Tristan and his fellow breakaway companions, no other 4th cats finished in the top 30 – all the rest were gobbled up and spat out the back by riders in higher categories catching and passing them.

Tristan receiving his third place prize.

It was also a road race debut for Exeter Wheeler Ben Zissimos, who finished in 45th place on the day. Ben said of his day:

“I’ve always wanted to do a road race, and the Primavera on 24/03/2024 was my first.  So in a way, at the age of 53, I’m ticking a life-long dream off my bucket list.  Yet my decision to enter the Primavera this year seemed very much a spur-of-the moment thing, but  I’m so so glad I did, and I will definitely race again.  If, like me, you have experienced the thrill of watching road racing but have never actually raced, then let me tell you that to actually be there in the thick of things with the other riders, the motorbikes, and the crowd by the roadside gives you a buzz like no other.

One of the most interesting things for me about being part of the Primavera was the way that the race evolved.  I think this is due in part to the fact that it is a pursuit race.  Roughly, the 4th cats go off first, then the 3rd cats, and so on.  So I was in the first group to launch.  Mindful of not blowing up on the first climb, I let my group get away from me.  Then my plan was to jump in with the 3rd cats to catch the front group.  My cunning plan almost worked, but I just couldn’t quite hang on as they surged upon seeing the first group at the top of the biggest climb.  However, I found a nice group of riders to work with, and we even contested a sprint amongst ourselves to finish.  I’m grateful to everyone at EWCC, especially those who encouraged me and gave me advice, and to the race organisers as well.  And huge congratulations to Tristan Kelsall-Spurr of EWCC on getting 3rd, especially since this was his first road race too!”

Hopefully the exploits of Exeter Wheelers Ben and Tristan, plus last year’s successful debutant Paul Cameron in the British Cycling Masters Road Races, will inspire other Wheelers to make their road race debut this year. Go on, give it a go !

Joe Staddon, an Army Cycling Union rider, but whose 2nd claim club is Exeter Wheelers, also rode, coming in in 27th place.

Featured photo of Tristan leading the break is by permission of Sam Nancarrow Photography –


More photos from the race can be found on the Mid-Devon CC Facebook page:


and full results on the BC web pages https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/events/details/295973/Primavera-Pursuit-Road-Race