The Nocturne 2012

Photos: Jack Saunders

Unusually the rain held off at the 6th Smithfield Nocturne and over 10,000 people flocked to the ancient market for a festival of bike racing. Earlier in the day 40 people joined us for a ride through London with members of the Rapha Condor Sharp team. Starting at Condor Cycles the ride meandered through the city, finishing up at the Rapha H-Van for coffee and pastries. The rate of coffee orders increased as the crowds gathered and at the hospitality bar, the Rapha Condor bar to be more precise, specially created cocktails were devoured.

The evening sun shone on the first few races, from the penny-farthing to the longest skid competition. Then as it got dark the Rapha Women’s Elite Race set off seeing a strong field of women vying for position over 40 minutes. Hannah Barnes (Team Ibis-Cycles) won for the fourth time in a close race.

The grand finale was the Men’s Elite Criterium which never ceases to excite. As the roar of the motorbike signalled the arrival of the riders, the bunch whipped around the course in a blur of colour.

Crowds banged excitedly on the finish straight boards as a group of four, including Rapha Condor Sharp’s Kristian House, broke away early and managed to lap the peloton about half way through 50 exhausting, noisy and exciting minutes of racing. Sky’s Ian Stannard won with Kristian taking second and Niklas Gustavsson of Team UK Youth in third.

Highlights of the race will be shown on Channel 4 on 16th June at 7.00 and online on 4OD.