Sweet victory for battling Briggs

WINNER: Graham Briggs crosses the line as winner of the Elite Circuit Series second round in Stafford.

WINNER: Graham Briggs crosses the line as winner of the Elite Circuit Series second round in Stafford.

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GRAHAM Briggs secured his first ever win in the British Premier Calendar Series and earned revenge over rival rider Scott Thwaites in the process.

Briggs was denied a third straight win in the Elite Circuit Race Series after a collision with Thwaites on the final corner.

But two days later he recovered to earn victory in the 100-mile Velo29 Stockton Grand Prix following a superb performance by his Raleigh-GAC team.

Thwaites’ Endura Racing team had victories in all five previous rounds of the Premier Calendar Series but Briggs finally ended their stranglehold.

Five of the Rossington rider’s team mates lined out for the final two kilometres to ensure he was ideally placed for victory.

He said: “The boys rode their hearts out for me today and I couldn’t let them down.

“I just don’t believe that I’ve won – it’s brilliant.

“I’m not usually comfortable in a big bunch sprint, but after how the team rode for me today, constantly attacking and bringing the breaks back, I just had to get involved and do the best I could.”

The victory was sweetened for Briggs with the knowledge he had avenged the collision which saw the end of his 100 per cent record in the Elite Circuit Series.

Briggs was at the front of the leading group heading into the final corner when he collided with the barriers after Thwaites attempted to pass on the inside.

He crossed the line in third, leaving him furious with his West Yorkshire rival.

There were tense moments at the finish line as Briggs made his feelings known.

But after a review by the officials, Thwaites was relegated from first to third with Briggs named runner up to his Raleigh-GAC team mate Tobyn Horton.

But 28-year-old Briggs was still angered by the incident, despite being bumped up the rankings.

He said: “I was leading into the final corner, Scott came up my inside took my handlebars out from under me and put me into the barriers.

“I was very angry and emotional after, I had a few words with him.

“He maintained that he’d kept to the racing line but the commissaires have made the decision that what he did was dangerous.

“I was hoping for a hat-trick in the series and should really be celebrating that now, but Raleigh did get the win with Tobyn so we can’t be too disappointed.”

Briggs had secured two wins from the first two rounds with victory in Stafford earlier in the week.

Despite losing his 100 per cent record in Stockton, Briggs sits 75 points clear at the top of the standings with team mate Horton in second place.

The Series continued last night in Abergavenny with the Wales Open Criterium.