CYCLE Studio and Stratford CC second claim rider Tony Kiss defied a brutal late-race crash to claim a superb victory in the annual Manx 100 on the Isle of Man.
This is one of the hardest and most prestigious endurance mountain bike events on the calendar and some 140 competitors took to the start line in Douglas.
Riders had 100 miles of rocky off-road racing ahead of them including 16,000ft of climbing, which is more that the hardest stage of the Tour de France.
The fast early pace saw four riders start to pull away including Kiss and shortly after the first check point at 20 miles the pace and brutal course was already starting to take its toll and Kiss found himself alone in the lead.
Being the first event of this distance he has competed in, he might have gone too hard, too soon, but this was not the case.
Finding a rhythm over the tough terrain was hard, but Kiss settled down to business and the gap started to grow and by the next check point and first ‘bag drop’ he had a lead of five minutes.
The bag drop gives the rider a chance to pick up food and water to keep them going until the next one.
Feeling good, Kiss did not want to waste time stopping so sailed straight through.
This was his first mistake because, as the sun shone, it would be another two hours until he would have the opportunity to refuel.
Despite this though, the gap continued to grow and by the halfway point the lead was up to around 12 minutes.
Rehydrated, Kiss forged on, but by the 70-mile point and seven hours in the physical and mental exhaustion was starting to tell.
A lapse in concentration saw Kiss fly over the handlebars and go head first into a gorse bush before falling heavily on to the rocky trail.
However, with a suspected broken rib, Kiss managed his effort superbly to secure a special win, some ten minutes ahead of his nearest competitor in a time of ten hours, two minutes.
Isle of Man rider Simon Skillcorn was second and Dean Camier third.
The reward for the trio’s efforts was the opportunity to stand on the iconic TT podium and spray champagne.