Big crowds enjot the sunshine and the racing in event's first visit to university city...

Round 3 of the Halfords Tour Series in Oxford on Tuesday night saw the sunshine bring out big crowds to watch Scott Thwaites of Endura Racing take the win, with his team consolidating its Series lead on a circuit featuring tight bends and fast straights. There are still eight rounds to go, starting tonight in Redditch, and while the weather can't be guaranteed, some great racing can, so it's well worth getting along to watch if you're near one of the venues.

Here are the remaining rounds:

Round Four   Thu 24th May   Redditch, Worcestershire
Round Five   Fri 25th May   Aberystwyth, Ceredigion
Round Six    Tue 29th May   Peterborough, Cambridgeshire
Round Seven  Thu 31st May   Canary Wharf, London
Round Eight  Tue 5th June   Torquay, Devon
Round Nine   Thu 7th June   Colchester, Essex
Round Ten    Tue 12th June  Woking, Surrey
Grand Final  Thu 14th June  Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire

Kristian House went into the evening leading the Boardman Bikes Sprints competition; he'd lose the jersey by the end of the race, however, to Team Raleigh-GAC's Bernard Sulzberger.

Marcel Six of Metaltek Scott and Endura Racing's Dean Windsor would spend around a third of the race out in front; Six would take the evening's three Boardman Bikes Sprints to leapfrog House into second place in that contest.

The four corners on the circuit were rather tighter than the bends world and Olympic team pursuit champion Ed Clancy is used to negotiating in the velodrome.

The big crowd included a sizeable contingent from Oxford-based Zappi's Cycling Club, run by one-time Giro d'Italia rider Flavio Zappi, who owns a cafe above a bike shop in the city; his Zappi's Pro Cycling team was the guest turn at the Oxford round.

Dean Downing of defending champions Rapha Condor Sharp leads into a corner, tracked by riders from Endura Racing in the orange jerseys of series leaders.

Dean Windsor heads through one of the short straight sections at the technical top end of the course. 

Team UK Youth would have a good night, moving up to second overall in the series standings, watched by manager Magnus Backstedt and team president Nigel Mansell - here's the former F1 world champion's son, Greg.

The cracking pace being set by the riders battling it out for the top places meant a draining race for those who spent the evening chasing.

Scott Thwaites (R) would take his second individual win of the 2012 Halfords Tour Series, with Endura Racing team mates Windsor (L) third and Jonny McEvoy fifth as the Scottish outfit consolidated its series lead.

All pictures © Simon MacMichael


Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.