When Russell Downing won his sixth Premier Calendar race of the season at Sunday?s East Yorkshire Classic, he set a new record for the most wins in Britain?s elite series in a single year.
The Pinarello rider has won six of the eight rounds so far. Only the Bikeline Two-Day, won by his brother Dean, and the Beaumont Trophy, taken by Rob Hayles have eluded him.
With two rounds to go ? this weekend?s Tour of Pendle and the Richmond Grand Prix next month ? a first Premier Calendar title is already all but in the bag.
The Premier Calendar was formed in 1993, succeeding the Star Trophy as the UK?s top road race series. In the first year, Scotsman Brian Smith won four rounds, a feat that has been repeated by Mark Walsham, Jon Clay, Chris Newton, John Tanner and twice by Mark Lovatt in subsequent years.
But Downing?s win in the Tour of Blackpool at the start of July made him the first rider to win five rounds in a single year. Now he?s made it six. Could he go on to win seven or even eight?
The East Yorkshire Classic was Downing?s 14th Premier Calendar win ? his first was the Havant Grand Prix in 1999.
RUSSELL?S RECORD HAUL
Downing?s Premier Calendar wins in 2008
? Girvan Stage Race
? Tour of the Reservoir
? Chas Messenger Stage Race
? Lincoln Grand Prix
? Tour of Blackpool
? East Yorkshire Classic
Multiple race winners in the same season
4 ? Mark Lovatt in 1999 and 2000
4 ? John Tanner in 2001
4 ? Chris Newton in 2000
4 ? Jon Clay in 1998
4 ? Mark Walsham in 1995
4 ? Brian Smith in 1993
BATTLE OF THE BROTHERS
With two rounds of the Premier Calendar and the Tour of Britain still to run in our season-long grudge match between the Downing brothers, we?ve gone all sentimental.
We?ve decided to add a point to Dean?s score for winning the National Crit Champs last Friday night. Russell is still in charge, though, after taking the East Yorkshire Classic.
Current score: Russell 8, Dean 4
Unless we start deducting points because we feel like it, Pinarello have won the inaugural CW Superteam Challenge with six weeks of the season still to go.
Rapha?s Kristian House and Dean Downing took second and third places at the East Yorkshire Classic but with Pinarello?s Russell Downing winning, Big Phil Griffiths? team still managed to stretch their lead.
1. Pinarello 96pts
2. Rapha-Condor-Recycling 43pts
3. Halfords Bikehut 34pts