AS Halesowen A&CC Wenlock Spring academy riders returned to racing after the winter this week, rider Matt Clarke was flying the flag in Mallorca.

Clarke finished with a fine ninth place against strong international opposition in the Challenge de Primavera over 91 kilometres in the town of Campos.

He managed to make it into the front group as the race split apart in strong winds, propelled by a strong German team, and finished ninth in the sprint – and considering he was only on the island to train up for the season after the winter, he had every right to be happy.

Meanwhile, four of the eight-man Halesowen academy began their seasons at the Abergavenny Handicap over 48 miles near the Welsh town.

First year juniors Daniel Morris and Henry Lloyd-Langston acquitted themselves well in their road racing debuts, with Lloyd-Langston making a late solo move near the finish only to be swept up eventually finishing 22nd.

Morris was unlucky to crash late on, in a pile-up that also involved Patrick Fotheringham, while Tom Swingler completed his first road race since breaking his collarbone last July, ending up comfortably in the lead group of 37.

In the West Midlands opener promoted by Evesham and District Wheelers at Inkberrow near Stratford upon Avon, another new signing Cameron Biddle finished in the main group for 22nd in a strong National B field.