"VERY hard, very fast, very exciting." That was the verdict of George Pym after winning a thrilling elite race at the climax of the Barnstaple Criterium.
Friday night's floodlit festivities brought together some of the best emerging riders from the South West and beyond.
As supporters lined the barriers along the Strand, they were kept entertained by a constant stream of bikes whizzing past at breakneck speed.
"All hell broke lose," said Pym after emerging from a four-man breakaway to take the chequered flag and a significant win in his first season as a senior.
For 40 minutes and a last-lap dash, the 19-year-old from Exeter had pushed the pace with James Williams, his Spin-Rotor Primal team-mate, Adam Brittain, from High Wycombe Cycling Club, and James Lowsley-Williams, of Team UK Youth.
With pedals scraping tarmac and occasional barriers being clipped, this was not racing for the fainthearted.
Ask Lowsley-Williams, who was forced to take a lap out after hitting the deck.
He has made a name for himself with six wins across the country this season representing UK Youth, the team owned by Nigel Mansell.
The former F1 racing driver would surely have approved of a course that could be described as a mini Monaco.
"It's such a tight course that you've got to race from the front," said Lowsley-Williams. "I had to attack the race.I knew Spin-Rotor were a strong team. They had two guys in there so I was a little bit outnumbered. I put a couple of attacks in to see if I could thin the group out."
By the halfway stage the lead group had opened up a 23-second advantage over the rest.
Having worked together in the early stages, team tactics went out the window for the Spin-Rotor pair.
"I was feeling strong but obviously as the race goes on you go more into the hurt locker, more into the red zone," said Pym.
"I was beyond helping," said Williams, last year's winner who fought ferociously to get back after falling away in the middle section.
By then it was every man for himself and the quartet gathered again for a frantic last lap.
As they tore down the High Street, Lowsley-Williams went to the front before Pym powered past with 50 metres to go.
"As they say, 'You only need to be in the lead once to win a bike race'," said Pym who punched the air as he crossed the line.
He praised organisers North Devon Wheelers-Southfork for staging the event with the support of Barnstaple Town Council and main sponsors Whiddon Valley Engineering.
"It's a great event," said Pym. "Apart from the Tour Series you don't get racing on closed roads with people watching in the town centre. It's a great atmosphere."
Starting with the under-8s at 6.20pm, the evening featured six races and almost 200 riders.
One of the stars was Jacob Board who stormed to victory in the under-16s and returned later to chase honours in the men's third and fourth category race.
Seventy cyclists made up the largest field of the night and Board, from 1st Chard Wheelers, showed no signs of fatigue, winning the first four of six intermediate sprints.
He had to settle for third overall as Dexter Hurlock, of Mondraker UK, timed his effort perfectly to come through for first.
Paul Cann, of Planet Bike, was rewarded for his powerful pacemaking, taking second, while Jim Avens, of Somer Valley CC, was fourth, winning the combativity award for his aggressive riding.
That was also a feature of the young riders with James Smith, the race commentator, noting: "They put a number on their back and it changes their personality."
Lewis Ross, from North Devon Wheelers-Southfork, and Rowan Ellis, of Chard, had a superb battle in the under-10 and 12 race, both winning their respective categories.
North Devon is producing a batch of promising young cyclists with Eleanor Ley, Jessica Morrish and Evan Rouse also winning for the Wheelers and Sid Baldaro and Dylan Gosling taking second for Taw Velo.
Roger Sheridan, the organiser, thanked the sponsors, the town council and Lesley Brown, the mayor, for supporting the event.
"It has been a fantastic racing spectacle for the hundreds of people watching from the pubs, clubs and bars around the circuit," he said.