Jake Hales wins Fast-Test Road Race at Willisham Tye
As the field in the Fast-Test Road Race attacked the hill at Willisham Tye for the last time it looked as if Kenninghall rider Tom Fitzpatrick might win it - despite having had only four weeks to recover from breaking his arm in the Jock Wadley race at Colchester.
Knowing he could not pull on the bars in a sprint, Fitzpatrick attacked early. But with limited recent training his legs gave out before the line.
However his lead-out helped Spirit Bikes teammate Jake Hales to repeat his 2016 win in this event.
Soon after the race rolled out from Somersham near Ipswich a break of three forged ahead.
Later a group of a dozen including Essex lad Laurence Kirby formed a break, but lacking cohesion they were caught by a chasing group and it was these who decided the race on Willisham Hill.
In a result dominated by away competitors Dom Schils (Velo Schils/Interbike) was best Eastern League rider in 17th place.
Looking every inch the fourth-generation racing cyclist he is Chris Skinner (CS Velosport) spun 72 inch fixed to win the Diss & District CC’s medium Gear 25.
The 39 year-old engineer covered the Bressingham to Thetford and back course in 1:01:16. This was just 27 seconds faster than Junior winner – and second overall – 17 year-old VC Baracchi member Lucas He.
Conditions were sunny and warm but there was a strong crosswind – or so riders thought until they rounded the turn and faced what some described as “a brick wall of wind.”
With two to share the work of facing the wind Robert Golding and Roy Havis (Ely &District), winners of the event for pairs of riders, got round in 56:49. Ian Pike’s winning time in the Tricycle Association event was 1:05:02.
Top classic bike was a Raleigh ridden by Jason Corner (Diss & District, 1:05:01) while former national 25 champion Martin Pyne from Hepworth took his 1980’s Raleigh round in 1:09:05.
Elsewhere, Henham Park was a gorgeous venue for the third round of the Mud, Sweat and Gears MTB races – though there was precious little mud.
Dust caked the rider’s faces and just keeping the bike straight was a battle on some loose stretches.
Laura Sampson (Sussed Out) was clear women’s, while Alison Hogg and Elvita Branch exchanged places behind.
Among the top men Richard Jones (Renvale RT) drew away from Paddy Atkinson while Ross Tricker held fourth place until overhauled by Thetford rider Lee Woodcock in the final laps.
Ipswich rider Dan Howe recovered from a poor start to latch onto the leading Vet 40-49 men, eventually escaping, first with Paul Groombridge and then alone.
Becoming aware that Shaun Aldous has snuck up to six seconds behind, Howe summoned up the speed open the gap to 25 seconds at the line.
Jimmy Piper carried his unique MS Society/Epic vest to the Vet 50 plus win, while West Suffolk Wheeler Paul Watson sustained his pace so well that he overtook Mark Wingar (Gipping RT) towards the end to take sixth spot.
Several young East Anglian riders tackled the Tour of the Mendips junior stage race where a good performance in the prologue time trial set up Zak Coleman (Strada Sport) to take eighth overall out of 64 finishers.
Dougal Toms (Pedal Power Ipswich) was 12th overall and seventh in the final stage with its one-in-five finish climb. Wickham Market rider Lyster Romero (32nd overall) was top member of the official Eastern Region team.
Fast times were recorded in the Lea Valley CC 25 on the dual carriageway south of Newmarket where town resident Matt Smith was second in 45:59.
Other local riders times included Ollie Jones (Team OnForm, 48:43), Soham rider Max Sahota (50:00) and Mark Richards with a VC Baracchi club record breaking 50:04.
On the same day CC Sudbury’s Mandy Bunn was top lady in the King’s Lynn 25 in 1:04:59.