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Jake Hales wins Fast-Test Road Race at Willisham Tye

Daniel Burgess (Iceni Velo) bails out at Henham Park

Daniel Burgess (Iceni Velo) bails out at Henham Park

Archant

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.

Chris Skinner on the way to winning the Diss Medium Gear 25Chris Skinner on the way to winning the Diss Medium Gear 25

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.

Thetford rider Lee Woodcock makes the dust fly at HenhamThetford rider Lee Woodcock makes the dust fly at Henham

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.”

Paul Watson (West Suffolk Wheelers) - gaining places at the end at HenhamPaul Watson (West Suffolk Wheelers) - gaining places at the end at Henham

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.

Ipswich Town defender Jonas Knudsen insists he’ll be playing for the fans in Sunday lunchtime’s East Anglian derby against Norwich City at Portman Road (12pm ko).

Ahead of Sunday’s big game, Eastern Daily Press sports reporter DAVID FREEZER brings Town fans up to date with the many changes which have happened across the border at arch rivals Norwich City since last season.

It’s just a matter of days until the East Anglian derby gets underway, watch what Town fans think the outcome will be.

Ipswich Town last won an East Anglian derby back in April 2009, beating Norwich City 3-2 at Portman Road in what turned out to be Jim Magilton’s final game in charge.

The East Anglian derby has a long and rich history of good and bad moments for Ipswich Town fans – but what’s your favourite memory from the fixture?

Norwich City will ‘never, ever be a bigger club than Ipswich Town’, says Blues legend Ray Crawford.

Ipswich Town legend Terry Butcher’s son – former army captain Christopher – has died, it has been reported.

Train operator Greater Anglia is running extra services for the East Anglian derby this weekend.

West Sussex referee Tim Robinson has been put in charge of Sunday’s derby clash at Portman Road.

Former Ipswich Town and Norwich City players have recounted their East Anglian derby memories ahead of Sunday’s clash between the sides at Portman Road.

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