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Laura Sampson, Mel Paddington and Stephen James shine at Eastern Region mountain bike championship

PUBLISHED: 13:00 25 May 2017 | UPDATED: 13:00 25 May 2017

Stephen James on his way to winning the Vets 40-49 race at Carver Barracks

Stephen James on his way to winning the Vets 40-49 race at Carver Barracks

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FERGUS MUIR brings you the latest cycling news from the region in his weekly column.

The Senior Men’s start at Carver Barracks including Ipswich riders Liam Manser (326) and Paddy Atkinson (619) The Senior Men’s start at Carver Barracks including Ipswich riders Liam Manser (326) and Paddy Atkinson (619)

Among local riders taking the honours at the Eastern Region Championship mountain bike races were Laura Sampson, Mel Paddington, Stephen James and Austin Ainsworth.

The course at Carver Barracks was very much one of two halves, combining continuous single-track where overtaking was difficult, with vast former runways.

Sampson soon established a lead among the Elites, while Paddington came through later to gain a big margin in the Vets.

James, from Wetheringsett, was returning to the off-road scene after brief absence – and moving to the Vets 40-49 category. His task was made slightly easier by a puncture sustained by closest challenger Dan Howe, but that was quickly dealt with. Ainsworth’s win was in the 26 rider Under Nine boy’s event. Dad Nick was fourth in the Vet 40-49s.

On the Vets 50+ podium  - Winner Jimmy Piper (left) and Mark Wingar (Gipping RT) On the Vets 50+ podium - Winner Jimmy Piper (left) and Mark Wingar (Gipping RT)

In the Paul Simon Homes road race Tommy Power scored a second win in eight days – on a very different course from the VC Revolution race last week.

The new circuit at Elmdon in the Chilterns included short, sharp hills and tricky damp corners – falls occurring on most laps on one particular corner,

“The constant up and down nature of it really suited me” said Power who attacked with four laps to go and quickly built up 30 seconds lead. Though a chasing pair of James O’Connell and Clay Davies were closing, Power (Strada Sport) had about seven seconds in hand over O’Connell at the line.

In the bunch behind no individual showed much enthusiasm for chasing and it came down to a sprint on the steep finish hill, where Gary Freeman (Fast Test) secured fourth overall and Sam Toye (Velo Schils) sixth.

Paul Bird (Ipswich BC) climbs at Carver Barracks Paul Bird (Ipswich BC) climbs at Carver Barracks

Daniel Bloy of Bury St Edmunds based VeloVelocity pedalled neatly and purposefully to an eight-minute win in the first 100 mile time trial of the season. His time in the event promoted by the North Norfolk Wheelers over three laps of a 34 mile Fakenham-Hillington-Gayton circuit was 3:49:47.

The event attracted many triathletes and the stand-out result was Kimberley Morrison’s 4:04:56 which was good enough for third place overall as well as the Women’s win. Morrison is a 29 year old professional triathlete who lives near the course and holds the record for the North Norfolk club’s home 10 mile course.

Second woman was former national 12 hour champion Jasmijn Muller (4:24:06) who is preparing for a Lands End-John O’Groats rcord attempt later this summer.

Bloy, who thought it was perhaps the hardest “100” he had ever ridden, led the winning VeloVelocity team, backed by Ben Keeley (4:11:39) and Ipswich rider Andrew Leggett (4:22:06)

It was tough into the wind all the way from Fakenham to Hillington and Gayton, which include some long drags. Wolsey RC’s Cliff Matthews (5:05:12) commented:

“The third ascent through Tattersett and Harpley was a killer but the wind assisted return was joyous”.

In the Eagles Criteriums at Rock Barracks near Woodbridge there was a solo win for Ollie Jones (Team OnForm) in a race that finished in torrential rain. Josh Andrews from Claydon was second with Fabian Horrocks third. Joseph Smith took the earlier, and dry, race for entry-level competitors.

Ollie Jones then went on to win the Peterborough Stage Race at the weekend.

On the wide smooth Lotus test track at Hethel Daniel Drewery (Fast Test) won an almighty bunch sprint in which 39 riders crossed the line in the course of one second.

Ethan Humphrey took the well-supported race for entry-level competitors.

In time-trial events, Colin Ward (Essex Roads) took the 50 mile event on the Steeple circuit in 1:48:59. Top finisher from the promoting Maldon and District club was Adrian Tovey who was sixth in 2:01:07 just ahead of Simon Daw (Velo Schils, 2:01:30).

Closely packed near the top of the result of the Great Yarmouth CC 25 on the Somerleyton Circuit were John Bradbury (CC Sudbury) 58:53, Ipswich rider Ant Birt (59:01) and Stuart Fairweather from Rendlesham (59:05).

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