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Sampson family shine in mountain bike racing at Brandon Park

PUBLISHED: 13:42 18 January 2018 | UPDATED: 13:42 18 January 2018

The start of the 90-minute race at Brandon Park with Laura Sampson (139) and Ipswich father and son Mark Wingar (400) and Troy Wingar (399). Picture: FERGUS MUIR

The start of the 90-minute race at Brandon Park with Laura Sampson (139) and Ipswich father and son Mark Wingar (400) and Troy Wingar (399). Picture: FERGUS MUIR

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Laura Sampson’s win in the Revel Outdoors women’s 90-minute mountain bike race in Brandon Park was convincing but not unexpected, writes Fergus Muir.

Caitlyn Sampson – junior winner and second fastest female overall at Brandon Park. Picture: FERGUS MUIR Caitlyn Sampson – junior winner and second fastest female overall at Brandon Park. Picture: FERGUS MUIR

The Sussed Out Suspension 40-plus rider was faster than the 18-39 winner – again, not for the first time.

But what did catch the eye was Laura’s daughter Caitlyn not only winning the Junior category, but putting in the overall second fastest female ride in the process.

Add to that husband/dad Andy marking his recovery from breaking two bones in his neck last spring by being runner-up in the Veteran’s 90-minuter and you have a very happy day for the Stowmarket family.

Riding only her second MTB race, triathlete Nicole Beck started fastest among the 18-39 Women but slowed on the last lap, letting Jodie Cole (Epic Orange) through.

Senior winner Seb Herrod, from Beccles, at Brandon Park. Picture: FERGUS MUIR Senior winner Seb Herrod, from Beccles, at Brandon Park. Picture: FERGUS MUIR

Organising club King’s Lynn MTB set up an undramatic course which featured much swooping singletrack.

“Loving the course – it really had me smiling” said Cole.

One feature was a long grassy climb that every one of the 200-plus competitors will certainly remember. Conditions were such that some – Matt Ellis for instance – chose to lock out bike suspension completely and the weather, though grey, was nothing like as cold as last year’s ice-bound event.

The men’s 90-minute race was won by Patrick Beil of Dunstable-based Pedalworks from Matt Ellis (Epic Orange) – the latter making sure of the Series win. First Veteran was Craig Gunnell ahead of Sampson, Paul Groombridge and Mark Wingar.

Ixworth rider Mathew Shotbolt (281) wins a sprint for the line at Brandon Park. Picture: FERGUS MUIR Ixworth rider Mathew Shotbolt (281) wins a sprint for the line at Brandon Park. Picture: FERGUS MUIR

In the longer-drawn out battle in the three-hour race Seb Herrod, now riding for oval chainwheel firm Absolute Black, opened a gap on frequent winner Andrew Cockburn on that long grass climb.

The promoting club’s Paul Ashby finished less than three minutes behind Herrod to win the Veteran’s category, despite getting puncture sealant all over his face and glasses as it sprayed out of a large hole in his front tyre.

Neil Catling (third 18-39) and Mathew Shotbolt (sixth) were the top men from Suffolk team LCUK.

Racing on home ground, top man from Thetford MTB was Matt Oxborrow, fifth Senior. Adam Chamberlin (10th Vet) was first from Hadleigh-based TPH while Will Mitcham was top finisher from race sponsor Revel Outdoors

Felixstowe’s Elvita Branch leading Mark Tilley and Adam Chamberlin from Hadleigh at Brandon Park. Picture: FERGUS MUIR Felixstowe’s Elvita Branch leading Mark Tilley and Adam Chamberlin from Hadleigh at Brandon Park. Picture: FERGUS MUIR

Colchester’s long distance specialist Mark Wellsted started well but veteran rival Paul Watson (West Suffolk Wheelers) pulled Wellsted back and just slipped past the finish line before the three hours were up to put in another lap and take fifth veteran’s spot.

Felixstowe rider Elvita Branch led the Women’s Three-Hour at first but experienced Katy Simcock, from St Neots, ran out clear winner.

The one-hour Youth Girls (age 12-15) race was the closest of all with Harley Pell (LivAwol) finally outsprinting Martha Lebentz (Hadleigh CC) by the narrowest of margins.

On a roll from his win in the Ipswich National Trophy Series vets race, Suffolk rider Stephen James travelled to County Durham for the National Championship weekend – and came away with top-ten placings in both the Senior and Veteran’s Championships.

James found huge changes in the conditions as the two day event progressed – but was well-equipped to cope, bringing eight sets of tyres to suit varying conditions.

The Veteran’s race on Saturday was run off in slippery mud with bike-changes the order of the day. Despite a missed pedal in the start James worked his way up to fourth at the finish, with Mike Bowen the next Eastern rider in 18th place.

By Sunday afternoon, big ruts had developed and competitors chose their berm and flew round as if on rails. From a lowly gridded start James climbed to ninth at the finish of the Elite race.

Sadly Sophie Wright – riding for James’s Renvale team - came to grief in the Under 23 Women’s race – being squeezed against the barriers and crashing out.

There was better luck for Fast Test’s Freddie Grover, 23rd in the Junior Men and for Kieran Jarvis (OnForm) in the same position in the Under 23s.

RESULTS: REVEL OUTDOORS WINTER SERIES 3 Brandon Park: 90 MINUTE RACE - Fastest women over 3 laps: 1) Laura Sampson 1:21:40, 2) Caitlyn Sampson 1:34:56, 3) Jodie Cole 1:43:27, 4) Nicole Beck 1:44:14.

Fastest men over 4 laps: 1) Patrick Beil 1:46:52, 2) Matt Ellis 1:48:35, 3) Craig Gunnell 1:49:07, 4) Andy Sampson 1:49:29, 5) Paul Groombridge 1:49:41.

THREE HOUR RACE – Fastest women over 6 Laps: 1) Katy Simcock 3:04:47, 2) Elvita Branch 3:14:03, 3) Sarah Hewitt 3:24:09.

Fastest men over 7 laps: 1) Seb Herrod 3:10:35, 2) Paul Ashby 3:13:01, 3) Andrew Cockburn 3:13:15, 4) Tim Plimmer 3:21:39.

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