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Spectacular racing - and viewing - at Grafham Water cyclo-cross event

Veteran’s battle – David Grigg (West Suffolk Whs) leads Kevin Godber (Ipswich BC). Photo: FERGUS MUIR

Veteran’s battle – David Grigg (West Suffolk Whs) leads Kevin Godber (Ipswich BC). Photo: FERGUS MUIR


The St Ives Cycling Club not only organised an excellent seventh round of the Eastern Cyclo-Cross League at Grafham Water, their young member Celia Hime won the Women’s race after a tight battle with Pedal Power Ipswich rider Gemma Melton who led on the second lap.

However Hime, a Junior who mostly competes in Central League events, managed to get past, avoided mistakes and held a nine second lead at the finish. Jackie Field was first Woman Veteran home but Wendy Atkinson (Ipswich BC) still heads the veteran’s League.

The course at this spectacular venue by the Cambridgeshire reservoir was a long one, with a bumpy surface that made it difficult to get in a rhythm and made chains jump off while getting feet back on pedals after the dismount could prove a bit of a nightmare.

There were two beach sections, one of which was determinedly occupied by a trio of geese.

Whether by chance or otherwise, as the senior men’s race first came in sight along the lakeside, the entire field was safely tucked in behind Army CC’s Daniel Preece.

As last week at Mistley, Stephen James (Renvale RT) had to deal with a sustained challenge from Kieran Jarvis (Team OnForm) and it took what James described as a “Monsterous effort” to shake off the young Dickleburgh rider, which he did on the fifth lap of the eventual seven.

Once the gap opened, Jarvis slowed but he still had 38 seconds over Michael Parry (Verulam CC) at the line. Seb Herrod (Strada Sport) was fourth.

Jimmy Piper (MS Society) survived a last lap drama to win the Vets 50-plus race thanks to the timely loan of a bike by the Herrod family of Beccles.

Piper was holding a consistent half minute lead on Ford CC’s Clive Harrison when his front tyre deflated. As Piper dived into the pits for a pump, Harrison swept past into the lead. However Seb Herrod proffered the spare bike he was holding for his dad Nigel, and with that Piper (MS Society) hared after Harrison, caught him and won the sprint for the line.

Ipswich BC’s Dave Copland was initially in second place, but a fall followed by a jammed chain relegated him to third.

Epping Forest competitors dominated the 40-49 Vets with the win going to Matthew Webber (Forest Side Riders). Top Suffolk finisher was Glenn Davey (Stowmarket & District, 8th), one place ahead of former League Champion Nathan Miller who now rides for Derby Mercury.

Harrison Powell (Lee Valley Youth) won the Under 16s race where there was a first top ten placing for Charlie Johnson (Ipswich CSC).

Several Eastern riders made the long journey to Abergavenny for the second round of the National Trophy where Richard Muchmore took a notable 13th place in the 50-plus Vets. Other results included a 10th place for Jo Newstead, and 24th, 31st and 34th respectively for Suffolk Juniors Cam Hurst, Freddie Grover and Jack Parrish.

In the National Hill Climb Championship in Northumberland Rebecca Johnson (XRT/Elmy) was 11th out of 41 finishers in the Women’s Championship in 5 mins 27.1 seconds, while among the men Josh Aiken was 31st (out of 151) in 4:30.3 while fellow Ipswich climber Ross Fawcett was just one second slower for 37th place – so close were the times.

In a rare attempt on a one-direction record of the Eastern Counties Road Records Association Tom Platts (Aspire Velo) updated the 29-year-old mark for 50 miles previously held by Kevin Gill of the Elite CC. Platts started near Royston and proceeded via Four Went Ways, Barton Mills and the Thetford bypass and ran out, slightly over-distance, on Roudham Heath. He set the new mark at 1:51:48, a 2:06 beating of the old record. He continued with his eye on the 100 mile figures. However a headwind over the final miles from Easton to Castle Acre proved just too strong.

RESULT – Grafham Water cyclo-cross: Winners and leading local riders:

SENIORS/JUNIORS: 1 Stephen James (Renvale RT) 7 laps in 56:44, 2 Kieran Jarvis (CT OnForm) +1:21, 3 Michael Parry (Verulam) +1:59, 4 S Herrod (Strada; WOMEN: 1 Celia Hime (St Ives CC) 5 in 49:20, 2 Gemma Melton (Pedal Power Ipswich) +0:09, 3 Alison Hogg (Push Sport) +0:34, 6 P Mason (Iceni Velo) +3:51, 10 N Powell (Stowmarket & Dist) . VETS 40-49: 1 Matthew Webber (Forest Ride Riders) 5 in 41:01, 2 Mike Mooney (Hub Velo) +0:03, 6 P Groombridge (Push Sport) +0:51. VETS 50+: 1 Jimmy Piper (MS Society) 5 in 45:06, 2 Clive Harrison (Ford CC) +0:03, 3 Dave Copland (Ipswich BC) +0:40, 4 P Watson (West Suffolk Whs) +0:52: YOUTH: 1 Harrison Powell (Lee Valley Youth) 4 in 34:58, 2 A Lightfoot (CC Ashwell) +0:28, 3 J Corbishley (Team Milton Keynes); UNDER 12: 1 Finlay Woodiffe (Welwyn Whs) 5 in 15:22, 2 D Starkey (Welwyn Whs) +0:15. Under 10: 1 Dillon Preece (Bolsover & Dist) 3 in 9:57, 2 Oliver Beale (Lee Valley Youth) +0:9:57.

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