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Stephen James outlasts young pretenders at Mistley Cyclo-Cross

PUBLISHED: 11:35 26 October 2017 | UPDATED: 11:35 26 October 2017

15 year-old Lauren Higham on the way to the outright win in the women’s race at Mistley. Picture: JOHN LLOYD

15 year-old Lauren Higham on the way to the outright win in the women’s race at Mistley. Picture: JOHN LLOYD

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Young seniors set the pace at the Mistley Cyclo-Cross, but 40 year-old Stephen James won in the end, writes Fergus Muir.

The Women’s start at Mistley – winner Lauren Higham on green bike. Picture: JOHN SWINDELLS The Women’s start at Mistley – winner Lauren Higham on green bike. Picture: JOHN SWINDELLS

In the climactic race of the day, for senior and junior men, Dougal Toms (Pedal Power Ipswich) led on lap one, with junior Cameron Hurst and 18 year old Kieran Jarvis (OnForm) hot on his wheels, while James (Renvale RT) often a slow starter, was 15 seconds back.

However James – who could race with the Veterans, if he wished – clawed his way up to join the leaders. Toms and Jarvis were bunny-hopping the fairly high hurdles astride their bikes, while James preferred not to take the risk and was dismounting – and was losing, he estimated – six to eight metres on them each time.

However James detected a slight faltering in the pace and attacked up the longest uphill leg of the Furze Hill course.

Jarvis responded. “I hung on for dear life,” he said.

The pair opened a gap on the rest, and in the next stretch of single-track James got a gap and was away to win by one minute 22 seconds.

Toms held onto third, but Hurst found fighting-fit fireman Seb Herrod coming past with two laps to go, though Hurst remained comfortably ahead of Jack Parrish (Ipswich BC) next in the Junior category.

In the women’s race 15-year-old Lauren Higham opened a first lap gap of 15 seconds on young rival Elspeth Grace, made it half-a-minute at the end of the second, and was never threatened thereafter.

Alison Hogg (Push Sport) had a slower start but overtook Jo Newstead (XRT/Elmy) on the first lap and went on to take third spot. Pedal Power Ipswich rider Gemma Melton maintained her lap speed right through the 45 minute race, moving up to fourth spot by the end.

Alison Hogg looks for a chance to pass Ipswich rider Jo Newstead at Mistley. Picture: JOHN LLOYD Alison Hogg looks for a chance to pass Ipswich rider Jo Newstead at Mistley. Picture: JOHN LLOYD

Shaun Aldous made his first appearance of the season, coming second to Matthew Webber in the Vets 40-49, while Jimmy Piper had clear win in the 50-plus. Winners in the Under 12s were Dylan Starkey and Florence Barnett while Dillon Preece and Abbey Thompson topped the Under 10s.

UEA Velo’s first-ever road race promotion was action packed from start to finish, despite – or partly because of – being run off in rain and strong winds which split the field from the “off”

Straight after the start from Saxlingham in south Norfolk, Stephen Fuller (Cambridge CC) attacked and after two laps was joined by Andrew Taylor (VC Norwich), Southwold rider Tom Heal (Strada Sport), Joe Skipper (unattached) and Kyle Harper of Artel Racing. Taylor promptly departed the race in spectacular fashion, sliding off at Shotesham Church Corner.

At around half distance (23 miles) Skipper – a current European triathlon champion, but without British Cycling points, rode off the front of the break on Skeets Hill.

Heal, Harper and Fuller continued to chase, while behind them the bunch split into two under pressure from Robin Hawes (Chelmer CC) and several VC Norwich members

Towards the end of the 46 miles, the whole field began to scatter, with Harper giving best, while Heal rode Fuller off his wheel, only to be re-caught in the last mile.

Skipper drew away and took the win - his snatched victory salute proving to be due to his front tyre being completely flat

Fuller took second spot at 2:59, Heal was third at 3:40 while Hawes took his seventh fourth place of the season, 3:59 behind the winner.

The podium at the UEA Road Race -  (L-R) Southwold rider Tom Heal, triathete Joe Skipper and Stephen Fuller. Picture: FERGUS MUIR The podium at the UEA Road Race - (L-R) Southwold rider Tom Heal, triathete Joe Skipper and Stephen Fuller. Picture: FERGUS MUIR

It has just been announced that Strada Sport will promote the 2018 Eastern Regional Road race Championship on this same 4.8 mile Shotesham Circuit on the third weekend in August. Fifteen or more ascents of Skeets hill, plus the lesser climbs out of Saxlingham and Shotesham, should ensure a worthy winner.

Peter Tibbetts (Ford CC, 40:00) paced by Tom Platts (Aspire Velo) took the top award in the Chelmer CC GP de Gentlemen. Fastest overall were Peter Harding and Jeremy Perks (38:03).

RESULTS:

MISTLEY CROSS, Winners and Leading Local Finishers: Seniors: 1 Stephen James (Renvale RT), 2 Kieran Jarvis (CT OnForm), 3 Dougal Toms (Pedal Power), 5 C Hurst (XRT/Elmy); Women: 1 Lauren Higham (LIV AWOL), 2 Elspeth Grace (Welwyn Whs), 3 Alison Hogg (Push Sport), 4 G Melton (Pedal Power), 5 J Newstead (XRT/Elmy), 6 K Scotter (ViCiOUS VELO); Veterans40-49: 1 Matthew Webber (Forest Side Riders), 2 Shaun Aldous (Renvale RT), 3 Robert Purcell (Neon Velo), 6 G Davey (Stowmarket & District); Veterans 50+: 1 Jimmy Piper (MS Society), 2 Richard Muchmore (Renvale RT), 3 Clive Harrison (Ford CC), 4 P Watson (West Suffolk Whs), 5 D Copland (Ipswich BC, 6 I Robson (MTS Cycle Sport): Youth: 1 Adam Lightfoot (CC Ashwell), 20 Bethany Barnett (King’s Lynn CC, 1st Girl) Under 12: 1Dylan Starkey (Welwyn Whs), 2 Florence Barnett (King’s Lynn CC, 1st Girl), Under 10: 1 Dillon Preece (Bolsover & Dist), 8 Abbey Thompson (Ipswich Velo, 1st Girl).

UEA Last Chance Points Grab, 46 miles Shotesham Circuit: 1 Joe Skipper (Unattached), 2 Stephen Fuller (Cambridge CC) +2:59, 3 Tom Heal (Strada-Sport) + 3:40, 4 Robin Hawes (Chelmer CC) +3:59, 5 James Sale (PCH UK) + 4:20, 6 Lubomir Belak (St Ives CC) +4:22, 7 Oli Wood (Strada-Sport) +4:26, 8 Adam Hole (VC Norwich), 9 Ashley Strowger (VC Norwich), 10 Ben Nicholson (VC Baracchi) 11 Ben Skaife (Artel Racing), 12 Louis Julian (DAP CC) + 4:38, 13 Jamie Roberts, 14 Jack Ibbotson (VC Norwich), 15 Matthew Baker (VC Norwich), 16 Bradley Nelson (Bloodwise QSW), 17= William Cunningham (Stowmarket & District), Steve Sach (Southend Whs), Caolan Stowe (UEA Velo) and Scott Williams (West Suffolk Whs).

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