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Cycling: Madgwick puts in near faultless ride to win Snetterton cyclo-cross

PUBLISHED: 14:44 23 January 2020 | UPDATED: 14:44 23 January 2020

Senior winner James Madgwick didn’t bother to dismount for the hurdles at Snetterton. Junior winner Max Bolton is far left. Picture: FERGUS MUIR

Senior winner James Madgwick didn't bother to dismount for the hurdles at Snetterton. Junior winner Max Bolton is far left. Picture: FERGUS MUIR

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At the end of a brilliantly sunny day of cyclo-cross at World Horse Welfare in Snetterton, James Madgwick raced to the Senior win over a fast-drying course, writes Fergus Muir.

Bethany Barnett takes the women’s win at Snetterton. Picture: FERGUS MUIRBethany Barnett takes the women’s win at Snetterton. Picture: FERGUS MUIR

The very young riders also had dry going - it was crisply frozen under wheel for their races which opened the programme.

However races in between faced tricky and fast changing conditions as the sun took effect - melting first just a lubricating top quarter-inch for the Youth categories followed by a deeper stickier mud which made the Veterans think about visiting the pits for clean bikes.

Madgwick, not always the most consistent of riders, put in a near faultless effort to win by 51seconds from his Bloodwise/QSW teammate Max Bolton, who took the Junior prize.

Seb Herrod (Rotor) took third spot while also in the top ten were Junior League leader Charlie Johnson (fifth), Martlesham rider Lloyd Chapman (seventh), getting fit for the time-trial season.

Vets 50+ riders at Snetterton, from the left, Dave  Copland (Ipswich BC), Bruce Mackie, Simon Hime. Picture: FERGUS MUIRVets 50+ riders at Snetterton, from the left, Dave Copland (Ipswich BC), Bruce Mackie, Simon Hime. Picture: FERGUS MUIR

Eighth placed Robert Smithers is a MTB rider trying cyclo-cross. Listen to the sound of his XLR8 team name, rather than search for meaning, I'm told. Cam Hall (ninth) is perhaps the most improved Senior this season, while in tenth was Angus Toms sporting his new Pedal Power Ipswich colours.

Junior Bethany Barnett (LIV/AWOL) won the Women's race, holding off late pressure from Suffolk rider Elvita Branch.

Barnett initially shared the lead with Bury rider Martha Lebentz, but Branch, more used to longer MTB races, came through in mid race.

Neil Ellison (Specialized Ruislip) won the Vets 40-49 from League Champion Ben Lewis while Paul Groombridge (Epic Orange) returned to the top placings with third spot. Incidentally, his son Baily had earlier made sure of the Under Eights League Championship.

Bury St Edmunds rider Martha Lebentz (left) and eventual winner Bethany Barnett from King’s Lynn at Snetterton. Picture: FERGUS MUIRBury St Edmunds rider Martha Lebentz (left) and eventual winner Bethany Barnett from King’s Lynn at Snetterton. Picture: FERGUS MUIR

Paul Bird (Ipswich BC) slipped into the top ten for the first time this season. Just a bit further down a ding-dong battle between Spencer Laborde (Iceni) and James Farren (Maldon & District) was resolved in Farren's favour by a slip on the by now treacherous mud by Laborde.

Spencer's son Callum is top of the Youth League standings, but a momentary slip handed the win at Snetterton to clubmate Joseph Smith.

Visitor Phil Roach (Team Jewson) won the Vets 50-plus race but Jimmy Piper Renvale RT) scored maximum League points as Roach isn't a member. Diss rider Ian Newby was third and still heads the League table

Colchester rider Ben Paton (fifth) scored his season's best points, only just behind Simon Hime.

Youth League Leader Charlie Johnson from Stowmarket at Snetterton. Picture: FERGUS MUIRYouth League Leader Charlie Johnson from Stowmarket at Snetterton. Picture: FERGUS MUIR

It was in this race that the thawing mud really began to stick. Dave Copland (Ipswich BC, sixth) was forced to change bikes and beat Bury rider Mike Bowen by two seconds. Bowen didn't change - and his bike was carrying a heavy load of mud at the finish.

Full results can be found at www.easterncross.org.uk.

It is time to update entry form details - because entries close on Tuesday (Jan 28th) for the first open time trial of the season - the classic Ely & District Hardriders. This 25 mile event offers old challenges like the wind across the shelter-less fen roads, as well as newer ones like multiplying holes in the road surface.

On a crisp freezing morning there were some slippery moments in Uggeshall for riders in the VC Baracchi's 100 km reliability trial, but that did not stop international triathlete Joe Skipper, together with Liam Gentry and Mark Richards, demolishing the 62 miles in two hours 40 minutes, according to organiser John Thompson.

This Sunday morning CC Sudbury hold their reliability rides based in Great Cornard, CO10 0WD. There is a choice of 46 or 27 mile distances and a variety of schedules. Details and GPX route files can be found on the club website.

Time-trialists have the East District Cycling Association Prize Presentation at Carbrooke Village Hall near Watton - IP25 6SW. There will be a 50 Km Reliability Trial starting at 10am followed by refreshments and, at around 1pm, the presentations.

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