No stopping the star names at Foxhall

CYCLO-CROSS: Britain's top cyclo cross stars Roger Hammond and Isla Rowntree continued their dominance of the national championship in Ipswich at the weekend.

BRITAIN'S top cyclo cross stars Roger Hammond and Isla Rowntree continued their dominance of the national championship in Ipswich at the weekend.

The Belgium-based Hammond (Collstrop/Palmans) won his fourth national title on the course around Foxhall Stadium while Rowtree clinched her second success.

Hammond, a convincing winner at the same venue last year, had to fight all the way this time to hold off a determined challenge from Matt Ellis.

After the opening lap a group of four emerged at the front, Hammond, Ellis (Ace RT), Barrie Clarke (Helly Hansen/Giant) and Stuart Blunt (Team Corridori).

Blunt retired after technical problems, and Clarke was dropped by the pace of the leading pair. Further back, Nick Craig (Pertex) was making a charge after a slow start, as was another former champion, Steve Knight (MI Racing).

They threatened to bridge the gap to the two leaders but Hammond recognised the danger and put in a further attack to which Ellis could not respond.

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Ellis fought back on the final lap and it all came down to the last 100 metres in which the professional used his European road experience to edge out Ellis.

Just over half a minute later the bronze medal was resolved, Craig taking it in another tight sprint.

Rowntree (Stourbridge CC) had a comfortable 47-second victory over her closest rival, Victoria Wilkinson (Team Y2K).

The bronze medal battle was a tighter affair, and at one time looked to be a three-way contest between Susan Carter (Team Alsager), Katy Middlehurst (Helly Hansen/Giant) and Nikki Harris (Pearce Cycles RT).

Fifteen-year-old Harris eventually dropped back, while Carter held off Middlehurst on the line to collect her second bronze in three National Championship outings.

The Under-23 race turned into a battle between the last two champions, Liam Killeen (Team Y2K) and Daniel Booth (Ace RT), plus Phil Dixon (Team Y2K). It came down to a three-up sprint, which Dixon won by the narrowest of margins.

Sammy Cotton (Ancillotti UK) added the national youth title to a clean sweep of National Trophy victories on the first day of the championships. He led from start to finish to win from Ian Legg, of Principia RT.

Third-placed Ian Stannard (Team Keyne/Trek) was first Under-15, while David Wood (VC Deal) was the first under-14 home.

In the youth girls' championship, Nikki Harris won her second successive title, from Amy Thompson (Cycles Unlimited) and Amy Hunt (Helly Hansen/Giant).

Steven Roach (Rugby Velo) had a fight on his hands to add the junior title to his National Trophy win. Sammy Cotton, who earned his place in the junior race through his performances in the youth trophy, stayed with Roach throughout, but he had no answer to a last attack in the final few metres, giving the older rider a winning margin of just six seconds.

Craig Cooke (Cardiff Ajax CC) had earlier stormed through the field to join the two leaders, but was unable to stay with them. Nevertheless, he had done enough to secure the bronze medal for the second time.

Belgian-based Peter Stevenson (Middridge CRT) made a winning return to British shores to regain the veteran title he had won at the same venue two years before.

His winning margin was nearly two and a half minutes, leaving Mick Bell (London Fire Brigade CC) and defending champion Martin Booth to sprint for the lesser medals, the verdict going to Trophy winner Bell. Booth had the consolation of winning the Senior Veteran (44-49) category.

Les Lloyd (Didcot Phoenix CC) was the favourite to halt the reign of Vic Barnett in the veteran 50 plus category, after winning all five rounds of the National Trophy. He duly won by nearly a minute from John Scholes (Private Member), who relegated Barnett to third.

Barnett, though, was top Master Veteran (55-59), while Mick Ives extended was first in the Grand Master Veteran class (60-64).

Ian Small (Zodiac CRC) held off John Dowell (Gainsborough Aegir CC) to take the Super Veteran (65+) title.

The event was promoted by the Ipswich Bicycle Club with theĀ support of Ipwich Borough Council, Suffolk County Council and Ipswich Speedway Ltd, Ipswich Audi, Orwell Motorcycles and Elmy Cycles.