Suffolk’s Nick Cook defies the snow to win at Chantry Park
PUBLISHED: 13:14 14 December 2017 | UPDATED: 12:21 15 December 2017
In an epic day at a snow-covered Chantry Park in Ipswich there were first league wins for Suffolk riders Nick Cook of the Ipswich Bicycle Club and Seb Herrod of Strada Sport, writes Fergus Muir.
Fortunately event organiser Paul Moss and his Stowmarket & District CC team had the course laid out before a blanket of snow fell to make a memorable backdrop to the racing.
It was in the Vets 40-49 race that Nick Cook opened an early lead which he never looked like losing.
“It was tough – and I like it tough” he said afterwards.
Andy Green (Iceni Velo) soon established himself in second place with Mark Powell (Stowmarket & District) and Ant Birt (IBC) vying for third spot, with Birt eventually prevailing.
Powell, with ice and mud building up in his gears came into the pits for a bike change, letting Darren Rutterford (Iceni Velo) get close – but not past.
Mud and ice building up on gear cassettes was a problem for most. Even more difficult was getting similarly clogged shoes clipped into pedals.
In the Senior Men’s finale a build-up of ice on Seb Herrod’s cassette meant he had only two cogs available – but with running in any case the order-of-the-day on the main climb, Herrod managed with two.
Junior Freddie Grover (Fast Test) led on the first lap, with Herrod, Kieran Jarvis (OnForm) and Army rider Dan Preece for company. One of Grover’s shoes broke, while Jarvis and Preece finished second and third.
Just behind, Gary Freeman (Fast Test) and Connor Rumbles (East Coast) swapped places according to which had most recent trouble getting feet clipped in.
Freeman eventually took fourth spot while Rumbles was fifth and first Junior.
Louise Foley (Cambridge CC) was early leader in the Women’s race but Alison Hogg (Push Sport) took the lead and went on to win from veteran Jo Newstead (XRT/Elmy), Foley, and Nicola Powell (Stowmarket & District).
Powell’s fourth spot was her best league placing of the season. With the entry down by half, there were many other examples – too many to name individually.
Jimmy Piper (MS Society), recovered from his cold to win the Men’s 50-plus race. Further back a spirited battle developed between Clive Tricker (Ipswich BC) and Barry Denny (West Suffolk Wheelers) with Laura Brown, also a Wheeler, finally getting the better of both.
The Under 12s proved a local derby with West Suffolk’s Harley Gregory winning from Oskar Everett (Stowmarket & Dist.)
At King’s Lynn Mountain Bike Club’s Winter Enduros at West Bilney age hardly seemed to matter. Winner of the 90 minute race was Matt Ellis, a Senior (age 18-39), outsprinting Veteran (40-49) Paul Groombridge.
Next came another Veteran, Mark Wingar (Gipping RT). These, together with Chris Skinner, had set the pace from the start.
There was a seventh place for Jamie Wightman whose Bury bike shop, Revel Outdoors, provides the sponsorship that makes the whole series possible. Jodie Cole (Epic Orange) was winner of the women’s 90 minute race
Vet 50-plus rider Paul Ashby, three-hour winner, had covered his first four laps in a time just 14 seconds slower than Ellis’s....and was only three minutes slower over his second half.
Conditions varied, with competitors at first riding through a light covering of snow in the open areas. Later a defined racing line developed, but the surfaces became sloppy.
“All of sudden you would go sideways,” said Paul Ashby.
In the penultimate round of the National Trophy Series at a muddy Peel Park in Bradford the top result by a local rider came from Richard Muchmore (Renvale RT) who was 12th in the Vets50+, ten places ahead of Mike Bowen.
Jack Parish (Ipswich BC) was 27th Junior while Callum Riley (Newdales/Giant) was 35th among the Senior men.
Young Welsh rider Ffion James won the Women’s race – but the Series Championship remains to be decided at the final National Trophy round in Ipswich on Sunday 7th January.