Nichols survives hectic finale

ANDY Nichols (Cambridge University CC) survived a hectic final 20 minutes of the Hempton cyclo-cross to snatch victory at the last gasp.

ANDY Nichols (Cambridge University CC) survived a hectic final 20 minutes of the Hempton cyclo-cross to snatch victory at the last gasp.

A previously benign day turned wet part way through the final and most important event of the East Coast Riders promotion, the race for Seniors

At that stage Nichols had a ten second lead on Bungay rider Shaun Aldous (Extreme Sports Therapy). As the surface mulch in this former sandpit turned greasy, both leaders crashed and needed bike changes. Nichols made two changes, neither of which went smoothly, leaving the pair neck and neck. Aldous looked well placed as he led through the final narrows, but Nichols produced an astonishing burst of straight-line speed to win.

Nichols then faced his final hurdle – the commisaire’s view on swearing during those fraught bike changes. Nichols survived - and a public apology at the prize-giving closed matters.

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Third place went to Nathan Miller (XRT/Elmy Cycles) while Aldous’ clubmate Tim Guy put in an outstanding ride to take fourth, just holding off a late challenge from Barnham man Matt Cook. James Jobber coped with his chain bouncing off at one stage to win the junior category.

In the Veterans race Phil Buick (Thetford MTB) had a six second lead on the second lap, but eventually the experience of Tim Butler (Ipswich BC) on this technical course secured him the win, with Lee Desborough (St Ives CC) second and Buick third.

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Sue Wood (Maldon & District), enjoying a purple patch in her racing at the moment, took the women’s prize.

In the Youth race, Alan Trolove was the clear winner with George Wood (Maldon & District) second. Zak Coleman of the Great Yarmouth CC won the Under 12s race by 59 seconds, from Tomas Gould (Ipswich BC) and Matthew Baker (City of Norwich).

The course in former sandpits just outside Fakenham in Norfolk is one of the most exciting and challenging in the Eastern League, featuring a steep, sandy run-up – which just a few competitors could ride, as well as a spectacular descent, which was taken out of the course as conditions worsened at the end of the programme.

Debenham schoolboy Hugo Robinson took part in two top class junior races in Belgium over the weekend. The XRT/Elmy Cycles rider took 20th place at Veldrijden on Saturday, 3.30 down on SAECO-sponsored Jens Vandekinderen. Next day at Hasselt he was 20th again, 3.38 behind Diether Sweeck.

* The VC Baracchi prize presentation in Lowestoft was a lively and informal occasion where Nick Esser won the club’s road race trophy and was voted Rider of the Year by the membership - a tribute to his ability as a rider, road race organiser and blogger. Liam Gentry took the lion’s share of the short distance time trial awards while Mike Rainton was the first winner of the club’s new 24 hour trophy presented in memory of John Porter whose 1951 ride, in Lowestoft Wheelers colours, of 435 miles was a regional record.

Result - Eastern Cyclo-Cross League round nine, Hempton, November 21 2010

Seniors, Juniors, Elite Veterans: 1 Andrew Nichols (Cambridge Uni) 11 laps in 55:10; 2 Shaun Aldous (Extreme Sports Therapy) +0:03; 3 Nathan Miller (XRT-Elmy Cycles) +1:30; 4 Tim Guy (Extreme Sports Therapy) +1:45; 5 Matthew Cook (WV Eemland) +1:46; 6 Martin Carter 1st Elite Vet +1:55; 9 James Jobber 1st Jun (Colchester Rovers) +3:29.

Women, Veterans: 1 Tim Butler Vet 50+ (Ipswich BC) 8 laps in 43:09; 2 Lee Desborough 1st Vet (St Ives CC) +0:38; 3 Phil Buick Vet 50+ (Thetford MTB) +0:50; 4 Tony Wilkins Vet 50+ (Team Endura) +1:26; 5 Geoff Bores Vet 50+ (Ford CC) +2:00; 6 Gary Wood Vet (Maldon & District) +2:08; 19 Susan Wood 1st Women/Vet. (Maldon & District) +5:18.

Youth: 1 Alan Trolove (West Suffolk Whls) 6 laps in 31:10; 2 George Wood (Maldon & District) +1:34; 3 Cameron Toms (Extreme Sports Therapy) +2:28; 4 Imogen Buick 1st Girl (Thetford MTB) +4:3.

Under 12: 1 Zak Coleman (Gt Yarmouth CC) 5 laps in 13:40; 2 Tomas Gould (Ipswich BC) +0:59; 3 Matthew Baker (City of Norwich) +1:52; 4 Colin Mantle 1st U10 (Mildenhall CC) +3:02; 8 Alexandra Sjolin (West Suffolk Whls) +2 laps +0:07.

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