Diss Road Race wins for Harley Matthews and Alex Clay

Harley Matthews takes his win at the Diss Road Races. Picture: FERGUS MUIR

Harley Matthews takes his win at the Diss Road Races. Picture: FERGUS MUIR - Credit: Archant

With the wind bringing a taste of Belgian conditions to a short circuit in south Norfolk, the Diss Road Races proved exceptionally competitive with breaks succeeding in both the men’s and women’s events.

The leading group in the women’s race at Diss – Frankie Hall (far left) and winner Alex Clay (far ri

The leading group in the womens race at Diss Frankie Hall (far left) and winner Alex Clay (far right). Picture: FERGUS MUIR - Credit: Archant

Harley Matthews (DAP CC) scored his first open road win in the men’s race after joining Thomas Heal (Strada Sport) in a two-man break and outsprinting Heal on the long, straight, into-the-wind finish.

Held on a four-mile triangular circuit between Kenninghall and North Lopham, sunshine gave riders the spirit to try their legs in breakaways, and teamwork and a stiff wind hindered chasing.

The preferred place for attacks was on the steady climb after a sharp corner on the edge of Kenninghall – and it was here that Matthews made his first bid on the wheel of Team Corley’s Oliver Knight.

This pair were re-caught but when former rower Thomas Neal attacked with 22 of the 65 miles remaining, Matthews again signed up for action. This time, helped by their strong Strada Sport and DAP teams jumping on all attempts to chase, the pair stayed away to the finish.

You may also want to watch:

With the top two places settled the sprint battle was on for third place. New Strada Sport man Jack Bracey took fourth just ahead of experienced teammate Charlie Wright, but both were bested by Saffron Walden rider Callum Riley, a former international mountain biker who is in his first season as a roadman.

The women’s race, of 48 miles over the same circuit in the afternoon, broke up even more spectacularly.

Most Read

The field split in two at quarter distance. Then the lead group of seven burst asunder. Mathilde Pauls (Sigma Sport), the only First Cat competitor in the field, attacking and being joined by Alex Clay (Loughborough Students).

At the line Clay, a triathlete from Kent and in only her second road race, took the win.

The women’s podium at Diss – (L-R) Michelle Arthurs-Brennan (3rd), Alex Clay (winner) and Mathilde

The womens podium at Diss (L-R) Michelle Arthurs-Brennan (3rd), Alex Clay (winner) and Mathilde Pauls. Picture: FERGUS MUIR - Credit: Archant

Pedal Power Ipswich rider Gemma Melton paired up with Michelle Arthurs-Brennan to make sure of the next two places, Arthurs-Brennan getting third in a tight sprint.

Behind Frankie Hall (DAP CC) chased alone to fifth spot ahead of Jennie Tillott and Polly Mason.

- Eastern Region Mountain Bike Championships were decided on the results of the Mud, Sweat and Gears races at Carver Barracks near Newport, Essex.

Though it was hot, the course, part airfield and part intricate climbs, drops and switchbacks in a pit, was still slippery and hard going under the trees.

Local riders winning Eastern Region Championships included Paddy Atkinson and Elvita Branch at Elite level, Keith Clarke in the Men’s 50-plus and Nigel Herrod in the 60-plus.

Sport (non-Elites aged 18-39) Champions are Emma Bond and James Pickering. Among the younger competitors, local Eastern Champions include Molly Cutmore (Junior Female), and Oliver Tilley (Under 12s)

- Matthew Senter (19:47) was the clear winner of the Stowmarket & District 10 on Bank Holiday Monday. Conditions were warm and dry but competitors found the road surface noticeably deteriorating and the headwind on the return leg ended many riders hopes of a good time.

Nearest challengers to Senter were Andy Proffitt (20:23), his Ipswich BC clubmate Simon Hance (20:38) and CC Sudbury’s Leon West (20:42).

Elvita Branch (from Felixstowe) – Elite Women’s Champion at the Eastern MTB Championships. Picture:

Elvita Branch (from Felixstowe) Elite Womens Champion at the Eastern MTB Championships. Picture: JOHN STYLES - Credit: Archant

Top finisher from Velo Schils was Neil Hughes (21:24), while best from Colchester team 3T Racing was David Crisp (21:14)

Time trialists whose clubs are members of the Eastern Counties CA contested their 25 miles time trial championship on the Newmarket by-pass, where the wind was noticeably increasing as the event progressed.

Winners were Paul Hart (Southend Wheelers, 48:29) and Becky Murley (Wisbech Whs, 57:01). Notable local rider’s times included David Harding (Chelmer CC, 50:34), Peter Harding (Chelmer, 51:38), Dave Green (CC Breckland, 52:17) and Richard Carrington (West Suffolk Whs, 52:50).

In the Lotus Cycle Race League winner Morris Bacon (DAP) and Ben Beynon (Strada Sport) opened a 90 second gap on the Senior bunch. Polly Mason won the women’s race from Cindy Berry.


1: Alex Clay (Loughborough Students CC) 2: Mathilde Pauls (Sigma Sport), 3: Michelle Arthurs-Brennan (Norwood Paragon CC), 4: Gemma Melton (Pedal Power Ipswich), 5: Francesca Hall (DAP CC), 6: Jennie Tillott (Lovelo), 7: Polly Mason (Strada-Sport), 8: Agata Woznicka (Sunday Echappée), 9: Cindy Berry (Pedal Power Ipswich), 10: Katie Ward (Peterborough CC).

MEN: 1: Harley Matthews (DAP CC), 2: Thomas Heal (Strada-Sport), 3: Callum Riley (CT OnForm), 4: Jack Bracey (Strada Sport), 5: Charlie Wright (Strada-Sport), 6: Mark Richards( DAP CC), 7: Kieran Jarvis (CT OnForm), 8: Liam Manser (Pedal Power Ipswich), 9: Oliver Wood (Strada-Sport), 10: Benedict Thompson (CC London), 11: Andy Lyons (API-Metrow), 12: Chris Crabtree (Orwell Velo).

Paddy Atkinson (from Holbrook) – Elite Men’s Champion at the Eastern MTB Championships. Picture: JOH

Paddy Atkinson (from Holbrook) Elite Mens Champion at the Eastern MTB Championships. Picture: JOHN STYLES - Credit: Archant


1: Matthew Senter (VeloVelocity) 19:47, 2: Andy Proffitt (Ipswich BC) 20:23, 3: Simon Hance (Ipswich BC) 20:38, 4: Leon West (CC Sudbury) 20:42 , 5: Andy Stuart (VC St Raphael) 20:52, 6: Paul Jay Team (VeloVelocity) 20:55, 7: Joe Spaulding (Ipswich BC) 20:59, 8: Neil Hughes (Velo Schils) 21:04, 9 :David Crisp (3T-RACING) 21:14 10: Philip Barnes (TPH Racing) 21:28.

Women: 1 Denise Hurren (Sole Bay Cycle Sport), 2 Susan Triplow (Essex Roads) 23:25, 21:00, 3 Kate Lucas (Norwich ABC) 24:26, 4 Kay Burgess (Kings Lynn CC) 24:41, 5 Dawn Collyer (Tri-Anglia) 25:54, 6 Rachel Jarvis (Colchester Rovers) 25:59.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter