Arctic's man keeps cool head

ARCTIC Premier rider David Nichols had to keep his cool to claim the latest round of the EADT cyclo-cross league at Hempton on Sunday.

Fergus Muir

ARCTIC Premier rider David Nichols had to keep his cool to claim the latest round of the EADT cyclo-cross league at Hempton on Sunday.

He crashed on a steep and slippery drop while leading the race and for a while it seemed as if the accident might change the face of the race.

Nichols, the full-time racer from Chelmsford, had looked secure in the lead. Then he was surprised by a fallen backmarker on a precipitous descent, braked, lost control, and slid into helpers attending the faller.

Nichols (Arctic Premier RT) was up in a flash, but his handlebars were not pointing the same way as his front wheel and he had to run to his spare bike. He still held a slender lead, but Michael Raven (Extreme Sports Therapy) the round seven winner, had him in his sights and soon attacked and took the lead. The race hung in the balance. But eventually Nichols' superior skills told - this is Raven's first season of cyclo-cross - and the Arctic Premier RT man escaped to a ten second win.

Raven and Nichols, in his first race back after illness, went head-to-head from the start. Nichols slithered wide on a tarmac hairpin but stayed in contact and pressed home an advantage over the low hurdles. By the end of the first lap Nichols had edged a seven seconds lead, soon to extend to safe-looking 30 seconds. Then came the crash.

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David Nichol's brother Andrew - winner of the EADT League race last week - took third place and junior Matt Cook (API/Metrow) recovered from a slow start to take the fourth prize, bunny-hopping the hurdles while still astride his bike, where most others had to dismount.

Tom Stanford (Extreme Sports Therapy/CCN) was another to have a dramatic crash on the drop, but it hardly showed in the lap times. He won a battle with Martin Dunnett (Diss & District) and now leads the senior league.

Best elite veteran was Gavin Rumbles (CC Luton) who was powering along the road section in a time-trial position - with imaginary tri-bars. Ian Newby (Diss & District) gained more on the technical sections, though not quite enough to beat equally experienced visitor Steve Barron (VC Lincoln).

The new East Coast Riders club made good use of the former sandpit on Hempton Common, near Fakenham, to provide a varied and technical course including a closed public road and a sandy climb which was a run-up for all but the fittest.

Norwich fireman David Fraser tied up the veteran's league with his eighth win in nine races and will now move to race with the elite veterans. Mark Farrow (VC Norwich) returned to competition to take second in the non-elite veteran's race, eight seconds in front of women's winner Nikki Juniper (PCA Ciclos Uno), who had a fall early on.

Josh Hannan (EST) scored his fifth win of the season in the Youth category, using his power on the road to open a 21 seconds gap on last week's winner Alan Trolove (West Suffolk Wheelers) who was hampered by a lost screw from his shoe/pedal attachment.

The Under 12s had their most interesting course of the season. Tristan Price (PCA Ciclos Uno) was clear winner and moves into the top spot in the EADT League table.

The regional cyclo-cross championships will be fought out this Sunday in the grounds of Foxhall Stadium, Ipswich. EADT league stars David Nichols and Nathan Miller face top men from the London League Darren Barclay and James Duguid. The first race is at 11am and the Senior Championship at 2pm. The full race programme can be downloaded from a link on the league website


EADT League round 9 Hempton, November 29

Seniors, Juniors, Elite Veterans

1 David Nichols (Arctic Premier RT) 9 laps in 59:04; 2 Michael Raven (Extreme Sports Therapy) +0:10; 3 Andrew Nichols (Cambridge Uni) +1:29; 4 Matthew Cook 1st Jun (API Metrow) +2:32; 5 Greg Simcock (XRT/ +2:52; 6 Gavin Rumbles 1st Elite Vet (CC Luton) +3:00; 7 Martin Carter +3:10; 8 Steve Barron Elite Vet (VC Lincoln) +4:21; 9 Ian Newby Elite Vet (Diss & District CC) +4:48; 10 Stuart Chatting Elite Vet (Amis Velo RT) +4:54.

Veterans, Women

1 David Fraser Vet 5 laps in 37:00; 2 Mark Farrow Vet (VC Norwich / Fitt Signs) +0:55; 3 Nikki Juniper 1st Woman (PCA Ciclos Uno) +1:03; 4 Tony Wilkins 1st Vet 50+ (Team Endura) +1:23; 5 Paul Moss Vet (Stowmarket & District) +1:32.


1 Joshua Hannan (Extreme Sports Therapy) 4 laps in 30:52; 2 Alan Trolove (West Suffolk Whls) +0:21; 3 Lewis Parker (Ipswich BC) +0:37 7 Sean Dunlea 1st U14 (PCA Ciclos Uno) +2:15

Under 12

1 Tristan Price (PCA Ciclos Uno) 5 laps in 13:30; 2 James Jackson (Colchester Rovers) +1:07; 6 Sophie Holmes 1st U10 (Diss & District CC) +1 lap +0:23.