Cockburn seizes the victory at Thetford

THE result of the Thetford MTB Senior Enduro and the overall Winter Series hung in the balance until the last few minutes of the final round when Andrew Cockburn seized the win.

THE result of the Thetford MTB Senior Enduro and the overall Winter Series hung in the balance until the last few minutes of the final round when Andrew Cockburn seized the win.

At the start – in spring-like sunshine at Mayday Meadow near Brandon – a win for either Cambridge rider Cockburn or Stephen James, from Palgrave near Diss, would have sewn up the series.

The pair soon formed a leading group with Veterans’ series leader Paul Ashby, and the three raced together through an astonishing range of conditions. The sunshine gave place first to cloud, then a storm of rain and hail turned the grass white....and the riders brown with flying mud.

The tracks at first became stickier as the forest dried out, then faster as the racing line became etched in the ground, and finally, after the storm, so slippery that few could hold any line at all.


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Ashby, the master bike handler, was the first to open a small gap, but the younger legs of Cockburn and James eventually prevailed. Cockburn (Columbia-Bikefood) who was coping well with near-slick tyres, went clear next, James (AW Cycles/Giant) regained contact once, but his bolt was shot and Cockburn was able to a 27 second gap over the last mile or so to take the race and the series. Chelmsford cyclo-cross rider Andy Nichols (Cambridge University CC) ploughed a lone furrow to take third place.

The course was hillier than in previous rounds and included just one “bombhole” – a sticky clay pit which even veteran four-hour winner Ashby only succeeded in riding right through once. Second in the veterans four-hour was Richard Muchmore (Revel Outdoors).

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Among the two-hour racers, Laura Sampson (Stowmarket & District) completed a perfect set of four wins in the women’s race, where Magali Jimenez from Basildon was second and Sue McIntyre (Walden Tri) third.

Andrew Manning (EST) won the two-hour veteran men’s race where Julian Parker (7th) put in TROG’s (Tunstall & Rendlesham’s) best result of the day. George Budd (Salsa) won the 18-39 race though a tremendous finishing effort brought second placed Graham Warby (Spirit Racing) within 39 seconds of Budd at the finish. Third place went to Jason Boutell (Newmarket C&TC) a former motocross rider who is making a mark on MTB racing this winter.

Full results can be seen at: www.timelaps.co.uk

The road and time trial season gets properly under way this weekend with the CC Breckland 10 at Scoulton today and tomorrow the CC Sudbury Hilly and the Crest CC road race.

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