Cycling: Ipswich rider Parrish races to first senior win at West Stow
- Credit: Archant
Young Ipswich rider Jack Parrish scored his first senior win in West Suffolk Wheelers’ cyclo-cross at West Stow Country Park, writes Fergus Muir.
Parrish had memorably missed out on a win at the MG Cross at Writtle late last season when he punctured while leading. At West Stow his consistent lap times led straight to the win.
However, in the first sprint off the starting grid it was last week's winner Liam Manser (Renvale RT) who leapt into the lead. But Manser promptly emulated Katy Simcock, early leader of the Women's race at Grafham last week and rolled a tub. That left James Madgwick (Bloodwise) and Parrish (Forest Side) clear in the front and opening a big gap on the rest of the field.
However Madgwick had ridden the Koppenbergcross in Belgium the previous day, a race described as "purely about smashing uphill". It was still in his legs and, though the artificial hump at West Stow is hardly comparable, it was there that the Bloodwise/QSW team member had to give best to Parrish with two laps to go.
Angus Toms (fourth overall) took the Junior award while further back top finisher from organising club West Suffolk Wheelers was tri-athlete Oscar Woodward who outlasted immediate rival Thomas Ayers (CC Ashwell).
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The West Stow course at the Country Park attached to the Anglo-Saxon village has open woodland, the previously mentioned hump, short bits of road and long and bumpy grass trails.
However the feature that seemed to be decisive in several races was a muddy dip, close by the towpath of the old Lark Navigation, immediately followed by a right-angled turn and a steep climb.
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Different competitors exploited different approaches. In dryish conditions Parrish successfully found grass almost under the fences and sprinted up the bank. In contrast in the rain-soaked Youth race Joseph Smith (Iceni Velo) got away into the lead with a considered decision to run.
This dreadfully wet race was notable for having 49 starters - and 49 finishers.
The older Veterans also raced in the rain - which didn't stop Jimmy Piper maintaining his unbeaten record. Or both Russell Tribley (Chelmer CC) and Karl Hales (West Suffolk Wheelers) putting in their best finishes of the season
Only a little later in the day the sun came out for the Women's race where top national rider Ffion James stirred up the order, The Cambridge student's duel with Gemma Melton (XRT/Elmy) dominated the race, though in the end James took a clear win.
Ipswich rider Katie Scotter and Martha Lebentz vied for fifth place, with Scotter finally getting an small gap. The sun also shone on the Vets aged 40-49 where Beccles rider Stuart Pryce scored his first win of 2019, and Andy Green (Iceni Velo) took his best points-score yet.
Mountain bike riders raced amongst spectacular autumn colours at the opening round of the Thetford Racing's Winter Series near Santon Downham.
Robert Smithers (XLR8) scored a notable win in the 90 minute Senior's race, though a fast final lap from Veteran Ben Findlay got him home first by a few seconds.
Veterans - the over 40s - are often fully competitive in MTB racing.
Smithers' closest Senior (18-39) challenger was Ely & District CC's club sponsor and MTB star Mat Eley who was nearly three minutes down, while Findlay's runner-up was Glenn Stanford with Stowmarket & District's Glenn Davey third.
The course was described by Mat Shotbolt of Bildeston team LCUK as: "A mixture of fire road sections and singletrack which really worked well without hindering anyone for too long."
Suffolk riders took a clean sweep of the shorter 90 minute races with Elvita Branch best Senior, Sussed-Out teammate Laura Sampson top Veteran and Martha Lebentz (Hadleigh CC) first - and only - Junior.
In the Three-Hour men's races the Senior win went to Andrew Cockburn -the only rider to complete eight of the six-mile laps, though second-placed Seb Herrod was only just beaten by the three-hour deadline.