It's a festive feel to the cyclo-cross at Ipswich as Dennis charges to victory
Jonathan Dennis was the Senior race winner, but Cam Hurst took maximum Eastern League points when local league competitors got the chance to race over the remarkable course created for National Trophy racing at Ipswich last week.
Early in the hour-long race for men aged 16-39 a lead group formed which included Dennis, James Madgwick, Kieran Jarvis, Cam Hurst and Juniors Max Bolton and Jack Parrish.
Madgwick fell back as his shoe fell apart and an injury sustained at the York National Trophy made itself felt.
By half distance Bolton and Dennis, the latter an occasional visitor as his parents live near Swaffham, had dropped the others. Eventually these two contested the finish, where Dennis, using gears rather than his accustomed single freewheel, charged up the long surfaced finishing straight to win.
Sunny weather, the fine form of organiser/commentator Steve Grimwood and homecoming University students like Dougal Toms (seventh), Paddy Atkinson (tenth) and Zac Herrod (18th) all contributed to a festive feel to the day, which also saw a season’s best placing of 15th for Fred Gill (Team OnForm)
In the Women’s race Gemma Melton (Pedal Power Ipswich) overtook Harley Pell (LIV AWOL) on the first lap.
Eventually Alison Hogg (Push Sport) moved gradually up through the field to finish second, but could make no impression on Melton who took a clear win.
Nicola Powell (Stowmarket & District, seventh) and Molly Cutmore (Hadleigh CC, 15th) were competitors improving on their best previous positions
Saffron Walden rider Alex Dale seemed to have the Under 16s race nicely tied up, with a ten second lead over Charlie Johnson (Stowmarket).
However some of that was down to Johnson falling on the first lap.
When Dales’ chain bounced off as he dropped off one of the scaffolding bridges and got jammed in a pedal Johnson seized his chance and by the last lap was powering away to win.
Daniel Hall (Colchester Rovers) steadily maintained third place throughout,
Martha Lebentz (Hadleigh CC) recovered from a first lap fall to win the Under 16 Girls while Abigail Miller was top Under 14.
Under 14 Boys winner was Mark Lightfoot (Welwyn Whs) while top local was third-placed Harley Gregory
Stuart Pryce (Strada Sport) lit up the Vets 40-plus race when he put up a spirited challenge to League Leader Ben Lewis, whose Forest Side Riders team have dominated the category this season.
Although Pryce was riding only his fourth cyclo-cross of the season, his skills and perhaps his low centre of gravity saw him gaining on Lewis in the twisting woodland sectors, while Lewis was quicker in a straight line over grass.
Eventually Lewis’s power and stamina told and he won with Pryce second and Glenn Davey (Stowmarket & District) third.
Bungay rider Shaun Aldous was next followed by Andy Hurst (VC Revolution) – his best result of the winter – as was the 21st place of Richard Stiff from Bury St Edmunds.
Richard Muchmore (Renvale RT) calmly won the 50-Plus Men’s race, but had only 16 seconds in hand over Dave Copland (Ipswich BC) who stepped up to the second spot on the podium – which he last occupied in the very first round of this season at Langdon Hills in September.
Also on returning to the podium after some time was third placed Mike Bowen, while moving up the results was Peter Golding (West Suffolk Wheelers) who was 12th overall – and third Over 60 competitor behind Andrew Roberts (VS Vecchi) and Geoff Bores (Ford CC).
Steve De Boltz (Ipswich BC) took fifth after a fall on the off-camber twists under the Scots Pines broke the rhythm of his early challenge.
Further down the result, at 45th, was Duncan Chenery, winner of the Gorleston Parkrun the previous day and organiser and commissaire David Hales (VC Revolution, 50th) who started slowly but overhauled Barry Denny (West Suffolk Wheelers) on lap two.
For full results see www.easterncross.org.uk