Flying Robinson takes Championship title

By Fergus Muir Riding through wind, rain and mud, Ipswich Bicycle club's Hugo Robinson took the South East Region's Under 14 Cyclo-Cross Championship on a day when many EADT league riders were overwhelmed by invaders from London, Kent and Surrey.

By Fergus Muir

Riding through wind, rain and mud, Ipswich Bicycle club's Hugo Robinson took the South East Region's Under 14 Cyclo-Cross Championship on a day when many EADT league riders were overwhelmed by invaders from London, Kent and Surrey.

The course at Fakenham in North Norfolk was in the grounds of the town's racecourse. Tough windswept grassland stretches linked switchback tracks in a sandpit to, at the opposite end of the course, a pond round which riders had to run, climbing over a fallen tree by the waterside.

Robinson's race - the Youth Championship for Under 16s and Under 14s - started and finished in rain, which at least was heavy enough to wash the worst of the mud off the bikes. Early leader was Sam Fry (Interbike). He was soon overtaken by Hugo Humphries (Lee Valley Youth CC) who kept the lead to the finish and took the Under 16 Championship. On the first lap Max Sykes (VC Deal), Robinson and Luke Newby (Diss & District) streamed after the South East Development Squad pair, with Tom Castle (Ipswich BC) in pursuit.

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First time through the sandpit switchback Sykes came to a dead stop and Newby, close on his wheel, flew over the handlebars. This left Sykes, last year's U14 Champion, and Robinson disputing third place.

Behind, Castle was powering up the field, catching and dropping Newby and getting up to Sykes and Robinson with a lap to go. At this stage Castle's back wheel came adrift, dropping him back to a sprint finish with Newby who nipped tightly round the penultimate corner and claimed 5th place.

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Ahead, Sykes took third place, five seconds clear of Robinson. However the young Ashfield-cum-Thorpe rider was over six minutes clear of the next Under 14 competitor and, though himself still not quite 13 years old, was first EADT league member to finish. All the races were also EADT League counting events, so Robinson scored maximum points

National Junior Champion Alex Paton (VC Deal), who won his title in similar muddy conditions at Southampton, made no mistake in the Junior race, winning by 29 seconds from clubmate Michael Butler and 3:30 ahead of David Nichols (Glendene CC).

On the circuit at the same time as the juniors were the Veterans, who formed the biggest field of the day. Mick Bell (London Fire Brigade) was clear winner, but EADT League leader Clive Ling (Diss & District) put in an outstanding performance to finish second, ahead of frequent winners Mark Farrow (API) and Gavin Rumbles ((Trek/VW).

Riding a stainless steel frame that he has built himself, Ling used strength gained from big-gear time-trialling to push through the mud to great effect.

Tim Butler (Ipswich BC) was one of many who suffered punctures but charged back into contention and finished just 17 seconds behind Ling to make himself Over 50 Champion.

Remarkably, there was a full podium of Over 60 Champs - Chris Gooch (Team Clean) on the top step, with Mike Parkins (Fenland Clarion) and Brian Foster, who is actually over 70, below.

Jen Ives (Interbike RT) was first woman EADT League competitor to finish.

The Senior riders, racing last, faced mud churned up by hundreds of passing wheels.

Pudding Norton, the parish in which the course was actually situated, was fully living up to its name.

The rain had finally halted, so the mud started to cling and bike changes became a serious option.

Jamie Newall established an immediate lead. Deftly shouldering his bike over the humps in the sandpit, he looked smooth and wasn't wasting a second. He was never headed. Darren Barclay (Arctic RT) was soon securely in second place

Bungay rider Shaun Aldous (Interbike RT), steadily recovering from his early season knee trouble, claimed maximum EADT League points, beating Ipswich rider Nathan Miller (53-12) to third place. He also wins the Ross Monahan Trophy, in memory of the young IBC member who was killed in an accident in Diss in 1992.

In this final race the mud at the dismount by the pond was getting deep - up to those knees, reported Aldous.

“It was getting tacky towards the end” said Newall afterwards - cyclo-cross riders get to be connoisseurs of mud.

Newall comes from Camberley in Surrey and, like the new women's champion Rebecca Thompson, rides for the bike shop chain Evans Cycles.

In the heaviest rain, at the start of the day, a brave and cheerful dozen competitors aged under 12 raced for EADT League points only - this was not a championship. But it was nearly a turn-up for the books, as Emily Wilkins of the Chelmer CC led all the boys right up to the last lap, when Jack Hardwicke of the Suffolk Sandlings-based Plomesgate CC fought back to seize the win by just one second.

This week's Eastern League cyclo-cross is on Saturday, promoted by the Diss & District CC at Redgrave Activity Centre, first race 11am. Organised by coach Bob Hayward, this is a good event for novices. All the races can be entered on the day.

Ring 01379 898726 for more information

* Cyclists will be interested to know that there is a rare opportunity on Thursday, December 13 to see the film about world hour record breaker Graeme Obree. “The Flying Scotsman” is showing at the Fisher Theatre, Bungay, for one night only, starting at 7.30pm.

EADT League round 9 and South East Regional Championships results round-up


1 Jamie Newall (Evans Cycles RT) 10 laps in 1:02:08; 2 Darren Barclay (Artic RT) +2:30; 3 Shaun Aldous (Interbike RT) +3:05; 4 Nathan Miller (53-12 Multisports) +4:19; 5 Andrew Griffiths 1st Senior/Under 23 (Glendene CC /Bike Trax) +5:40; 6 Allister Tulett (Artic RT) +6:07; 7 Ian Newby (Diss & Disrtict) +6:48; 8 Craig Beech (Interbike RT) +7:39; 9 Kevin Wilby (Ipswich BC) +1 lap +1:46; 10 Benjamin Spashett (XRT/Elmy Cycles) +1 lap +1:50; 11 Tim Bonnett (VC Baracchi) +1 lap +5:05; 12 Mark Holt (Cambridge Uni) +2 laps +0:23.

Juniors, Veterans, Women

1 Alex Paton Jun (VC Deal/Activ/Hammonds/Rowland) 7 laps in 43:02; 2 Michael Butler Jun (VC Deal/Activ/Hammonds/Rowland) +0:29; 3 Michael Bell 1st Vet 45 (London Fire Brigade) +2:58; 4 David Nichols Jun (Glendene CC/Bike Trax) +3:30; 5 Clive Ling 1st Vet 40 (Diss & District CC) +5:17; 6 Tim Butler 1st Vet 50 (Ipswich BC) +5:34; 7 Mark Farrow Vet 45 (API/ Metrow) +5:37; 8 Tom Humphries Jun +6:00; 9 Julian Parker Vet 40 (Ipswich BC) +6:05; 10 Bruce Robinson Vet 50 (Shaftesbury CC) +6:32; 11 Gavin Rumbles Vet 40 (Trek VW) +6:48; 12 Dave Copland Vet 40 (Ipswich BC) +10:21; 13 Jim Hardwicke Vet 40 (Plomesgate CC) +1 lap +0:08; 14 Gary Wood Vet 40 (Maldon & District) +1 lap +0:46; 18 Chris Gooch 1st Vet 60 (Team Clean) +1 lap +2:10; 19 Kieran Dunlea Vet 45 (PCA Ciclos Uno) +1 lap +2:20; 20 Robert Smith Vet 50 (Ipswich BC) +1 lap +3:05; 22 Jen Ives 1st Senior Women (Interbike RT) +1 lap +3:41


1 Hugo Humphreys (Lee Valley Youth CC) 5 laps in 30:16; 2 Samuel Fry (Interbike RT/Schils/The Essex/Boyer) +0:33; 3 Max Sykes (VC Deal/Activ/Hammonds/Rowland) +0:54; 4 Hugo Robinson 1st Youth U14 (Ipswich BC) +0:59; 5 Luke Newby (Diss & District CC) +1:33; 6 Tom Castle (Ipswich BC) +1:34; 7 Taylor Johnstone (Herne Hill Youth CC) +2:14; 8 Jack Waller (Team Keyne) +4:43; 9 Robert Green (Ipswich BC) +6:21; 10 Daniel Young Youth U14 (Lee Valley Youth CC) +7:25

Under 12

1 Jack Hardwicke (Plomesgate CC) 4 laps in 14:53; 2 Emily Wilkins (Chelmer CC) +0:01; 3 James Jackson 1st U10 (Colchester Rovers) +0:30; 4 Sean Dunlea (PCA Ciclos Uno) +3:06; 5 Henrietta Colbourne U10 (Fat Birds) +5:20; 6 Thomas Adams (Mildenhall CC) +1 lap +0:18; 7 Sophie Holmes 1st U8 (Diss & District CC) +1 lap +0:24; 8 Isla Rush U10 (Norwich ABC).

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