Gallery: History made at European and National Cyclo-Cross Championships in Chantry Park
HISTORY was made twice at Chantry Park at the weekend as Euro Cyclo-Cross made its Great Britain debut and the first British female was crowned European Champion
Hundreds from across Europe flocked to Ipswich to witness the first international cyclo-cross event on these shores since 1992.
Competitors from Belgian, Hungary and Italy fought it out around the testing, muddy, undulating 3.2km track as devoted fans braved the rain and mud to show their support.
They were treated to 12 thrilling races, with the European contests taking centre-stage on Saturday and the British National rounds providing plenty of entertainment yesterday.
Double national junior champion Hugo Robinson, 17, provided the main hope for local success.
You may also want to watch:
The Debenham teenager fought hard to finish 31st in the European Under-23s before an unfortunate crash in the nationals curbed his impressive progress, leaving him 17th.
“The support from the home crowd was fantastic,” he said.
- 1 Cook proud of players after Town hold on for elusive first win
- 2 Stu says: Five observations following Ipswich's 1-0 win at Lincoln
- 3 Ratings: How the Ipswich Town players performed in their 1-0 Lincoln win
- 4 Watch Town CEO Ashton wildly celebrate Lincoln win with Town fans
- 5 Lincoln City 0-1 Ipswich Town: Bonne does the business as Blues earn first win
- 6 Suffolk to miss worst of thunderstorms - but heavy downpours still expected
- 7 Concerns as 12 Suffolk landfill sites could contain 'hazardous material'
- 8 Gangs of 'lampers' use spotlights to distract animals and kill them
- 9 See inside stunning £2m Woodbridge home with 'fantastic leisure complex'
- 10 The best roast dinners in Suffolk as chosen by our readers
“It was phenomenal. It was like a wall of noise which definitely helped for those last couple of laps!”
But there was cause for cheer as seven-time national champion Helen Wyman claimed Elite Women gold – the first female Brit to do so – in a thrilling finish.
Wyman and Dutchwoman Sanne Van Paassen crossed the line together in a flash – leaving even the voice of cycling Hugh Porter, commentating throughout the weekend, confused as to who had won.
But a photo-finish declared the home favourite the winner, with Britain’s Nikki Harris also claiming bronze.
“I’ve been waiting my whole career to have a home advantage and finally I get to win – and they had to dig out the national anthem!” said Wyman, 31.
Meanwhile, Mathieu Van Der Poel demonstrated his class to destroy the field to take the European Junior title.
The flying Dutchman hails from a strong cycling background. His father, Adri van der Poel, won two Tour de France stages and was crowned the 1996 World Cyclo-Cross champion.
And there was further Dutch success as Mike Teunissen sealed the Under-23 title.
“This has been in the diary for weeks,” enthused spectator Alex Oldman, 38, of Ravenswood, Ipswich “It’s not often you see the Euro Champs in your own back yard.
“It’s an excellent event. People have come from all over Europe to see it.”
The rain thundered down on Sunday, diminishing the size of the crowd but certainly not its spirit on National’s day – the second round of the format.
John Terrell battled to 33rd in the over-50s for Ipswich BC while Simon Hance (20th) and Dave Copland (26th) also flew the Ipswich BC flag in the 40-49 category.
Emma Johnson finished 23rd for XRT/Elmy Cycles behind Wyman, while Ipswich BC’s Pierce Bacon, 12, battled hard in his National Trophy debut in the Under-14s.
Guest of honour and former world junior cyclo-cross champion Roger Hammond said: “It’s been a great show that has been well-organised as usual.
“The people of Ipswich have supported it well. They always come out and are very passionate about the sport.”