GALLERY: Liam Manser and Russell Welch push winner Lee Woodcock all the way at Taverham Hall mountain bike races
- Credit: FERGUS MUIR
Thetford mountain biker Lee Woodcock took the Senior win at the Taverham Hall mountain bike races after a three-way initial battle with Ipswich rider Liam Manser, winner at the last round, and Russell Welch of the Maldon & District CC.
Welch and Woodcock and Manser, the latter both of the Swaffham-based EHF team, opened a gap on the rest of the field directly after the start of the one-hour race. At around one-third distance Woodcock took the lead alone while Welch punctured and had to ride much of a lap on a flat. Woodcock did not puncture, but was carrying a spare tube and compressed air - and as a bike mechanic at Bike Art at High Lodge stood able and willing to take a tyre off with his bare hands if necessary. Welch recovered and put in the fasted last lap of all, but had to be content with 13th place.
Conditions were near-perfect for these entry-level races promoted by British Cycling staff-member Sara Flatt on an interesting, hilly and remarkably dry course near Norwich.
Taking full advantage of the opportunity was West Suffolk Wheeler Sam Asker who rode a borrowed MTB into second place in the young rider’s race. Although experienced at cyclo-cross this was his first mountain bike event and followed a successful afternoon at the Icebreaker Youth Series on the indoor track at Newport, South Wales the previous day. Winner at Taverham was Josun Cole (Iceni) while third place went to Lee Woodcock’s nephew Josh Murad (Mildenhall CC). Colin Mantle (Mildenhall CC) was sixth and Alex Cutmore from the new Hadleigh CC was ninth in the 18 rider field.
Zak Coleman (Gt Yarmouth CC) won the Under 16s race where Rob Lines (West Suffolk Whs) was third and clubmate 13 year-old Rhys Holland-Jones was fourth. Kelly Davis (Iceni) took the Women’s race from Team CCN’s Erica Auger.
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In contrast to last year’s wintery endurance test, the semi-classic Ely & District Hardriders time trial was run off in bright sunshine. But the seemingly eternal Fenland wind was still there to test riders - and it was a headwind on the dead-straight lane alongside - and below - the Hundred Foot Drain.
The 24.6 mile course follows sometimes potholed lanes that ripple across the peaty landscape though it also includes a short stretch of the Ely bypass - gone in a flash in that tailwind. The crosswind sections posed handling challenges for top Suffolk finisher James Rush (CC Sudbury) who opted to use tri-spoke carbon wheels front and back for his 1:03:47 ride for ninth place. Clubmate Rob Davies using conventional wire-spoked wheels in an Orbea carbon frame finished in 1:07:17.
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Winner Wojciech Selachta (Cambridge University CC) set a new course record of 55:08 while second place went to 46 year-old Richard Hancock (St Neots CC) whose 58:25 won him the Best Veteran on Age Standard award.
Forthcoming Local Reliability Trials
March 2: Godric CC, 50 mls, Broome Village Hall, 4 hrs. 08.30; 3.5 hrs.09.00; 3hrs.09.30. Geoff Mayne 01986 893653; Ipswich BC, Playford Village Hall. 100km 8.30, 70km 9.00, 44km 9.30. Paul Rippon 07887 965031
March 9: Diss CC, World Horse Welfare, Snetterton, on-road 100,50Km + 30 km Ladies only; also 50km off-road, from 9.30-10.30, Paul Bolger 07802 371612
Results - Five-by-Three MTB Taverham Hall
Under 12: 1 Josun Cole (Iceni Velo) 2 S Asker (West Suffolk Whs) 3 J Murad (Mildenhall CC) , 6 C Mantle (Mildenhall CC). UNDER 16: 1 Zak Coleman (Gt Yarmouth CC) 2 O Riley (Hethersett CSC), 3 R Lines (West Suffolk Whs) 4 R Holland-Jones (WSW). WOMEN: 1 Kelly Davis (Iceni Velo), 2 E Auger (Team CCN), 3 C Martin (Iceni) 4 A Cole (Iceni), 5 S Orr (Iceni), 6 J Moore. SENIORS: 1 Lee Woodcock (EHF) 2 L Manser (EHF) 3 P Stokes, 8 M Mantle (Mildenhall CC), 14 R Welch (Maldon & District CC).
Ely & District Hardriders, Little Downham.1 Wojciech Selachta (Cambridge University CC) 55:08 (Course Record), 2 R Hancock (St Neots CC) 58:25, 3 J Dixon (Cambridge University CC) 1:00:49, Leading local riders times: 9 J Rush (CC Sudbury) 1:03:47, 15 R Davies (CC Sudbury) 1:07:17.