Grace Garner is queen of the hills in Stour Valley race

The women's field in the Stour Valley road race

The women's field in the Stour Valley road race - Credit: Archant

Women coming to Suffolk for the second round of the Women’s National Road Series faced twelve tough climbs of the steep hill out of the Stour Valley from Great Thurlow.

Woodbridge rider Ross Fawcett with his share of the “Most Aggressive Rider” award at Great Thurlow

Woodbridge rider Ross Fawcett with his share of the Most Aggressive Rider award at Great Thurlow - Credit: Archant

It took its toll and each time round the five mile circuit near Haverhill, the field was a little smaller.

Attacks were frequent but the one that mattered was made with 20 miles to go by Charmaine Porter of Essex-based Team Ford Ecoboost, Chanel Mason (Storey Racing) and Grace Garner (Wiggle High5).

At the finish, a quarter mile beyond the top of the hill, Garner outdistanced Porter with Mason third. Top Suffolk finisher was Gemma Melton (Pedal Power Ipswich) who finished in the remains of the bunch 29 seconds down.

The men provided a curtain raiser with the CC Hackney road race – “only” 11 times up that hill, though that was tough enough in just 54 miles.

On the last corner in Thurlow, Ross Fawcett leads but Tom Elwood appears behind

On the last corner in Thurlow, Ross Fawcett leads but Tom Elwood appears behind - Credit: Archant


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The race was dominated by a break by Ross Fawcett (Pedal Power Ipswich) and Chris Thomas (East London Velo) who shared the “Most Aggressive Ride” award. They were away for most of the race and led through the last corner, but nemesis appeared in the shape of Tom Elwood (CC London) who caught them on the hill and rode straight past to win.

Liam Gentry (VC Baracchi) headed the bunch at the foot of the hill, launching his much lighter teammate Mark Richards towards taking eighth place, just ahead of Velo Schils’ Tom Rowson. Adam Colbert (12th) was top Ipswich BC finisher, Dan Drewery (13th) best from Fast-Test and David Warwick (15th) top Orwell Velo man.

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Next morning the heroes of the CC London Road Race based at Great Chesterford were Josh Aiken of Pedal Power Ipswich and Colin Ward (Essex Roads CC) who together with Jack Hardwicke and Morris Bacon (Strada Sport) and two others rode off the front of the race in a 27mph first lap of the course on the side of the Cam Valley.

Ward, in dominant form, and Aiken stayed away as others dropped back. With two laps of the Littlebury-Wendens Ambo circuit remaining Ward took off to win alone.

Aiken was finally gobbled up by the bunch on the last corner after being in the break for almost the whole race. Ian Franklin (PCH) took second place while Ben Thompson (CC London) was third.

Non-competitive cyclists were well-served last weekend with the Maglia Rosso café/bike shop at Hawstead celebrating its third anniversary with three Sportives and the “Seething All Over” 200 kilometre Audax also visiting Suffolk.

Maglia Rosso’s longest route was 100 mile Four Counties Ride which slipped into Essex near Clare into Cambridgeshire at Chippenham and to Feltwell in Norfolk to make up the county total.

The Seething ride also visited the Maglia Rosso before crossing Suffolk to the coast at Southwold. The final leg back to the south Norfolk village into the teeth of a rising wind was a case of “Heads down and keep going” according to Lowestoft rider Kate Churchill who is in training for the 894 mile London-Edinburg­h-London Audax in July.

The Veterans Time Trials Association ten mile time trial was held on the Risby to Kentford and back course in promising conditions with hardly any wind. Competitors made excellent progress to the turn and, to start with, on the way back. However Dave Fenn of CC Sudbury spoke for many when he described, how as the course climbed up the slip-road onto the old highway through Risby the seconds ticked by as a good ride turned into a rather disappointing time at the finish line.

Martin Reynolds of Cambridge CC was fastest on scratch, finishing in 21:18, with second placed Simon Scott (Anglia Velo) on 21:48.

West Suffolk Wheelers have an exciting programme of racing on closed roads in Ixworth village centre on Bank Holiday Monday. The first race is at 12 noon, the last at approximately 3.50pm.

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