Harrison’s attack the highlight of Eastern Cyclo-Cross League finale
- Credit: Archant
The Eastern Cyclo-Cross League climaxed in fine style at a successful new event run by the recently established Cambridge Junior Cycling Club at Milton Country Park, on the northern edge of the city.
On a bright and relatively warm winter day, competitors found a testing course which featured relentless and repeated climbs of high tree-covered banks created to isolate the country park from noise of the A14 road that passes close by.
Perhaps the most intense struggle came in Vets 50-plus race where Clive Harrison of the Ford CC needed to win to have a chance of dislodging Dave Copland (Ipswich BC) from the third place in the final league rankings.
A smiling Harrison duly attacked late on the first lap, with Richard Muchmore, already certain of winning the league but nevertheless looking slightly less imperturbable than usual, hanging on behind.
However passing the pits on lap two normal service seemed to be resumed, with Muchmore (Renvale RT) in front. However Harrison fought back to regain the lead, though the effort seemed to cost him dear and the Renvale man came back and this time steadily drew away.
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Meanwhile Dave Copland, in sixth spot, was stalking Paul Watson (West Suffolk Wheelers), closing the gap from five seconds to four seconds and down to two on successive laps.
However Copland – who will have spent most of the day at the race results computer – finally had to settle for sixth, though preserving his League bronze medal.
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Towards the other end of the age-range, another action-packed race was for the Under 12s where King’s Lynn CC’s Florence Barnett and Finlay Woodliffe (Welwyn Wheelers) led on the first lap.
Soon league leader Dylan Starkey joined them and then struck out on his own in front. Florence then bridged up to Dylan and in the end missed out on the outright win by just one second.
Harley Gregory (West Suffolk Wheelers) was third, 10 seconds down, Finlay fourth a further three seconds back, while second placed girl Orla Kenna (St Ives CC) was three minutes behind, 16th overall in a mixed field of 34.
Junior Ceci Hime (St Ives CC) made short work of the climbs to win the Women’s race, while Alison Hogg (Push Sport), already assured of winning the women’s senior category, nevertheless added to her points haul, coming home second overall and best senior rider.
In the Men’s Senior race Stephen James scored his 11th win. He described the course as hilly and hard, and, pushing the limits, came off his bike at least once – though you would hardly know this from his lap times.
His closest challenger this week was Norfolk-raised Jonathan Dennis, already winner of the London League and riding his trademark single-speed transmission, who was the only one within two minutes of James at the finish.
Top Junior was Ipswich’s Jack Parrish who took the Junior lead when Connor Rumbles’ gear snapped leaving him running, carrying his bike, for a full half-lap to the pits.
Grabbing his spare bike he finished just high enough to preserve his second place overall in the Junior League
Neil Ellison (West Drayton MBC) won the Vets 40-49 race, where Keith Randle (Amis Velo) took his first top ten place of the season.
Adam Lightfoot (CC Ashwell) was first in the 64 rider Youth field, where Jordan Rumbles (East Coast Riders, 12th) showed what could be done on an MTB, which rolled well over the loose surface of tracks made for and used for the first time in, this new event.
Full final league standings can be found on the Eastern League website at www.easterncross.org.uk/placings
- Though the competitive season has ended, riders may like to keep their cyclo-cross bikes ready for the Mille Maglia off-road sportive on Sunday 18th February. This is based at Hawstead, near Bury St Edmunds and further details can be found on the Maglia Rosso Cafe Facebook page.