Holmes is a star at home

Fergus Muir reports on the Redgrave round of the Elmy Cycles Eastern Cyclo-cross League

DISS Cycling Club’s Sophie Holmes was the star of her club’s cyclocross at Redgrave when she won the under-12s race outright, leaving 20 boys and six other girls in her wake.

Holmes took the lead from Aaron Freeman (Chelmer CC) on the second of eight laps and steadily extended it until she had 43 seconds in hand at the finish. Holmes, now 11, first took part in cyclocross aged six. The youngest racer at Redgrave was four year-old Oskar Everett who was allowed a helping hand from dad – Stowmarket & District former time-trial star Jason.

It was a Diss club member – Richard Dunnett – who was the early leader in the senior race but, after two laps, Tim Guy (Iceni Velo) and Greg Simcock (Team Corley) hit the front and soon Guy was heading for a solo win.

Hayden Wood, recent winner at Grafham Water, twice dropped his chain but recovered towards the end and forced Simcock to put in the fastest lap of the whole race to hold on to second spot.

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The course, based at the village Activity Centre, followed the continental pattern by including a road section, as well as humps, hedgebanks, planks to be jumped and reverse-camber corners on grass.

These grass stretches were wet and strength-sapping and, with a stiff breeze blowing, it was a day for strong riders.

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The biggest battle was definitely that for 12th place between Tim Guy’s brother and clubmate Chris and the promoting club’s Ian Newby. Newby got it by a whisker.

Katy Simcock (nee Middlehurst) took the women’s race ahead of Emma Johnson, with Sherilyn Powell (Chelmer CC) and Joolz Halpin (Maldon taking the next places and winning the Junior and Veterans’ prizes respectively.

The Veterans’ race was a duel between Phil Buick (Iceni) and Bruce Robinson (Shaftesbury CC). Mindful that he would be racing again next day in the National Trophy meeting, eventual winner Buick sat behind the Shaftesbury man and sprang a surprise by attacking on the heavy-going grass section.

Local riders scoring their best league points of the season included Liam Tripp (Essex Roads) and Dominic Castle (Ipswich BC).

n Hugo Robinson (XRT/Elmy Cycles) put in a masterful performance to win the junior race at the National Trophy races in Derby.

The top surface of a basically dry course was greasy and Robinson revelled in negotiating off-camber bends so fast that only Joe Moses (Bradford Olympic RC) could challenge. At the crucial moment “my legs woke up” said Robinson, and he rode away to a 15-second win. Robinson felt that he had benefitted from racing at Koksijde in Belgium the previous day, even though that day his legs slumbered somewhat and he finished 28th in a sand-dominated World Cup race.

Other local riders racing at Derby included Chelmsford rider Andrew Nichols (PCA Ciclos Uno) who was 29th in the seniors, and his brother David, 39th, while Greg Simcock (Team Corley) was fourth in the 40-50 Veterans class.

n Members of the East Anglian Group of the Veterans’ Time Trials Association gathered at the Ipswich Holiday Inn for their annual prize presentation.

Guest of Honour was Ironman triathlete Tonya Antonis and major award winners were Ken Platts (Cambridge CC), Laura Gambling (CC Breckland), Edmund Spurgeon and Jim Reed (Colchester Rovers), Antony Stapleton (Chelmer CC), Eric Marsh (PCA Ciclos Uno) Michael Hutchinson (In Gear) and Cambridge CC members Peter Baumber and Sue Clarke.

The Gordon Irons Memorial Cup for Outstanding Services to the group was awarded to Dave Nock.

The VTTA caters for riders over 40, but keeps a special count of members over 70 – in 2011 33 of these supervets faced the timekeeper at least once.

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