Hugo beats extremes to win his class

“THE coldest race I have ever done”. That is how Ipswich Bicycle Club's Tim Butler described his event at round three of the cyclo-cross National Trophy Series at Mallory Park.

“THE coldest race I have ever done”.

That is how Ipswich Bicycle Club's Tim Butler described his event at round three of the cyclo-cross National Trophy Series at Mallory Park.

Butler spoke with 32 seasons of hands-on racing experience to draw on, so this was a strong statement.

It wasn't so much the actual temperature -it was just above freezing - but the windchill effect from the wind and driving rain that produced conditions that were extreme indeed.

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One consequence was that, as the day progressed, the rain and passing wheels turned the course to liquid mud. Another was that competitors very soon couldn't feel their brake levers.

All the more credit, then, to the young riders from the EADT League who all finished the Youth race. Twelve-year-old Hugo Robinson (Ipswich Bicycle Club) did a great ride, romping up the climbs and winning the Under 14 class in this national race.

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He finished in 6th place just one minute 38 seconds down on Under 16s and overall winner Thomas Moses. In the previous round of the National Trophy - at Ipswich - Moses had over four minutes in hand over Robinson, so this was a splendid result for Robinson.

Luke Newby (Diss & District) made an excellent start, briefly holding fourth place. His strength seemed to evaporate in mid race - a common experience on this extraordinary day - but he recovered to finish seventh, exactly two minutes behind the winner, and 52 seconds closer than at Ipswich.

Tom Castle (Ipswich BC) was not so quick off the line, but worked his way up the field, overtaking Newby around half-distance. However two slips on the last lap, both on reverse-camber corners dropped him to 13th at the finish.

Matt Cook (Mildenhall CC) finished 25th and George Wood (Maldon & District) 52nd.

In the overall standings after three rounds Robinson retains his 3rd place in the Under 14s. Among the Under 16s, Castle is 9th and Newby 11th.

The course was not the usual one at Mallory - building work forced a change to one which combined part of the motor racing circuit with climbs and descents laid out on the spectator banks alongside.

To get from the circuit to the banks riders had to shoulder their bikes over temporary bridges across the Armco.

It was on one of these crossings, during the frantic start of the junior's race, that Chelmsford rider David Nichols unshipped his chain. By the time it was back on, the Glendene CC/Biketrax rider was faced with a race of picking off rivals one by one.

He got up to sixth place by the finish, though he was actually 16 seconds closer to winner Scott Thwaites than he had been when taking third place at Ipswich.

Twenty women lined up to do battle with the elements and each other in the womens' race. Jen Ives from Saffron Walden won a duel with Becky Thompson (Evans Cycles) and on the last lap overtook Jessica Roberts (Team Chance) to finish sixth, which puts Jen in seventh place in the overall womens' standings.

Tim Butler was racing in the veterans' event. “It was a case of those whoever made the least mistakes on the off-camber sections survived,” he said.

Butler started the race on his much admired Pinerello machine, but found that with frozen fingers it was hard to slow it on the descents and he soon changed to his trusty spare, and finished on this Alan, taking 12th place in the 50+ age group.

Gavin Rumbles (Trek/VW), currently leading the EADT veterans' League, finished 19th in the 40-49 men.

The final race of the day, for Elite and Under 23 men was the longest - though it was mercifully curtailed to 55 minutes. Many competitors had been helping team mates in the earlier races and were already wet and cold. The process of “gridding” - lining the field up in order of past performances - cooled bare legs still further.

The two continental visitors coped best and race winner was Dutchman Maarten Nijland, from German Malte Urban.

Shaun Aldous (Interbike RT), reigning EADT League Champion, crashed on the first lap and soon found he could not feel his brake levers. He and Nathan Miller (53-12 Multisports) both abandoned the race before the finish.

Interbike RT rider Craig Beech, whose consistency made him early leader in the 2007/2008 EADT League, kept going, finishing 39th, one lap behind the winner.

This week's EADT League race is at Colchester on Sunday, promoted by Angliasport. The course is at Hillyfields (East), Sheepen Road, about half a mile from both Colchester railway station and the town centre. First race 11am.

National Trophy Cyclo-Cross round three results from Mallory Park

Elite+U23: 1 Maarten Nigland (Netherlands) 55:00, 39 Craig Beech (Interbike RT).

Junior: 1 Scott Thwaites (Crosstrax) 38:12, 6 David Nichols (Glendene) @1:39.

Women: 1 Isla Roundtree (Stourbridge CC) 36:41, 6 Jen Ives (Interbike RT) @ 2:22.

Youth: 1 Thomas Moses (SSC Cyclesport) 30:46, 6 Hugo Robinson (Ipswich BC), 7 Luke Newby (Diss & District) @ 2:00,13 Tom Castle (IBC) @ 2:25, 25 Matt Cook (Mildenhall CC) @ 3:57.

Veterans: 40-49: 1 Chris Young (MI Racing) 36:58, 19 Gavin Rumbles (Trek/VW) @5:02;

Vets 50+: 1 Ray Hunt (Kinesis UK) 39:37, 12 Tim Butler (IBC) @ 2:54, 17 John Terrell (IBC) @5:44, 23 Chris Gooch (Team Clean) @ 7:42.

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