Stephen James makes it five wins in a row at Hempton Cyclo-cross

Stephen James takes the win at Hempton. Picture: FERGUS MUIR

Stephen James takes the win at Hempton. Picture: FERGUS MUIR - Credit: Archant

Stephen James (Renvale RT) took his fifth successive league win in the Hempton Senior cyclo-cross despite losing over a minute when debris stuck in an obscure part of his bike’s transmission.

Women's winner Alison Hogg at Hempton. Picture: FERGUS MUIR

Women's winner Alison Hogg at Hempton. Picture: FERGUS MUIR - Credit: Archant

Even though the leaders – Kieran Jarvis (Team OnForm), Seb Herrod (Strada Sport) and Paddy Atkinson (Renvale) - were far ahead, the Wetheringsett man declined to panic. He closed the gap at 30 seconds a lap and as he hit the front still had it in him to attack.

“When Steve came back past he blew it apart a little – taking Seb (Herrod) with him,” said Ipswich rider Paddy Atkinson who had briefly held the lead.

“He was by far the strongest in the race, no doubt about that” said Atkinson.

James eventually had 34 seconds in hand over Herrod, who nevertheless moved to the top of the Senior league after his best result of the season. Atkinson was third and Riley (Newdales Cycles) fourth

Riders choose different ways up the big climb at Hempton. Picture: FERGUS MUIR

Riders choose different ways up the big climb at Hempton. Picture: FERGUS MUIR - Credit: Archant

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Heavy showers swept across the already challenging former gravel pit course near Fakenham, freezing any competitors who were thinly clad – and producing tough, muddy, slippy conditions that suited James.

On the early laps Jack Parrish (Ipswich BC) was first Junior, but Cam Hurst (XRT/Elmy) maintained his lap times even as the conditions worsened and won the Junior prize by a margin of 2:24 from Parrish.

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Further back West Suffolk Wheeler Harry Shingleton held off a late challenge from fellow Junior Daniel King (Chelmer CC) – by just one second.

In the Women’s race Alison Hogg (Push Sport) scored her first cyclo-cross win.

Ipswich rider Dan Howe, of Wolsey RC, looks for a good line through the mud at Hempton. Picture: FER

Ipswich rider Dan Howe, of Wolsey RC, looks for a good line through the mud at Hempton. Picture: FERGUS MUIR - Credit: Archant

Ipswich rider Gemma Melton set the pace but a consistently lapping Hogg took the lead at half distance. Melton had serious problems with her brakes but with only a quarter of a mile of hard road remaining she still held second place.

However this included a “U” turn which Melton completely overshot despite desperately braking with her feet, letting Jo Newstead (XRT/Elmy) though to claim an unexpected second place with Melton third. Melton now leads the Women’s League – by 638.1 points to Hogg’s 638 exactly!

The day started in bright sunshine which shone on an outstanding ride by Florence Barnett (King’s Lynn CC) who beat all the rest of the mixed field to win the Under 12s. Louis Oppen (CC Ashwell) won the Under 10s, with Abbey Thompson (Ipswich Velo) top U10 Girl.

The first rain fell on the Youth (age 12-15) race, won by Alex Dale (Lee Valley Youth), just five seconds up on George Farrow-Green (Iceni Velo). Daniel Hall (Colchester Rovers) took third, helping him hold the League Leadership – now by the narrow margin of six points in 700 from Harrison Powell (Lea Valley Youth)

Forest Side Riders scored a 1-2-3 win in the 40-49s – with Paul Groombridge (Push Sport), riding single-speed – in fourth. The Forest Side men crossed the finish line side-by-side, with the win being credited to Roger Maidment, after absolutely dominating the race – they said the course was similar to their Epping Forest training haunts.

Glenn Davey (fifth) was top Stowmarket finisher, while Ant Birt (sixth) was top Ipswich BC man and Dan Howe (10th) first from the Wolsey RC.

At the beginning of the Vets 50-plus race it looked as if the previously all-conquering Jimmy Piper (MS Society) might have a fight on his hands as cyclo-cross legend Phil Roach refused to be dropped.

But two punctures later – and feeling the effects of racing in the National Trophy the previous day – Roach had to retire.

In National Trophy at Shrewsbury Richard Muchmore (Renvale RT) tool 16th place in the 50-plus while Freddie Grover (Fast Test) was 26th among the Juniors.

Sophie Wright carried her Renvale colours to fourth place in the Women’s National, 2:11 down on winner Harriet Harnden

This Sunday’s Eastern League cyclo-cross will be at the Hillyfields public open space in Colchester, first race at 10am, the last, for Senior and Junior Men, at 2.30pm.

RESULTS: Hempton cyclo-cross – Winners and leading local riders: SENIOR/JUNIOR: 1 Stephen James (Renvale RT) 6 laps in 52:00, 2 Seb Herrod (Strada Sport) +0:34 secs, 3 Paddy Atkinson (Renvale) +1:05, 4 C Riley (Newdales Cycles) +2:23, 5 C Hurst (XRT/Elmy, 1st Junior) +2:38. WOMEN: 1 Alison Hogg (Push Sport) 5 in 49:20, 2 Jo Newstead (XRT/Elmy) +1:17, 3 Gemma Melton + 1:28. VETS 40-49: 1 Roger Maidment (Forest Side Riders) 5 in 43:52, 2 Matt Webber (FSR), 3 Ben Lewis (FSR), 5 G Davey (Stowmarket & District) +1:36, 6 Ant Birt (Ipswich BC) +1:51. VETS 50+: 1 Jimmy Piper (MS Society) 5 in 41:39, 2 Andy Fountain (St Ives CC) +2:01, 3 Dave Copland (Ipswich BC) +2:31. YOUTH: 1 Alex Dale (Lee Valley Youth) 4 in 31:17, 2 George Farrow-Green (Iceni Velo) +0:05, 3 Daniel Hall (Colchester Rovers) +0:15, 5 O Partner (CRCC) +2:14. Under 12 : 1 Florence Barnett (King’s Lynn CC) 7 in 14:09. Under 10: 1 Louis Oppen (CC Ashwell) 5 in 12:30, 9 Abbey Thompson (Ipswich Velo, 1st Girl) +2:01.

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