Johnson wins exciting youth clash at Iceni Velo cyclo-cross
An exciting Youth race at the Iceni Velo cyclo-cross climaxed with a win for Stowmarket rider Charlie Johnson, writes Fergus Muir.
Three riders: Johnson, Dan Hall (Colchester Rovers) and Alex Dale from Saffron Walden, rode off the front of the 50-strong field.
Racing under high pressure, slips were inevitable and speed of recovery counted for much.
Johnson’s biggest “down” came on a tight turn on the unusual indoor sector. But he bounced back and used his straight-line power to regain the lead with one lap to go and won by just two seconds from Dale, with Hall third.
Other local riders in the top half of the field included Josh Boyer (12th), Harley Gregory (22nd) and Oliver Griggs (23rd), while Jack Letch (Colchester Rovers) picked off places towards the finish to move up to 25th place.
Herts riders took the top places among the girls, though Mollie Bilner (Stow & Dist) assured herself of the League Bronze Medal with sixth spot at Snetterton.
Among the Seniors, James Madgwick tied up the Men’s Championship in style with a win. After two collisions in two recent races, Madgwick set the pace in the company of a different rider this time - Cam Hurst of XRT/Elmy Cycles – who had the added advantage of being a regular training partner. The two knew each other’s characteristics and managed to stay separate.
On the last lap Madgwick made his bid just before a tricky off-camber sector and led into the indoor barn which is a feature of racing at World Horse Welfare.
Madgwick stayed upright on the tight turns on horse-litter and accelerated out onto a straight line dash, held his nerve through the last double turn and was clear away to the chequered flag.
That completed his ten counting rides for the League and moved him out of reach at the top – regardless of what happens at the final round in Cambridge.
First Junior was Ipswich rider Jack Parrish, third overall, while Lloyd Chapman (XRT) scored a season’s best at fourth.
Over 300 competitors arriving at World Horse Welfare found a frost-bound landscape lit by brilliant sunshine. Subtle changes occurred as the racing progressed with the course finally drying out during the hour-long Senior race that closed the programme.
An unusual feature was two hurdles placed side-by-side – with riders making a 180 degree turn in between.
There was potential for a first-lap traffic jam here – a problem which Gemma Melton (Pedal Power Ipswich) dealt with by opening her bid to seal the Women’s Championship with a first lap lead of 19 seconds.
Such a sprint could risk “Blowing up”, but Melton showed no signs of doing so and won by nearly a minute from Lauren Higham and Alison Hogg while Jo Newstead was best V40 rider – and indeed was fifth overall.
There was a Jimmy Piper and Richard Muchmore one-two finish in the 50-Plus where Paul Watson (West Suffolk Wheelers) took his first podium finish of the cyclo-cross season
Matt Webber (Forest Side) survived a minor slip while lapping a backmarker to win the Vets 40-49 – and make certain of the league win. Glenn Davey Stowmarket & District) emerged from a three-way battle with Andy Hurst (Amis Velo) and Ian Newby (Diss CC) to take fifth place , while Hurst eventually had three second advantage over Newby.
For full results see www.easterncross.org.uk
- It is sad to be reporting the death of Derek Lusher. As British Cycling’s Division Competition Administrator for the Eastern Region Derek was effectively supremo for local road and track racing, a job he continued to work at through a long illness which worsened sharply in the New Year.
- The East District CA Prize Presentation is this Sunday at Carbrooke Village Hall, IP25 6SW.
The 50 km Reliability Trial is at 10am. Beans on Toast and drinks will be available from 12 noon while the actual presentations will begin at 1pm. All are welcome.