Lee Woodcock leads the way for EHF in first open race at Shouldham Warren
- Credit: Fergus Muir
In the first open mountain bike races, at the new Shouldham Warren venue near Downham Market, the EHF Racing team scored a notable clean sweep in the senior race with Lee Woodcock from Thetford winning from Chris Hunter and Ipswich rider Liam Manser.
Shouldham proved hillier than Thetford Forest. with words like natural, soft and raw cropping up in descriptions. It was dry and sunny with enough wind to make “tucking in” on some headwind climbs a worthwhile exercise.
Melanie Paddington from Thetford was clear winner of the women’s race, Zak Coleman (Gt Yarmouth CC) took the under-16s ahead of Sam Asker (West Suffolk Whs) while Saffron Walden youngster Alex Dale took the under-12s with Colin Mantle (Mildenhall CC) second.
The top UK roadmen came to Essex for the 85-mile Jock Wadley Road Race, promoted by Colchester Rovers, which finished at Layer-de-la-Haye.
The winner was Rob Partridge (Velosure) who was dropped from the leading break with a few miles to go, but came back and surprised his rivals, led over the top of the final hill and held on to take the flag.
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In contrast to the dreadful weather last year, the 2014 event was held in sunshine, though with a significant wind.
Joe Skipper finished 47th, while other local finishers included Andy Lyons (Richardsons-Trek, 19th) and Jonny Shuster (Team Corley, 28th).
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Both men’s and women’s course records were beaten in Cc Sudbury’s 22-mile Mad March Hilly time-trial based at Lavenham and taking in Great Waldingfield, Newton, the Hadleigh bypass and Monks Eleigh.
Red Lodge rider Mark Arnold revised Jason Boutell’s 49:42 set last year to 48:08 while Hayley Simmonds (Cambridge University CC) already with some Belgian racing kilometres in her legs, sliced over seven minutes off the women’s mark, putting it at 52:52 which won her seventh place overall in a field of over 70.
Conditions were clearly good – a sunny morning with blackthorn bursting into bloom.
High banks and hedges sheltered competitors from the headwind on what might have been a hard Monks Eleigh-Lavenham section
Nevertheless, the course included corners that tested competitors’ skills and early morning dampness contributed to one or two falls. Local participation was strong with CC Sudbury fielding 19 riders, Simon Daw being the fastest in 53:01 while Boxford Bike Club had 11, led by John Bradbury (54:21).
In the second round of the Eastern Road Race League, the Ike Saul Memorial race near Royston, winner Chris Palfreeman (Arbis) attacked towards the end of a determined 65-mile break.
Colin Bailey (North Road) and VC Norwich rider Peter Hargreaves were the last surviving members of this group and took second and third places respectively.
West Suffolk Wheeler Lee Sturman was 18th while Newmarket’s Lewis Stevens (Strada Sport) won best junior.