John Lillingstone takes glory at Gasp Up Gas Hill
PUBLISHED: 14:04 12 July 2018 | UPDATED: 15:36 12 July 2018
Ipswich BMXer John Lillingstone seized the glory at the Gasp Up Gas Hill, the dramatic evening hill climb in Norwich city centre that is played out before crowds several deep lining the course from bottom to top.
Lillingstone, riding a road bike, did it in style – finding the strength to follow up his win by also taking the fun Grand Finale race against the winners of MTB, BMX and Cycle Speedway classes.
Lillingstone a 35 year-old mechanic and father-of-two is mainly known as a member of Ipswich BMX club, and racing in the BMX cruiser class has taken six national series wins this summer.
In the Road Final on Gas Hill Lillingstone hit the front right off the line and held his lead to the top where Josh Andrews, brought up in Claydon, but now at UEA, was runner-up.
The Gasp format is a knockout competition with each round seeing four riders race side by side in a 20 second dash. Competitors are often venturing outside their normal discipline – this year’s women’s winner, Rachael Holman, for instance is more used to Iron Man – long distance triathlon competition.
Suffolk coast cycling club Plomesgate CC were hosts to the 2018 national 400 metre grass track championship, held as part of their meeting at Bredfield near Woodbridge.
There were emotional scenes as the Championship was taken by Martin Smith of Chesterfield Coureurs who has been trying at all distances on grass for the past 16 years and whose enthusiasm is such that even his wedding reception incorporated a grass track race meeting.
There was a wide range of supporting races with local winners including Jodie Taylor (Youth B Omnium), Bradley Taylor (Youth C Omnium), Tom White (Unknown Distance), Jack Emerson (Youth Devil), George Collins (Youth C Omnium) and Ellie-Mae Pledger (Women’s 5 km).
Charlie Wright scored a second win in the Suffolk Cycle Race Series despite being a lone Strada Sport member matched against three riders from the rival DAP CC in the leading break.
Nine riders had escaped from the bunch in this fourth round of evening races at Trinity Park, Ipswich, but Harley Matthews, Morris Bacon and Mark Richards of DAP failed to use their strength in numbers to wear Wright down. Instead Wright sprinted to the win and it was Chris Crabtree of Orwell Velo who took second spot ahead of Morris Bacon (DAP CC) with Gary Freeman (Fast Test) fourth.
The women’s race – on a group handicap basis – saw another win for Rebecca Johnson (Fusion RT) from Gemma Melton (Pedal Power Ipswich).
In the race for third and fourth cat men Lewis Pendle (VC Norwich) was the man to watch, but he was beaten by Paul Hanks of West Suffolk Wheelers.
Hanks has a background – quite some time ago now- as a top MTB racer and more recently as a motor bike stunt rider. Pendle took second place with Anthony Marsh (Maldon and District) third.
Isabella Johnson of CC Sudbury was fastest of all in the East District qualifier for the Youth 10 Mile time trial championship winning the Norwich ABC-promoted event at Redenhall in 25:50.
Fastest boy was Charlie Knowler (West Suffolk Wheelers, 26:38). On a hot afternoon with an awkward crosswind the fastest ride in the accompanying open TT came from Daniel Bloy (VeloVelocity, 20:35)
In a round-up of other local races, the API Zak Carr Memorial 25 on a challenging new course on the Newton-Hadleigh-Sproughton road was won by James Rix (Team Bottrill) in 53:40.
The Eastern Counties CA 25 at Larling was won by a sub-49 minute ride from David Veitch of the Lea Valley CC.
The Bloodwise GP at Radwinter was won by Josh Rochester-Greet from a five-man break which held off the bunch for 50 miles.
There was a fourth place for Margaretting rider Matt Clements in the Ken Lush Memorial race won by Liam, Walsh of VC St Raphael.