Lyons roars to amazing fourth title

Regional Champion in each of four decades – that is the record of Chelmsford roadman Andy Lyons after winning the Eastern Road Championship near Saffron Walden.

Lyons who this year rides for Orbea/For Goodness Shakes first won the old BCF Essex Division championship in 1989 as a nineteen year-old. He won again in 1996, 2004 and now, at the age of 40, in 2010.

The race was long and hot – about 110 miles by my calculations - under cloudless skies on a rural course in north Essex – mainly on a circuit from Radwinter to Steeple Bumstead, Bartlow and Ashdon.

Teamwork played an important part. Championship competitors must live in the Eastern Region and the strong, nine member Orbea team, firmly based in NE London and Essex were able put at least one member in every break.

Other powerful teams –Cambridge CC and Finchley RT were less complete and less successful in this respect. Some of the “big cats” like last year’s champion Joe Skipper (Team Zappi’s, 20th this year) and David Nichols (10th) and third-placed Dom Schils (both Wielerteam Van Eyke Sport) lacked mass team support as most team mates live far outside the region.

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Attacks began as soon as the race left Saffron Walden – Vince Devine (Finchley RT), Tristan Emptage (North Road) and Orbea “policeman” Dan Kogan had 30 seconds lead after five miles. By mid race a lead group of about a dozen riders were away. Among several attempts to bridge the gap, one by Skipper and Orbea rider Marcel Six came closest to succeeding. As the distance and the heat took their toll, Orbea riders Andy Lyons and Dan Kogan opened a gap on the rest of the break and Lyons took the chequered flag.

In the CC Ashwell 56 mile Privavera road race near Bedford Matt Cook(API) was 11th and Nick Esser (VC Baracchi) 19th.

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Lowestoft roadman Simon Asher won the second round of the Lotus Cars Cycle Race League after breaking away with young Josh Hannan (EST/City College Norwich).

After several others had tried and failed, Asher and Hannan attacked and never looked back. They made their break stick and rode a two-up to the finish, where Asher took the flag by yards.

Behind, a huge bunch charged round the final corner six abreast and Ipswich Bicycle Club sprint specialist Dan Zagni won the sprint for third.

Peter Balls (West Suffolk Wheelers) took second place in the Eastern Counties CA 50 at Newmarket. His time of 1:47:01 compares 1:43:37 in the same event last year, reflecting the way riders found themselves exposed to the headwind but perversely sheltered from the tailwind on the faster sections. Unusually, this 50 was an afternoon event. The sun beat down from above and the heat was reflected back up by the tarmac, to neatly grill the riders all round.

Other local riders included Colin Wigress (Essex Roads) 1:51:48, Nick Green (Flitch Crono) 1:52:20, Nick Hastler (Essex Roads) 1:52:28 and Phil Jarvis (Colchester Rovers) 1:54:09.

Mark Arnold (Pedal Revolution) was the fastest Suffolk rider in the national championship 10 mile time trial in Worcestershire. Conditions were hot but a breeze from the west helped Arnold roll his big fixed gear up the final hill on the A46 just outside Alcester.

Other local riders were Nino Piccoli (Pedal Revolution) 26th in 20:35 and Jim Burgess (Anglia Velo) 67th in 21:22. Winner was Michael Hutchinson in 18:37.

West Suffolk Wheeler Alan Trolove was 47th in the junior championship in 23:44 and Pat Pepper Trophy winner Emilie Fisher (Orbea/For Goodness Shakes) was 21st in the in the women’s race in 23:20.

Alan Trolove had another successful evening at Welwyn track when he was one of a group of unseeded riders who gained a lap in the final 10mile handicap race. After covering 35 laps in less than 21 minutes, Trolove took third place in the final sprint.

The CTC’s Dennis Smith Memorial ride on Sunday 30th May is an opportunity to take part in a 50 mile reliability ride. There is a starting place at Roydon Village Hall, near Diss and schedules ranging from 5 hours down to a “Sportive” group aiming for two hours 45 minutes. Tony Clarke on 07811747890 can tell you more.


Regional Championship Road Race, Radwinter (110 miles)

1 Andy Lyons (Orbea/For Goodness Shakes) 4;29:50, 2 D Kogan (Orbea/For Goodness Shakes) @5secs, 3 D Schils (Wielerteam Van Eyke Sport) @ 2:51, 4 J Whatling (Orbea) 5 B Thompson (Orbea) 6 V Devine (Finchley RT). Local riders: @3:38, 20 J Skipper (Team Zappi’s) st.

Lotus Cars League, round 2:

1 Simon Asher (VC Norwich) 2 Josh Hannan (Extreme Sports Therapy) 3 D Zagni (Ipswich BC), 4 C Guy (EST). 5 M Hunter (Colchester Rovers) 6 B Nicolson (EST).

Lotus Go-Race: 1 Dave Kane (Lotus Cars) 2 M Smith (Private Member) 3 R Gleeson (Cult Racing).

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