Miller returns to grab victory at Hardwick Heath cross

Former Ipswich rider Nathan Miller goes sideways on his way to the Vet 40-49 win at West Suffolk Whe

Former Ipswich rider Nathan Miller goes sideways on his way to the Vet 40-49 win at West Suffolk Wheelers cyclo-cross on Hardwick Heath - Credit: Archant

Nathan Miller, Eastern League Champion in 2007/08 won the Vets race at West Suffolk Wheelers’ cyclo-cross on Hardwick Heath - by just one second and after at least one sideways excursion.

Senior winner Steve James at the planks at the West Suffolk Wheelers cyclo-cross on Hardwick Heath

Senior winner Steve James at the planks at the West Suffolk Wheelers cyclo-cross on Hardwick Heath - Credit: Archant

The former Ipswich coach, who has lived in Derby for several years but was back on a family visit, ended Matt Webber’s run of five wins – the Forest Side rider also missing out on maximum Eastern League points which went to his clubmate Ben Lewis.

“Real cyclo-cross weather” was a phrase heard several times as rain brought a full-blown mudfest to the Bury St Edmunds course. There was a clear progression to the day. The young competitors, racing first, finished splattered with liquid mud. Next came the Vets races where tight corners became the centre of spectator interest as riders slid off, and bikes became muddy, but remained functional.

But by the final race the drying mud was sticking and clogging. Wheels stopped going round which was a big problem for the many who rely on just one bike – but good spectator interest as others changed bikes in the pits.

Florence Barnett (King’s Lynn CC) was leading all the Under 12s until a last lap slip let Harley Gregory of the promoting club take the win. Daniel Hall (Colchester Rovers, 9th) was top Suffolk/Essex finisher in the 78-rider Youth event.

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Young Stevenage rider Lauren Higham dominated the Women’s race finishing nearly two minutes clear of Celia Hime, who had Veteran’s winner Jo Newstead (XRT/Elmy Cycles) close behind. Celia’s dad Simon was the nearest challenger to the all-conquering Jimmy Piper (MS Society) in the 50-plus Vets, where Richard Muchmore (Renvale RT) crept up on Mike Bowen (West Suffolk Wheelers) in the last few minutes to claim third prize.

Come the last race of the day, the Senior men raced into the mud churned up by a total entry of 360. The nature of the conditions could be soon be seen as Dougal Toms (Pedal Power Ipswich) RAN into the lead, carrying his bike and overtaking Bloodwise/QSW team-mates James Madgwick and Sean Dunlea who were still in the saddle.

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However, sitting a little behind these was Stephen James (Renvale RT).

“If you join in the first charge, you can’t choose the right line” he said, after overtaking them all later in the race and winning by 1:28 from former international mountain biker Callum Riley (Newdales Cycles) who is in his first full season of cyclo-cross.

Men’s Three-Hour winner Andrew Cockburn comes past Elvita Branch (2nd Woman) at the Revel Winter Ser

Mens Three-Hour winner Andrew Cockburn comes past Elvita Branch (2nd Woman) at the Revel Winter Series near Brandon - Credit: Archant

Junior winner was Cam Hurst (XRT/Elmy Cycles) while rivals Freddie Grover (Fast Test) and Jack Parrish (Ipswich BC) were among many who became tangled in the course tapes.

King’s Lynn Mountain Bike Club’s Winter Series was launched next day on a bright crisp morning in the forest just across the river from Brandon.

The course, based on Fire Road 24, was flowing but not exceptionally challenging. The main options were to race over 90 minutes or three hours – with a new one-hour race for 14-16 year olds introduced for the first time.

Veteran Laura Sampson (Sussed Out Suspension) won the women’s 90 Minute by a large margin, while in the Women’s Three-Hour Thetford Veteran Mel Paddington overhauled the top Senior, Felixstowe rider Elvita Branch in the last hour.

Mark Wingar (Gipping RT) won a 90minute-long long duel with Paul Groombridge (Push Sport) to take the Vets race. Robert Smithers (King’s Lynn MTB) took the Senior Men’s 90 minute race, setting himself up with a very fast first lap. Next fastest was Kieran Jarvis – still a Junior under MTB rules

Andrew Cockburn (Newdales Cycles) won the Three-Hour men’s race, with Veteran Paul Ashby second . Cockburn, like Mel Paddington used a hard-tail bike – that is with suspension only at the front.

It is sad to be reporting that Godric Cycling Club members are mourning their loss of Dave Hatcher, stalwart member and secretary of the club for many years.


West Suffolk Wheelers cyclo-cross, Hardwick Heath - Winners and leading local riders: Seniors/Juniors: 1 Stephen James (Renvale RT) 6 Laps 57:31, 2 Callum Riley (Newdales Cycles) +1:28, 3 James Madgwick (Bloodwise/QSW) +1:53, 4 D Toms (Pedal Power, Ipswich) +2:04, 5 C Hurst (XRT/Elmy Cycles, 1st Junior) +2:13, 7 S Dunlea (Bloodwise/QSW) +2:29, 9 J Parrish (Ipswich BC) +4:11

WOMEN: 1 Lauren Higham (LIV/AWOL, 1st Junior) 5 laps in 54:55, 2 Celia Hime (St Ives CC) +1:54, 3 Jo Newstead (XRT/Elmy Cycles) + 2:01, 4 J Field (CC Ashwell) +2:32, 5 K Scotter (ViCiOUS VELO) +3:41, 8 G Melton (Pedal Power, Ipswich), 9 B Ridge (Manningtree Whs), 10 L Mansel-Thomas (Colchester Rovers)

Vets 40-49: 1 Nathan Miller (Derby Mercury) 4 in 39:22, 2 Ben Lewis (Forest Side Riders) +00:01, 3 Matt Webber (Forest Side Riders) +0:47, 5 N Cook (Ipswich BC) +1:25. Vets 50+ 1 Jimmy Piper (MS Society) 5 in 49:43, 2 Simon Hime (Finchley RC) +0:37, 3 Richard Muchmore (Renvale RT) +0:54, 4 M Bowen (West Suffolk Whs) +1:00; Youth: 1 Joe Kiely (Welwyn Whs) 3 in 26:54, 2 Adam Lightfoot (CC Ashwell) +1:16, 3 Alex Dale (Lee Valley Youth) +1:18; Under 12 1 Harley Gregory (West Suffolk Whs) 3 in 11:11, 2 Florence Barnett (King’s Lynn CC, 1st Girl) +0:04; Under 10s:1 Oliver Beale (Lee Valley Youth) 3 in 11:49, 10 Isabel Beale (LVYCC) +2:32.


90 MINUTE RACE - Fastest women over 3 laps: 1 Laura Sampson 1:21:50, 2 Harley Pell 1:32:02, 3 Kate Sealy 1:34:19, 4 Jodie Cole 1:36:28, 5 Celia Hime 1:36:29.

Fastest men over 4 laps: 1 Robert Smithers 1:41:20, 2 Kieran Jarvis 1:41:56, 3 Mark Wingar 1:43:25, 4 Paul Groombridge 1:44:08, 5 Matt Ellis 1:44:50, 6 Jack Parrish 1:45:54, 6 Chris Skinner, 7 Adam Cross 1:46:32, 8 Gary Curtis 1:46:36.

THREE HOUR RACE – Fastest women over 6 Laps: 1 Mel Paddington 3:11:05, 2 Elvita Branch 3:11:21, 3 Emily Quantrill 3:13:34.

Fastest men over 7 laps: 1 Andrew Cockburn 3:06:45, 2 Paul Ashby 3:08:03, 3 Neil Hayward 3:10:42, 4 Tim Plimmer 3:11:24, 5 Dave Penny 3:14:5, 6 Lee Woodcock 3:17:34.

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