National cyclo-cross at Ipswich

MUD - mud on the course, mud on bikes, mud on faces, in eyes, up backs and, if riders fell off, just about everywhere else. That was round two of the National Trophy cyclo-cross at Chantry Park, Ipswich.

MUD - mud on the course, mud on bikes, mud on faces, in eyes, up backs and, if riders fell off, just about everywhere else.

That was round two of the National Trophy cyclo-cross at Chantry Park, Ipswich. The rain started just before the first race on Sunday. It waxed and waned, coming down heavily at times, for much of the rest of the day.

Gone was the golden autumn setting of the EADT League races at the same venue last week. In came a traditional winter mud-plug where strength, determination and skid-management were at a premium.

One of the best results for local riders came in the first race of the day when Tom Castle, of the Ipswich Bicycle Club, took fourth place in the race for Youth riders - the 12-16 age group.


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Eventual winner Thomas Moses (SSC Cyclesport) rocketed off the start line, but Castle, having earned a good grid position with his tenth place in the first National Trophy round, also started well.

Though he had a tumble in the technical section in the woods he steadily worked his way through the field, dramatically moving up from sixth with a lap to go fourth with a charge at the finish, leaving over 50 riders in his wake.

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Then it was a quick clean up, before a podium appearance to receive the cup for the best local youth rider from the Mayor of Ipswich, councillor Inga Lockington.

Of Castle's local rivals. Luke Newby (Diss & District CC) finished 11th, 2 minutes 52 seconds down on Moses and 1:07 behind Castle.

“So much faster (than a regional event) it was unbelievable” said Newby, who held his own for three laps, but then blew. Matt Cook (Mildenhall CC) was 16th, while Hugo Robinson (IBC) was 21st overall and fourth Under 14 finisher after an eventful ride.

First there was a fall on a sharp turn on the wet grass. Then, overtaking at the entry to the wooded bit, he found himself in a three-rider pile up. However he retains his third place in the U14 overall National Trophy standings.

Will Meadows, sandwiching the race between two rounds of a swimming event, took 25th place, two seconds up on IBC clubmate Robert Green.

Chelmsford student David Nichols won himself a podium appearance, taking third place in the Junior race after a storming last lap which saw the Glendene CC rider get within 44 seconds of winner Scott Thwaites (Crosstrax).

Amy Hunt won the women's race while Jen Ives (interbike) emerged from a battling group of half a dozen to finish the best EADT League member in fifth place. Alwyn Newstead (IBC) repeated his second place last week in the race for Under 12s

The Veterans' races - in two groups for riders under and over 50 - provided the most hotly contested racing. Phil Hetzel, Ipswich Bicycle Club's elite road and track rider, made a rare cyclo-cross appearance, finishing 2:49 down on winning Vet Geoff Giddings (MI Racing) and ahead of the local veteran stars. These men may be relieved to hear that the ride reminded Hetzel that he does not really enjoy the cut and thrust of cyclo-cross. On a wet slippery day such as Sunday, riders were falling in all directions

His success was an indication of how important sheer power was on this course with it's long grass climbs made harder by the soft wet conditions. Hetzel finished 14th in the 40-50 age group, 28 seconds up on clubmate Dave Copland .

In the Over 50s Tim Butler was 6th, 1:18 down on winner Roy Hunt. By the start of the final and most important race of the day the rain was abating but the surface of the course was at its worst.

Bikes became heavy with clogging mud. Top riders were making split-second visits to the pits, leaving one bike and taking another, freshly power-washed, from their helpers.

“Mud in your eye” was the likely situation of any competitor close behind another. However some of the old hands revelled in the conditions.

“I enjoyed it really” said Diss & District's Ian Newby, who finished 38th just behind EADT Senior League leader Craig Beech (Interbike), who was pleased to find his green knobbly mud tyres ideal for the circumstances.

Paul Oldham (Hope Factory Racing) dominated the race, much as he had done the first round at Abergavenny, having a 46 second lead at the flag. Nathan Miller (53-12 Multisports), winner of the XRT/Elmy Cycles race in Chantry Park last week, was the leading local finisher.

He finished in 21st place, a big step up from 39th in the Welsh round, cutting his time deficit on Oldham from 7:30 to 6:50. Abergavenny may have been dry, fast and summery, but the hard surfaces were jarring and not good for Miller's back.

Next week the EADT League race is at New Eccles Hall School, near Snetterton, an excellent course for beginners. Organiser for the promoting Norwich Amateur Bicycle Club, Darrel Glover, will gladly supply details - telephone 01953 455772.

On the same day top local riders will be riding in representative Eastern Area teams in the Inter-Area Team Championship at Misterton Hall, Lutterworth.

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