Peter Blenkinsop sprints to Ipswich BC Scramble win

The men's podium. L-R Tom Willan, Peter Blenkinsop, Ian Franklin

The men's podium. L-R Tom Willan, Peter Blenkinsop, Ian Franklin - Credit: Archant

On a bright spring morning in mid Suffolk 44 year-old Peter Blenkinsop (Fast Test) scored his first-ever road race win in a windy Ipswich BC Scramble

The Ipswich BC race in Crowfield

The Ipswich BC race in Crowfield - Credit: Archant

With just two miles to go Blenkinsop, from Elmswell, bridged from the main field to a leading break in the 53 mile race on the Crowfield-Ashbocking-Framsden circuit. At the line he outsprinted Tom Willan (East London Velo, 2nd), Ian Franklin (PCH) and Jack Hardwicke (Strada Sport, 4th).

A fast start saw early disappointment for 19 riders, shelled out of the main field in the first half-lap. Encouraged by a strong cross/headwind through Crowfield, Franklin initiated the attacking, eventually being joined by Andrew Holmes (VC Revolution) and Jack Hardwicke.

They stayed away, but their lead was being rapidly eroded until first Willan and then Blenkinsop bought fresh impetus. Nevertheless the bunch was catching the break as the leaders crossed the line, with Stanway rider Leighton Oxley-Crisp (Velo Schils) getting fifth place just behind Hardwicke as the strung-out bunch streamed in.

The women’s race in the afternoon proved a classic with attacks and splits encouraged by the strong winds.

Jossy Lowden takes the win in the Ipswich BC Women's Road Race

Jossy Lowden takes the win in the Ipswich BC Women's Road Race - Credit: Archant

Early breakaways Helen Ralston (Sigma Sport) and Helen McKay (Les Filles) were joined just after half distance by eight others, with the rest of the field well adrift. These riders re-formed into a second group that was given a subsidiary finishing sprint, for eleventh place, one lap short of the full distance which was won by Gemma Melton (Pedal Power Ipswich).

As the front group approached the finish Nicola Toms (Aprire/HSS) made a bid about two miles out but was brought back and the win went to teammate Jossy Lowden who was riding her first road race - though she had been fourth in the women’s national hill climb championship last October.

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No one was expecting records in West Suffolk Wheeler’s Hilly time trial based at Risby with the wind blowing briskly along the Lark Valley. However Newmarket veterinary surgeon Matthew Smith had other ideas, bounding round the 21 miles in 44:10 to smash Jason Bouttell’s 2014 record by 1:33.

Second, in 4601, came Bouttell, who is also from Newmarket and sometimes trains with Smith. Stuart Fairweather (VeloVelocity) was third a further 2:45 slower. Such wide gaps, rare in short distance events, indicate that Smith is a serious contender for national time trial honours this year and that Bouttell is early fit after competing in the Sunshine Tour MTB stage race in Cyprus.

Matthew Smith powers across Risby Poor's Heath to win the West Suffolk Wheelers Hilly 21

Matthew Smith powers across Risby Poor's Heath to win the West Suffolk Wheelers Hilly 21 - Credit: Archant

West Suffolk Wheeler Boyd Nicholas was first man off but soon had to abandon his ride when a frame tube of his tricycle parted company with the bottom bracket.

Fastest rider from CC Sudbury was Leon West (49:28), best Wheeler was Paul Vickers (49:45) while Simon Daw was quickest from Velo Schils and also top Veteran on Age Standard. The women’s prize went to Anita Ward of West Suffolk Wheelers.

The second round of the Mud, Sweat and Gears MTB series featured the smallest-yet venue and their biggest ever entry.

However the new venue at Phoenix Bike Park, Kentford near Newmarket got the thumbs-up from competitors who found the the former gravel pit tucked between the A14 and the railway provided many challenges - most notably a spectacular drop-off.

West Suffolk Wheelers Hilly 21 women's winner Anita Ward

West Suffolk Wheelers Hilly 21 women's winner Anita Ward - Credit: Archant

Jason Bouttell shrugged off his time-trial effort the previous afternoon to win a close battle with Richard Jones in the Elite/Expert category. Dan Howe took the 50+ from Paul Groombridge after Nick Ainsworth got himself tangled in a spider’s web of tape.

The women’s 40-49ers had new interest with Mel Paddington joining the class and winning a close battle with Anita Ward. Laura Sampson won the top women’s category while the was a second spot in the entry-level Women’s race for Emma Taylor, usually seen on a time trial bike.

Wearing his new Richardsons/Trek colours young Colchester rider Frank Longstaff outsprinted a big field to take the March Hare race on the Hog Hill closed circuit.


Ipswich BC Road Races, women: 1 Jossy Lowden (Aprire/HSS),2 Charlotte Colclough (Bianchi/Dama), 3 Helen Ralston (Sigma WRT),4 Eryn Nolan (5th Floor), 5 Jessica Woodworth (Cycle Team On-Form), 6 Madelaine Gammons (Team Vision), 7 Helen McKay (Les Filles RT) 8 Nicola Toms (Aprire/HSS), 9 Gemma Sargent (CT On-Form) + 00:14 secs, 10 Nicola Oh (Les Filles RT) +00:42 sec.

Men: 1 Peter Blenkinsop (Fast-Test),2 Thomas Willan (East London Velo), 3 Ian Franklin (PCH Racing Team), 4 Jack Hardwicke (Strada Sport) + 0:05 secs, 5 Leighton Oxley-Crisp (Velo Schils)

6 Matt Cowan (PCH RT), 7 Simon Hazelby (Iceni Velo), 8 Jobe Usher (North Road CC), 9 Jez Fabes (CC London), 10 Tom Walsh (Maldon & District CC).

West Suffolk Wheelers Hilly 21: Risby: 1 Matthew Smith (Team Bottrill) 44:10, 2 Jason Bouttell (VeloVelocity) 46:01, 3 Stuart Fairweather (VeloVelocity) 48:46, 4 Leon West (CC. Sudbury) 49:28, 5 Paul Vickers (West Suffolk Whs) 49:45, 6 Simon Daw (Velo Schils) 50:00, 7 Robert Golding (Ely & Dist) 50:36, 8 Paul Rooke (West Suffolk Whs) 50:52, 9 Paul Jay (VeloVelocity) 51:09, 10 James Rush (CC Sudbury) 51:24, 11 Rory Havis (Ely & Dist) 51:44, 12 Fraser Elsworth (West Suffolk Whs) 51:52, 14 Chris Tye (Plomesgate CC) 52:13, 15 Andrew Kennedy (Ipswich BC) 52:20, Women: 1 Anita Ward (West Suffolk Whs) 57:38, 2 Jan Ertner (Cambridge CC) 58:49, 3 Kay Burgess (Kings Lynn CC) 1:00:42

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