Powell wins dramatic national final at West Suffolk Wheelers grass track meeting
The highlight of West Suffolk Wheelers' grass track meeting was a dramatic 800 metres national championship final in which Chelmsford rider Mitch Powell rode from front to seize the crown, writes Fergus Muir,
Behind him John McClelland literally disappeared into a hedge, avoiding a crashed rider, and Scotsman Charles Fletcher, who had come 400 miles to defend this, the shortest of British Cycling grass track titles, had to be content with third place behind Laurence Lisher.
Riders said that dust particles on the dry Fornham track were rolling under their wheels like ball-bearings – such are the subtleties of grass racing.
Fletcher (Cairngorm CC) and from Grantown on Spey, comes from the world of bike racing incorporated in Highland Games, and his presence linked the two areas – Scotland and East Anglia - where grass racing continues to feature.
Standards of competition are not far apart, judging by Fletcher’s win in the last event of the day, the Eight Kilometre. Laurence Lisher was second in this one while McClelland, sporting a black eye, reappeared to take third place.
Local winners in supporting races at Fornham All Saints included Harley and Fraser Gregory and Alex Cooper, all of host club West Suffolk Wheelers.
At the second round of the Suffolk Cycle Race Series at Trinity Park, Ipswich, local rider Rebecca Johnson (Fusion RT) took the women’s race by barely a second from Gemma Melton (Pedal Power Ipswich) after Sophie Holmes (Velo Schils) had led on the early stages.
In the seniors men’s race a first lap attack proved decisive. Liam Manser (Pedal Power Ipswich) made the brave move and when he found himself joined by Charlie Wright, a Strada Sport rider with a matching punchy riding style the pair committed to an hour-long break – and made good on that resolution.
In the tightest of finishes Wright won by .033 of a second (about an inch) as measured by Ken Jolliffe’s MyLaps transponder system.
Ross Fawcett (Pedal Power) took third having outpaced Freddie Grover (Fast Test) with whom he broken clear of the bunch.
The supporting men’s event for third and fourth cat competitors saw a comeback win for Lewis Pendle of VC Norwich who won from William Hughes (Ipswich BC), and Graham Collins (TPH).
Among many sampling road sport in this race was cycle speedway veteran and photographer Phil Clarke who found he could gain yards on novice roadmen on the corners, but – at age 48 – saw younger legs powering away on the straights.
Moved at the last minute to the forest circuit at Croxton near Thetford, the VC Norwich road races saw wins for Nicole Oh (Les Filles) and Harley Matthews (DAP CC).
The women’s race mostly stayed together despite the attempts of Cambridge University CC‘s Jess Atkinson who made several bids to get away on the downhill, downwind leg, but was caught after a do-or-die last lap break. Oh, a London-based Australian, then sprinted to win from Gemma Melton (Pedal Power Ipswich)
In the men’s race a strong break of nine, including riders from DAP CC, Strada Sport, St Ives CC and Velo Schils, escaped and never looked back. Matthews charged across the line to take the win ahead of Charlie Wright.
At the Maglia Rosso evening cyclo-cross winners included Matthew Denny (Maglia Rosso), Becky Ridge (Manningtree Whs) and Charlie Johnson (Ipswich CSC).
The course in the grounds of the Hawstead cafe/bike shop includes mini versions of almost every cyclo-cross challenge and provides a first class introduction to the sport. Next event – Tuesday 31st July.
Matt O’Brien (Plomesgate CC, 19:45) and Denise Hurren (Sole Bay Sport, 22:30) were the winners of the Iceni Velo 10 on the Besthorpe-Browick and back course.
There was a fast “50” of 1:50:20 for third place from Andy Proffitt (Ipswich BC) on the single carriageway Waveney Valley course. Winner however was Matthew Senter (VeloVelocity) in a new course record of 1:45:59.
VC NORWICH ROAD RACES – Men: 1 Harley Matthews (DAP CC), 2 Charlie Wright (Strada-Sport), 3 Patrick Clark (Team B38), 4 Thomas Heal (Strada-Sport), 5 Andrew Taylor (VC Norwich), 6 Jack Burgin (St Ives CC), 7 Jamie Wimborne (CT OnForm), 8 Ian Perry (Velo Schils), 9 Leighton Oxley-Crisp (Velo Schils), 10 Jack Bracey (Strada-Sport).
WOMEN:1 Nicole Oh (Les Filles), 2 Gemma Melton (Pedal Power Ipswich), 3 Anna Marie Hughes (Norwood Paragon CC), 4 Jennie Tillott (Lovelo), 5 Dagmar Pfeifer (Verulam CC), 6 Charlotte Colclough(Bianchi), 7 Gemma Atkinson , 8 Megan Panton, 9 Rachel Dunn (Verulam CC) 10 Cindy Berry (Pedal Power Ipswich).
IPSWICH CYCLE RACE SERIES Round 2: 1 Charlie Wright (Strada-Sport), 2 Liam Manser (Pedal Power Ipswich), 3 Ross Fawcett (Pedal Power Ipswich), 4 Freddie Grover (Fast Test), 5 Gareth Turner (VCEquipe), 6 Dominic Schils (Java Partizan),7 Andrew Taylor (VC Norwich), 8 Fabian Horrocks (TBW), 9 Matthew Day (TPH), 10 Kieran Jarvis (CT OnForm).
LOTUS CRL Round 7: 1 Harley Matthews (DAP CC), 2 Tom Fitzpatrick, 3 Andrew Taylor (VC Norwich), 4 Gary Freeman (Fast Test), 5 Charlie Wright (Strada Sport), 6 Fabian Horrocks (TBW),7 Kieran Jarvis (CT OnForm), 8 Daniel Zagni (Ipswich BC),
9 Gabriel Fowden (Pedal Power Ipswich), 10 Morris Bacon (DAP CC)
GODRIC CC 50: 1 Matthew Senter (VeloVelocity) 1:45:59, 2 Ben Stancombe (VeloVelocity) 1:47:26, 3 Andy Proffitt (Ipswich BC) 1:50:20, 4 Harry Walton (Cheltenham C&CC) 1:50:28, 5 Carlo Fino (Sigma Sports) 1:52:31, 6 John Bradbury (CC Sudbury 1:56:17), 7 Andrew Leggett (VeloVelocity) 1:56:24, 8 Paul Vickers (West Suffolk Wheelers) 1:57:17, 9 John Swindells (Iceni Velo) 1:57:29, 10 Adrian Pettitt (Stowmarket & District) 1:57:40. Women: 1 Becky Murley (Wisbech Whs) 2:06:13, 2 Kay Burgess (King’s Lynn CC) 2:10:21, 3 Jen Smart (VC Norwich) 2:13:30, 4 Jan Smith (Great Yarmouth CC) 2:14:21, 5 Kate Lucas (Norwich ABC) 2:15:36.