Sean Dunlea wins Regionals at Welwyn

CHELMSFORD rider Sean Dunlea was the Eastern star at the Regional Cyclo-Cross Championships where he put in a confident performance to win the youth event.

CHELMSFORD rider Sean Dunlea was the Eastern star at the Regional Cyclo-Cross Championships where he put in a confident performance to win the youth event.

The championships covered a combined Eastern and South-Eastern area and the South-East claimed the lion’s share of the wins. However Dunlea, who had been racing in the tough world of Belgian cyclo-cross only the previous weekend, made sure his orange PCA Ciclos Uno kit was always at the front of the youth race and by half distance had opened a gap on his last challenger, Tomas Franklin (Hargroves Cycles).

The course, at Stanborough Park in Welwyn Garden City included some tough climbs, including a run-up that only a few competitors were able to ride and a hair-raising descent, plus planks to vault, wooded single-track and grassland.

Greg Simcock (Corley Cycles) won the 40-49 veteran’s race and Mick Bell (London Fire Brigade CC) the 50+. Local riders winning age categories included Dave Copland (Ipswich BC, 45+) and Bruce Robinson (Shaftesbury CC, 55+).

Junior champion was Harry Franklin (Hargroves Cycles) with James Jobber (Colchester Rovers) in second place. Chelmer CC junior Sherilyn Powell put in an outstanding ride to take third place in the women’s race, ahead of Katy Simcock (Hope Factory Racing), Anna Buick and Emma Johnson. Diss CC’s Sophie Holmes was third in the non-championship under 12s race.

In the Senior Championship, Surrey rider Jamie Newall (Corley Cycles) survived a bike change to take a win by a margin that looked comfortable, though his gap on second placed Darren Barclay (Arctic Premier) was actually only 12 seconds. Barclay also had to change bikes and was 23 seconds down at the end of the first lap. He worked his way back to join Under 23 rider Taylor Johnstone (Team De Ver) to dispute second spot just as Johnstone was emerging from a chasing group he had formed with Tim Guy (Iceni) and Andy Nichols (PCA Ciclos Uno). Guy was eventually fourth and Nichols fifth.

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A scintillating first lap set up Jason Boutell (Revel Outdoors) for his win in the two-hour mountain bike race in Thetford Forest. Glenn Stanford (Team CCN) put in a tremendous effort from an ungridded starting position to close to within seven seconds at one stage, but Boutell realised the danger and proved he had it in his legs to pull away to win by 1:33. Young Saffron Walden rider Callum Riley (Newdales/Giant) was third.

The circuit, based at Mayday Meadow, was relatively short at 6.5 miles and included two “bombholes”, a very long fire road to sort the field after the start and long uphill single track stretches which tested leader’s skills in getting past slow – and sometimes walking – competitors.

The fire roads were hard going - “Like riding through magnetic grass,” said Nick Ainsworth (Aerocycles Haverhill) who punctured on the first lap but subsequently put in some very fast laps to take tenth place among the 158 veterans in the two-hour enduro. Andrew Manning (Team CCN) was the winner here and best place TROG rider was Julian Parker, who finished sixth, just ahead of Lee Desborough from Soham, Carl Smith (TROG) and Garry Houghton (Revel Outdoors).

Parker’s son Lewis (HMF Pedal Power) won the Junior race, the only competitor to fit five laps in the two hours.

In the four hour enduros winners included Paul Ashby (Fat Birds), Laura Sampson (Stowmarket & District) and Michael Jackson (CC Luton).

Enthusiasts for out-of-season time-trials are reminded that entries for the CC Breckland New Year’s Day 10 close on Tuesday, December 13.

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