Top cycling talent battle in National Trophy at Trinity Park
A big effort by a team of local cyclists led by Steve Grimwood of Elmy Cycles resulted in a fine weekend of National Trophy cyclo-cross at Trinity Park, Ipswich, writes Fergus Muir.
With a complex course including two scaffolding bridges and long stretches of barriers, putting up the course and supervising spectator crossing points was a major job.
Probably the closest finish of the whole weekend came in the Women’s race where Beth Crumpton wearing the yellow jersey of the Series Leader outsprinted her Under-23 counterpart Anna Kay by a tiny margin.
Top local finisher was Gemma Melton of Pedal Power Ipswich who was 18th, one place ahead of Delia Beddis, winner of the Eastern League race at Colchester last month.
Earlier on Sunday Martha Lebentz (Hadleigh CC, 11th) was best local finisher in the Under 16 Girl’s race. Florence Barnett (King’s Lynn CC) who, with her sister Bethany, is an experienced National Trophy competitor at one stage challenged for third place among the Under 14s but finally finished fifth.
All the races for Veterans – the over-40s – were on Saturday. Three riders led by Helen Pattinson were soon well clear of the field. But not far behind Jo Newstead (XRT/Elmy) was in among those chasing the next places. Jo couldn’t quite sustain this pace but she was happy with her final position at National level.
“Eighth....yes – I’ll settle for that” said Elmy’s shop manager afterwards.
Turning to the men – in the vet 40-49 race Adrian Lansley (Pedalon) was the winner but local interest centred on a battle between Glenn Davey (Stowmarket & District) and Beccles rider Stuart Pryce (Strada Sport).
Davey had the straight-line speed but Pryce, though only an occasional ‘cross racer, proved faster nipping through the twisty bits – and took 13th place, ahead of Davey.
Fast starts on a Tarmac surface, together with large fields make the first minute of these national races a learning curve for many local riders. This year there were no local successes approaching the wins by Steve James and Dougal Toms in recent years.
In the final race of the day Belgian Braam Merlier was the lone winner – a repeat of last year at Ipswich – ahead of former UK National Champion Ian Field. Eastern League rider James Madgwick was 28th and the first Suffolk finisher was Lloyd Chapman – no stranger to a fast-charging bunch – who was 31st.
Finlay Pickering (Vive le Velo) won the Under 16 Boys race. Stowmarket rider Charlie Johnson was top local rider in 14th place, after working his way up the 75 rider field. Daniel Hall (Colchester Rovers) was with Johnson to start with, but Johnson’s power eventually separated them and Hall was 21st.
Max Greensill was first in the Under 14 Boys where Harley Gregory (West Suffolk Wheelers) was 22nd.
At the Winter Series MTB races in the woods at West Bilney Laura Sampson and Elvita Branch from East Bergholt team Sussed Out Suspension had the women’s categories pretty much sorted – with wins in the Three-hour and 90 minute races respectively.
The course proved more technical than that used for the first round near Santon Downham with twisty descents feeding straight into sharp climbs. It had dried out nicely after overnight rain and though a bit soggy in places, semi-slick tyres were often the order of the day.
There was a late upset in the 40-plus Men’s Three-hour when leader Dan Howe (Wolsey RC) tangled passing a back-marker, hit a stump and fell heavily, letting evergreen Paul Ashby though to take the win.
Dave Penney (King’s Lynn MTB) was third after a race-long ding-dong with Paul Watson of West Suffolk Wheelers.
Paul Groombridge (Push Sport) won the Vets 90 minuter beating all the Under 40s in the process. Nick Ainsworth (Aerosport) said it wasn’t his day, but he was still, I believe, the top Suffolk finisher in fifth spot, one place ahead of Stow rider Andy Sampson.