Tough going at cyclo-cross

SUNSHINE at the Regional Championship cyclo-cross races was enough to melt the frozen surface and turn the tracks to ever-deepening quagmires. It was not so bad for the young riders whose events started the racing, but for the seniors, going last, the mud was described as “Three inches deep all round”.

Experienced and skilful Eastern League rider Greg Simcock (Corley Cycles) said he was “Sliding around uncontrollably” by the last lap. Pity the novices!

The championships were held at the Redbridge Cycle Centre on a new course that wove in and out of this purpose-built road circuit, usually known as Hog Hill. It featured the main asphalt climb, the so-called Hoggenberg as the finishing straight.

Here, in the junior race, Hugo Robinson (XRT/Elmy Cycles) powered to a two-second win over Taylor Johnstone (De Ver Cycles), reversing their positions in the Southampton round of the National Trophy a week earlier.

Here too, in the senior event, Gareth Montgomerie surprised leaders Jamie Newall (Corley Cycles) and Billy-Joe Whenman and seized a famous victory at the last gasp.

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Robinson’s team mate Nathan Miller was the highest-placed Eastern League rider. Miller did not have the best of starts but, using tyres pumped up to only 20 psi to get grip in the mud, he overhauled Simcock and Andrew Nichols (Cambridge University CC) and got up to fourth-placed Darren Barclay (Arctic RT) at one stage, finally finishing fifth. Andrew Waterman (Dulwich Paragon) Simcock and Nichols took the next three places.

In the women’s championship Corinne Hall (Team Corridori) was the winner, Loughborough University student Anna Buick (Thetford MTB) was fourth, while best Eastern League member was Sue Wood (Maldon & District) who finished seventh. Full results can be seen at

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In the second round of the Whyte Winter Series MTB races Laura Sampson (Stowmarket & District CC) won the women’s two-hour race by a massive 18 minutes.

The course, in the forest just west of the Brandon to Elveden road, was not quite as technical as that for round one.

A nice moment at West Suffolk Wheelers’ dinner was a presentation made to Trish Denison in recognition of her breaking of the club’s long-standing women’s 10, 25 and 50 mile records. Doing the honours were two of the previous record holders – 1950s and 60s member Wendy Hoxley and super-veteran Connie Tapper. Award-winners came from a wide cross-section of the membership. Peter Balls was Best All-Rounder over the shorter distances, Tony Panting (aged 75) at the longer ones, while the Mothersole Trophy for service to the club was won by Helen Ballam.

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