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Matt Ellis wins sprint finish ahead of Paul Groombridge to take victory at West Bilney

PUBLISHED: 11:00 13 December 2017 | UPDATED: 14:48 13 December 2017

Norwich rider Matt Ellis (Epic Orange) leads Mark Wingar (Gipping RT) at the West Bilney MTB races. Picture: John Styles

Norwich rider Matt Ellis (Epic Orange) leads Mark Wingar (Gipping RT) at the West Bilney MTB races. Picture: John Styles

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Age hardly seemed to matter at King’s Lynn Mountain Bike Club’s Winter Enduros at West Bilney.

Chris Skinner leads Vets 40-49 winner Paul Groombridge at the West Bilney MTB races. Picture: John Styles Chris Skinner leads Vets 40-49 winner Paul Groombridge at the West Bilney MTB races. Picture: John Styles

Winner of the 90 minute race was Norwich rider Matt Ellis, a Senior (age 18-39), outsprinting Veteran (40-49) Paul Groombridge. Next came another Veteran Mark Wingar, 48 seconds behind Groombridge. These, together with Chris Skinner, had been the pace-setters.

Meanwhile Vet 50-plus rider Paul Ashby, three-hour winner, had covered his first four laps in a time just 14 seconds slower than Ellis’s....and was only three minutes slower over his second half.

Fastest Junior was King’s Lynn MTB’s Jacob Shailes, 3:36 slower than Ellis, while the top women were Jodie Cole (90 minute) and Sarah Hewitt in the three-hour.

Conditions undoubtedly changed during the day, with competitors at first riding through a light covering of snow in the open areas. Later a defined racing line developed, but the surfaces became sloppy.

Ipswich cyclo-cross senior winner Seb Herrod takes the hurdles in his stride. Picture: Fergus Muir Ipswich cyclo-cross senior winner Seb Herrod takes the hurdles in his stride. Picture: Fergus Muir

“All of sudden you would go sideways,” said Ashby.

Snow was much deeper at Chantry Park, Ipswich, giving an epic feel to the 12th round of the Eastern Cyclo-Cross League.

The race-order changed as first one rider and then another had desperate difficulty getting shoes clipped in pedals clogged with ice and mud, while gear blocks became choked with the same mixture.

Seb Herrod (Strada Sport) scored his first league win, never falling off and managing with just two ice-free cogs.

Senior runner-up was Kieran Jarvis (OnForm) the best survivor from the original leading group of four which had included Army man Dan Preece and Junior Freddie Grover.

Norwich rider Alison Hogg took over at the front of the women’s race on the first lap and stayed in the lead to the finish, while Jimmy Piper won the Vets 50-plus.

The tough conditions produced a proper re-shuffle in the Vets 40-49 race where Nick Cook (Ipswich BC) won while Andy Green (Iceni Velo) took second spot – his best of the season.

This result was matched by his son George in the Youth Race where Max Bolton (Lee Valley Youth) won and Joseph Smith (Iceni Velo) was Under 14 winner and fourth overall.

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