Arnold claims classic win

Fergus MuirThe head-to-head encounter between early-season winners Mark Arnold and Glenn Taylor in the Diss Medium Gear 25 saw Arnold come out top, spinning his 72-inch gear to finish in 59:16.Fergus Muir

The head-to-head encounter between early-season winners Mark Arnold and Glenn Taylor in the Diss Medium Gear 25 saw Arnold come out top, spinning his 72-inch gear to finish in 59:16.

That was 40 seconds quicker than Taylor, though 30 seconds slower than Taylor's 2006 medium gear course record.

Held in glorious sunshine, three successive events featured tricycles, classic bikes - including two penny-farthings - and the medium gear race.

Riding the tricycle event myself, I witnessed Arnold (TTW/Pedal Revolution) pedalling like heck on a state-of-the art disc wheeled bike overtaking former penny-farthing champion Steve George as the pair rounded the bend at Rushford on the Diss-Thetford road.

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Maldon rider George, riding his 1882 Victor with a 50-inch wheel was the fastest "high wheeler" in 1:40:19, suggesting he was spinning the pedals at about the same furious rate as Arnold (59:16) on his chain-driven machine, restricted to the equivalent of a 72-inch direct-drive wheel.

The tricycle 25 saw a one-two win for the Bungay-based Godric CC with John Dupen fastest in 1:12:51 ahead of Adrian Perkin in 1:13:22.

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Fastest classic bike was Martin Pyne (1:6:28) riding a Raleigh that he has ridden in several 1980s national championships, with second place going to Ken Baker (1:11:01) on an immaculate 16-inch-wheeled Moulton set up to replicate John Woodburn's 1962 Cardiff-London record-breaking machine.

The Ipswich Bicycle Club road race was won by Lee Desborough, who last year won the Diss Medium Gear. The 64-mile race was held on a rolling Gosbeck-Helmingham-Pettaugh circuit in Suffolk. With little wind the race maintained a high speed, Nick Esser (VC Baracchi) saying he sometimes seemed to be "in the peleton at 35mph and hardly pushing the pedals".

This made breaks difficult - and those who did escape were soon chased down by strong Finchley RT and Cambridge CC teams. All the more credit to Desborough then, who lost two team-mates to punctures early in the race.

Riding for his new club, St Ives CC, he made a move, in company with three others, with just two miles to go. With both breakaways and bunch hesitating to exhaust themselves before the sprint, Desborough went for it alone.

"I just kept powering away. With 200 yards to go the bunch was catching me - and quickly - but I managed to hold on," he said.

If the race had been five yards longer he would have been overhauled, but as it was the win was his. Finchley RT sprinters Trevor Burke, George Olive and Norwich member Dieter Rowe were third, fourth and seventh respectively. Mike Auger (VC Norwich) was fifth and Robert Hunt (API) sixth.

Finally, a rather different mass-start result - Derek Lusher of the Norwich Amateur BC, who is British Cycling's Regional Competition Administrator for the East was 9,982nd among the 30,500 riders in the Cape Argus Pick 'n Pay Cycle Tour in South Africa. He finished the mountainous 103 kilometres in four hours 27 minutes, which was 1:47 behind ninth-placed Lance Armstrong.

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