Ashby proves age is no barrier

Paul Ashby's veteran status did not stop him putting in the fastest lap in the Thetford MTB Enduro cycling races in the forest near Grimes Graves, just as he had done at the Dusk-til-Dawn night race last month.

Paul Ashby's veteran status did not stop him putting in the fastest lap in the Thetford MTB Enduro races in the forest near Grimes Graves, just as he had done at the Dusk-til-Dawn night race last month.

Ashby, 42, lapped the six-and-a-half mile circuit on the north-east side of Brandon in 25 minutes 33 seconds on the way to winning the veterans' four-hour race. He was only 19 seconds behind the overall and 18-39 age group winner Luke Smith (Whyte Racing), who had opened up a gap on the last lap.

The majority of the entrants contested the two-hour event. Lapping at the front of the field was up and coming 16-year-old David Nichols (Glendene CC) and the vastly experienced veteran John McAndrew (Over The Hill/Ben Hayward) who was sharing his knowledge, pointing out good places to attack. Nichols proved a good learner and dropped McAndrew with three miles to go, finishing 27 seconds ahead to win the junior race as well as overall.

The course included two spectacular plunges into "bombholes" though these claimed fewer fallers than expected. However, the twisting climb out of one pit divided the riders into those who could ride it and those who could not - or were stuck behind someone who couldn't.

More riders were caught out by inconspicuous stumps in the long single-track sections. Overnight rain made the course claggy, indeed "sloppy porridge" was how Adrian Scott (third in the four-hour) described it. But little rain fell during the races and things did dry out.

Among the 500-rider field were entrants from the UEA MTB club and riders from other cycling disciplines like roadman Digby Symons and BMX men Alan Hill, Tim Gregory and Jon Osborne.

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n In spite of a puncture, Hoddesdon rider Phil Cooper (Blue Sky Cycles) dominated the Eastern Cyclo-Cross League race for the second week running. He was lucky that the deflation occurred near the pits and he was able to quickly rejoin the front group.

Early leader Glenn Stanford (API) proved unable to sustain the pace and, on one of the steep climbs which are characteristic of the course at Mistley, Cooper opened a gap. Nathan Miller (53-12 Multisports) and Interbike member Shaun Aldous, gradually recovering his fitness, gave chase but Cooper was well clear.

Luke Newby (Diss & District) led the youth race from the start and was never headed. Tom Castle (Ipswich BC) followed closely until he ran wide on a corner, letting 12-year-old clubmate Hugo Robinson into second place. Castle fought back but his serious challenge ended in a boggy pool at the bottom of one of the steep drops, although he re-mounted to finish third.

Sean Dunlea (PCA) won the under-12 event, in which Emily Wilkins (Chelmer CC) came close to taking second place in a battle with Alwn Newstead (IBC)

n The Cycling Club Breckland celebrated their award winners at a dinner at Reymerston. Good rides over 12 hours and 100 miles saw the club championship go to Don Saunders. Chris Nudds and Alan Newark took the awards at 50 and 25 miles respectively, while Adam Cross was most improved junior and Myles Lubbock took a similar award for seniors.

Guest of honour was former top time trialist Brian Phillips.

Results

Eastern League round seven, Mistley

Seniors, Juniors, Veterans, Women: 1 Philip Cooper (Blue Sky Cycles) 8 laps in 52:25; 2 Shaun Aldous (Interbike RT) +0:22; 3 Nathan Miller (53-12 Multisports) +1:28; 4 Glenn Stanford (API/Metrow) +1:33; 5 Nick Ainsworth (Private Member) +1:48; 6 Ian Newby (Diss & District CC) +2:23; 7 Hugo Hocknell (VC Revolution) +3:04; 8 Tim Butler 1st Vet (Ipswich BC) +3:28; 9 Clive Ling Vet (Diss & District CC) +3:43; 10 Julian Parker Vet (Ipswich BC) +3:56; 11 Kevin Wilby (Ipswich BC) +4:12; 12 Dave Copland Vet (Ipswich BC) +4:26; 16 Jonny Ramsey (Diss & District CC) +5:51; 19 Chris Guy (Interbike); 25 Hayden Wood; 31 Jen Ives 1st Woman (Interbike RT); 43 Jon Colbourne Vet (Fat Birds); 49 Martin Hewitt Vet (Fat Birds); 51 Paul Harris Vet (Fat Birds); 54 Paul White (Diss & District CC); 60 Andrew Arden Vet (Norwich ABC); 67 Brian Foster Vet (Fakenham Premier) +3 laps +11:30.

Youth: 1 Luke Newby (Diss & District CC) 4 laps in 27:42; 2 Hugo Robinson 1st Yth/U14. (Ipswich BC) +0:18; 3 Tom Castle (Ipswich BC) +0:56; 4 William Meadows (Ipswich BC) +1:25; 5 Robert Green (Ipswich BC) +3:21; 6 Ben Bailey Yth/U14 (Palmer Park Velo) +4:07.

Under-12: 1 Sean Dunlea (PCA Ciclos Uno) 5 laps in 11:56; 2 Alwyn Newstead (Ipswich BC) +0:15; 3 Emily Wilkins (Chelmer CC) +0:17; 5 James Arden (Norwich ABC); 11 Sophie Holmes 1st U8 (Diss & District CC); 12 Henrietta Colbourne U10 (Fat Birds); 18 Fraser Arden U8 (Norwich ABC) +2 laps +2:04.

Thetford MTB Winter Series Round One

Class Winners, Two-hour

Women: Nikki Humphrey (Fig Rolls) 4 laps in 2-11:54; junior women: Anna Buick (Salsa Racing) 4 in 2-23:28; men (age18-39) John Smith (Numplumz) 5 in 2-15:56; junior: David Nichols (Glendene CC) 5 in 2-13:44; veterans (40+): John McAndrew (Over The Hill) 5 in 2-13:44.

Four-hour

Women: Wendy Cashmore (Team Chance) 7 in 4-00:08; men 18-39: Luke Smith (Whyte Racing) 9 in 4-16:08; vets: Paul Ashby (Fat Birds CC) 9 in 4-16:27.