Climb helps decide the MTB winners
The grassy climb on Thetford MTB's Brandon Park course was the point of decision in both the senior men's races in the second round of the Whyte Winter Series.
In the two-hour race George Budd opened a gap on Ian Mockett there, and in the same place four-hour winner Andrew Cockburn put the hammer down and dropped Stephen James, his companion in the lead for the previous three hours.
The course in the forest just west of the Brandon to Elveden road proved a roller-coaster on quick-drying ground, not quite as demanding technically as that used for round one.
With temperatures just above freezing, ice on the first lap gave way to mud later, which in turn was shaped into a sculpted racing line by the relatively smaller number of competitors racing on for the full four – or in some cases nearly five – hours.
The two-hour races had by far the biggest entries. Initially there were three at the front of the 18-39 age group – James (AW/Giant), Mockett (Thetford MTB) and Neil Richardson (RAF) but a dropped chain set Richardson back before the final split, though he still finished third.
Elliott Lawrence (Fakenham Gas Centre) overtook Norwich man Tim Guy (EST/Streetlife) on the last lap to claim fourth.
Guy's team-mate Andrew Manning was clear winner in the 40-plus race, in a time that would have put him between Richardson and Lawrence among the 18-39s..
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In the four-hour enduro only Cockburn (Cambridge CC), James and 40-plus winner Paul Ashby (Fat Birds CC) completed eight laps of the 7.4 mile circuit.
Laura Sampson (Stowmarket & District CC) won the women's two-hour with Sarah Taylor from Bintree, riding for Trevor Brown's new WXC Mountain Bike Team in second place and Clare Martin from Norwich ninth.
Daniel Barford was the junior winner, with local riders Adam Cross (Pauls Cycles) sixth, Maurizio Carlino-Rackett eighth and Cameron Toms ninth. Full results can be seen at www.timelaps.co.uk
• In the Eastern and South Eastern cyclo-cross championships at the Redbridge Cycle Centre, Imogen Buick (Thetford MTB) won the under-16 girls title on a new course that wove in and out of the purpose-built road circuit usually known as Hog Hill.
Buick, from Wymondham, led the girls from the start and after the main championship contender Emily Barnes (Rapha Condor) suffered a mechanical problem Buick was never challenged.
Although the sun was shining, the course became more and more sticky as the day progressed.
In the women's and veteran's championship Imogen's older sister Anna fell on every lap but still took fourth place behind winner Corrine Hall (Team Corridori).
Dad Phil picked up two places among the veterans on the last lap, to take second place in the 50-59 age category.
Hugo Robinson (XRT/Elmy Cycles) won Junior Championship, while team mate Nathan Miller was best placed Eastern League rider in the senior race.
Out-of-season time trial enthusiasts are reminded that entries for the CC Breckland New Years Day Open 10 close on Sunday. Julian Farrell (01328 701520) is the organiser.