Cross-border raid pays off as Norfolk riders dominate
- Credit: Archant
A trio of Norfolk first-year juniors were part of a group who took the Ipswich Bicycle Club Spring Scramble by the scruff of the neck and dominated the men's race.
Dougal Toms (Iceni Velo), Zak Coleman (Strada Sport) and Kieran Jarvis of St Ives CC, but from Dickleburgh, formed a break with Jarvis' clubmate Charlie Bratt, Lewis Pendle (VC Norwich), former duathlete Ross Fawcett, Dan Youngs from Braintree and two wise older riders now racing at a lower level, Phil Hetzel and Douglas Bradshaw.
In the 53-mile race on a north Suffolk circuit based at Gosbeck near Stowmarket, Fawcett, Young and Bradshaw escaped off the front of this break, and Fawcett was never caught again, taking the win alone. The two wise men, Hetzel and Bradshaw, took the next two places, followed by Bratt, Toms and the rest of the break.
The afternoon race for women, over the same 53 miles, attracted entries from far afield and was won by Sophie Coleman from Brighton, who found fellow escapees in a break appealing to her to 'slow down' and decided to go it alone. It was a decision she fully justified, winning by several minutes. Top finishers from East Anglia were Ipswich riders Rachael Johnson (14th) and Gemma Melton (18th).
West Suffolk Wheelers' Hilly 21 at Risby was a fine swansong as an organiser for Ron Back, who is retiring 54 years after he first organised a time trial – his first being for the Edgware RC where he was one of the star riders.
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At Risby in chilly conditions, but with some help from the wind on the climbs, the result had a familiar look with Mark Arnold (46:21) and Daniel Bloy (47:53) heading the list. Matt Eley, whose family-run garage sponsors the Ely & District club took third in 49:07.
Just seven seconds separated the top two women in the Wisbech '10' where Wendy Goodings (St Ives CC) won in 27:14 from Norwich rider Sally Withey (27:21). There was a rising crosswind on the exposed Wisbech bypass course, where regular visitor Jon Surtees was men's winner in 21:47, ahead of Wisbech rider Jason Kiernan (22:00) and Lawrence Wright from Sheringham (22:07).
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CC Breckland's Alex Bailey was pleased with a personal best '10' of 21:33, done in the Eastern Counties CA event just south of Newmarket. Bailey was even more pleased to meet the person who caught him for three minutes after eight miles – Continental professional Alex Dowsett (Movistar) who won the event in 17:46.
Round-the-houses racing comes to Fakenham on Easter Sunday afternoon when the town centre roads are closed and racing takes place on an interesting-looking circuit.