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Veterans prove fastest category at West Bilney Woods as Ben Findlay takes victory

PUBLISHED: 06:02 11 December 2019

The start of the Three-Hour race at West Bilney. Picture: John Styles

The start of the Three-Hour race at West Bilney. Picture: John Styles

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Plenty of narrow slippery tracks greeted mountain bike riders who gathered in West Bilney Woods for the second round of the Winter Series promoted by Thetford Racing.

Fenman Mathew Eley at the MTB races at West Bilney. Picture: John StylesFenman Mathew Eley at the MTB races at West Bilney. Picture: John Styles

For most there was a choice of a three hour race or half that time, the latter being the most popular format.

Amongst the 18-39 age group, Watton rider Robert Smithers set the pace but Ely Garage proprietor Mathew Eley eventually came past to win by just under a minute.

Neither of these was quite as quick as the fastest Veterans - the over 40s category, which also had the largest entry.

Here Ben Findlay was the winner, with Norwich rider Paul Groombridge (Push Sport/Barford Van Hire) just behind and also quicker than all the 18-39s.

Robert Smithers from Watton at the MTB races at West Bilney. Picture: John StylesRobert Smithers from Watton at the MTB races at West Bilney. Picture: John Styles

Diss rider Lisa Marriott (Epic Orange) was top woman at the shorter distance, while fastest three hour woman was Sally Watts.

Norwich-based Epic Orange, keen to encourage women in MTB racing, also had Rachel Holman from Dereham in fourth place and Jodie Cole (Thetford) and Nicole Beck (Norwich) fifth and sixth respectively.

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Going for the full three hours in slippery mud, Steve Day was both fastest Vet and overall, with HKR rider James Murphy also faster than senior winner Jonathan Sheasby. Detailed results can be seen at www.timelaps.co.uk.

Cyclo-cross riders travelled to Stanborough Park, Welwyn for the Eastern Regional Championships where the races each had both Eastern and Central Region riders competing, though with separate results.

Among star Norfolk performances were bronze medal finishes for King's Lynn Junior Bethany Barnett and Diss & District CC's 50-plus veteran Ian Newby, while Nigel Herrod, from just over the Suffolk border in Beccles, was 60-plus Eastern Champion.

Top Norfolk finisher in the Senior Men's Championship was 2018 champion Kieran Jarvis from Dickleburgh.

Jarvis had an exciting ride when his tubular tyres started to roll, but was able to take his spare bike - permitted in cyclo-cross, in contrast to MTB racing which is strictly "finish on the bike you started on".

Other good Norfolk results included fourth in the Juniors for Angus Toms and fifth in V40 for Iceni Velo's Darren Rutterford.

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