Great Scott conquers the climb to win Strada Sport Summer Road Race

Norwich rider Scott Walford (Iceni Velo) taking the win on Skeet's Hill. Picture: Fergus Muir

Norwich rider Scott Walford (Iceni Velo) taking the win on Skeet's Hill. Picture: Fergus Muir - Credit: Archant

Scott Walford, from Norwich club Iceni Velo, won the Strada Sport Summer Road Race after breaking away with team-mate Chris Beck and then striking out alone to take a well-deserved solo win on Skeets Hill.

Eleven climbs of the notorious hill on the Caistor St Edmund to Saxlingham road in the space of a 50 mile race is testing at any time, but more so on a warm day.

However, Walford had come third in the Duff Morgan race on the same circuit in May and paced himself well to hold a 45-second gap at the finish.

Second place went to 55-year-old Antony Purnell (Cambridge CC) whose is Technical Director at British Cycling, specialising in aerodynamics, but also races as an enthusiastic and gutsy Third Cat.

He set out in lone pursuit of the Iceni breakaways at a time that he later admitted was 'a bit early', but never gave up and finished alone 25 seconds clear of the rest of the field, which was headed home by Will Bamber (VC Norwich).

Wymondham-based Strada Sport threw their best effort into an excellent promotion, but also had Harleston rider Thomas Gillingwater in fifth place.

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Norwich Amateur Bicycle Club trio of Darrel Glover, Alan McClaren and 61 year-old Tony Goodall successfully completed the ride in five days, splitting the distance into sections of 186 miles, 176, 160, 197 and finally 166 miles from Market Rasen in Lincolnshire, across the fens riding into a headwind in temperatures of up to 37 degrees and then across the up-and-down bits of Essex to finish six hours inside the time allowed.

Other Norfolk riders known to have completed the ride include tandem stoker Chris Smith from Diss, while Sam Browne of Iceni Velo ran out of time at the Humber Bridge on the return with 705 miles under his belt and Peter Bussey reached Edinburgh in under 36 hours before retiring. There may well be others I have not heard about.

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Beccles rider Stuart Pryce (Strada Sport) and James Browne (VC Norwich) were early attackers, later joined by Graham Collins (Ipswich BC). With Collins and Pryce driving the break and Strada and IBC teammates occupying the front of the bunch and discouraging chasing attempts, the trio stayed away and Collins was able to lead Pryce over the line in a stretched-out finish.

n The Mud, Sweat and Gears MTB races at Hinchingbrooke Park near Huntingdon featured a mix of very tight single track in woodland and twisting sections on flat grassland.

Norfolk winners included Stephen James in Elite/Expert, Glenn Stanford in Sport Male Melanie Paddinton in Sport Female and young Horsford rider Sophie Wright in the Juvenile Female category.

RESULTS

Strada Sport Road Race, Shotesham: 1 Scott Walford (Iceni Velo ) 2 A Purnell (Cambridge CC) @ 45secs, 3 W Bamber (VC Norwich) @ 1:15, 4 G Georgellides (Finchley RT), 5 T Gillingwater (Strada Sport) 6 M Jacobi (Peak RT), 7 T Guy (Iceni Velo) 8 M Yale (Stowmarket & District), 9 B Wright (VC Revolution) 10 L Gyde (CC Breckland) all same time.

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