Hardly a summer welcome as new Norfolk cyclo-cross series gets off to a soggy start

Action from the Cyclo-Cross league, first round at CITB Bircham. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Action from the Cyclo-Cross league, first round at CITB Bircham. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

Riders in round one of the Norfolk Summer Cyclo-cross Series were greeted with weather more akin to the middle of winter – the traditional time for cyclo-cross racing.

Despite the rain, thunder and strong winds, novice and experienced riders gathered at CITB Bircham Newton, near Dersingham, for what was an enjoyable and memorable inaugural race for the new series.

The weather deterred all but the hardiest riders and with fields of one for both the under-10 and under-12 races the two races were merged. Harley Gregory and Oliver Griggs, both of West Suffolk Wheelers, showed the older riders how it should be done, riding through the wind and rain, Harley keeping up with his older team-mate until the very end in a race which was longer than he normally rides.

Next up was the youth race – again a small turnout saw three riders battling the weather, as well as each other.

Matthew Baker (Gt Yarmouth CC) led from start to finish, with second place going to Jack Parish (Ipswich Bicycle Club) and third to Frank Moore, from Cycling Club Hackney.

Richard Muchmore, fresh from winning the regional winter league, continued his winning form in the men's 50+ category, with Paul Watson (West Suffolk Wheelers) and Paul Driver (Amisvelo Racing Team) making up the podium.

Sara Flatt (Push Sport) dominated the women's race, coming in a lap clear of her rivals. Jennifer Smart (VC Norwich) and Rachael Clarke (Amisvelo Racing Team) had a hard fight for second and third, with Smart eventually taking second place by nine seconds.

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The sun finally came out for the last race of the day with Dougal Toms (Iceni Velo) taking first place in the men's junior/senior race, demonstrating an almost metronomic pace around the by now very wet and muddy grass course.

Toms managed to lap all but the second- and third-placed riders, Michael Bowen (West Suffolk Wheelers) and William Warre (Cyclelab).

The next race in the series is at New Eccles Hall School, Quidenham, on April 19 – hopefully with better weather.

For further details, visit www.norfolkcross.com

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