Piper and Laborde take Eastern League titles with a round to spare
PUBLISHED: 06:43 29 January 2020
Two more Norfolk cyclo-cross men made certain of Eastern League Championships at the Cambridge races last Sunday.
Brundall veteran Jimmy Piper and Norwich youth rider Callum Laborde join Baily Groombridge as unbeatable whatever happens at Writtle in the final round. Ben Lewis, who has many family connections in Aylsham, is also secure at the top of the Vets 40-49.
Jimmy Piper (Renvale RT) actually lost his 100 percent maximum score record when he rolled a tyre late in the race and Ian Newby (Diss & District) overtook to take top league points.
Neither got the race win - this went to Midland visitor Phil Roach, one of the doyens of the sport. Roach had a 55-second lead at the finish - and was later to be seen analysing every corner and challenge, while watching later races in the company of other famous veterans.
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The course at Milton Country Park featured lots of twisting narrow wooded sectors, which test the leaders' skills in getting past lapped competitors.
The Country Park managers welcome cyclists and the course, though no longer marked with tapes, remains available for those who would like to try it. Access is from the A14/A10 interchange on the northern edge of Cambridge.
Callum Laborde (Iceni Velo) had a clear win in his clinching ride - his first Eastern win since the Mistley race in November, though in between there have been outstanding National Trophy results. Joseph Smith, also from the Iceni club, was second, and is now certain to be runner-up in the Eastern League as well.
The women's race was a demonstration win by national rider and Cambridge student Ffion James, who rode her mountain bike to a three-minute win over Suffolk regulars Elvita Branch (second) and Martha Lebentz, who secured, respectively, the Senior and Junior league wins.
The event organiser's daughter, Emily Miller (WXC World Racing), won the race for Under 14 girls, with Florence Barnett from King's Lynn, taking second place.
Essex junior Max Bolton took the final race of the day, beating his QSW teammate and Senior winner James Madgwick after a well-judged attack opened a gap.