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Piper calls the tune at a ‘clean’ Mud, Sweat and Gears

PUBLISHED: 17:18 26 February 2019 | UPDATED: 17:19 26 February 2019

Brundall rider Jimmy Piper (Renvale RT) on the way to the Vets 50-plus win at the Hadleigh Park MTB races in Essex Picture: Fergus Muir

Brundall rider Jimmy Piper (Renvale RT) on the way to the Vets 50-plus win at the Hadleigh Park MTB races in Essex Picture: Fergus Muir

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The Mud, Sweat and Gears summer mountain bike race series got under way with a complete absence of mud and a surfeit of sweat and gears on the steep bluffs of the Olympic Legacy course at Hadleigh Park.

The Vets 50 + Podium, from left, Nick Laing (second) , winner Jimmy Piper and Nick Ainsworth  at the Hadleigh Park MTB races in Essex Picture: Fergus MuirThe Vets 50 + Podium, from left, Nick Laing (second) , winner Jimmy Piper and Nick Ainsworth at the Hadleigh Park MTB races in Essex Picture: Fergus Muir

Only a week after the final Winter Series race, the weather was more like summer and the atmosphere festive.

There was a Norfolk winner in Jimmy Piper (Renvale RT) who took the Veterans 50-Plus category in style with his last lap his fastest of all. Piper finished three minutes clear of second-placed Nick Laing with Nick Ainsworth (Aerocycles) a further minute down. The nature of the course was summed up by Ainsworth’s bike computer – his maximum race speed was 37mph while the minimum was three. Next came Paul Watson (West Suffolk Wheelers) with Norwich rider Patrick Stokes fifth.

The result of the Sport (age 18-39) category was in doubt to the last moment with Mulbarton rider Will Dorsett and Tom Hughes never more than a second apart. They unluckily encountered a lapped competitor right on the finish line where Hughes just took the win. Wearing the colours of new team XLR8, Robert Smithers was sixth in this category.

Elvita Branch (Sussed Out Suspension) was Women’s Expert Elite winner with Norfolk rider Emily Quantrill second.

Beccles rider Nigel Herrod, winner of the new 60-plus Veteran’s Prize at the Hadleigh Park MTB races in Essex Picture: Fergus MuirBeccles rider Nigel Herrod, winner of the new 60-plus Veteran’s Prize at the Hadleigh Park MTB races in Essex Picture: Fergus Muir

Bungay-based Godric CC rounded off the local reliability trial season with their 50-mile event taking in Weybread, Blythburgh and Haddiscoe. Over 90 riders created a tremendous buzz in Ditchingham Village Hall at the finish.

“It makes it all worthwhile,” said organiser John Pugh who, at the age of 81, had ridden around checking the course two days earlier.

Youngest rider on the day was 14 year-old Joe Wakelin, who ate up the 50 miles in barely three hours.

There were large contingents riding out from Norwich, Great Yarmouth and Diss.

Jimmy Piper (Renvale RT) attacks one of the many climbs at the Hadleigh Park MTB races in Essex Picture: Fergus MuirJimmy Piper (Renvale RT) attacks one of the many climbs at the Hadleigh Park MTB races in Essex Picture: Fergus Muir

For the Diss club it was a 90-mile day. They started from home in freezing conditions, completed the 50-mile circuit at over 19mph, before enjoying the gathering at Ditchingham – and riding back to Diss.

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