Mudbath in Thetford Forest for Winter Series third round MTB races
- Credit: Archant
'Winter' was the appropriate word concerning the Winter Series third round MTB races – with rain setting in soon after the start and some riders reduced to getting off and pushing in the wettest stretches of the course in the Brandon Park sector of Thetford Forest.
Racing started with a crunch as a faller on the first corner brought most of the field to a halt.
But there were some plus-points as well – it was not raining as riders stood lined up for a cold wait for the start, it stopped well before the end of the Four-Hour and the mud did not seem to stick and clog quite as much as I've sometimes seen it –perhaps it was just too wet.
Not the best day for organiser Paul Hore to compete for his first time for six years – but he did so with good cheer to celebrate his 50th birthday today.
His Thetford MTB team are starting their 11th year organising racing in the forest – usually for 500+ riders each race – something they achieve with a commendable combination of efficiency and good humour.
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Laura Sampson (Gipping RT) opened a small gap on Imogen Buick on the second lap to take the Women's Two-Hour.
Buick – of the Wymondham cycling family – has now moved from Junior straight into the Senior Elite category and was fine-tuning her fitness for the four-day Sun Tour stage MTB race in Cyprus, before moving to live in Holland and contest World Cup races.
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Other highly placed women in the two-hour included Claire Martin (Iceni Velo, 10th) and Erica Auger (Team CCN, 13th).
Thetford MTB's Anita Buxton won the Women's Four-Hour with Faith Addison returning to her old stomping-ground to take second spot after taking time out of competition to qualify as a pharmacist.
Buick's Newdales Cycles teammate Callum Riley put in a performance that drew admiring comments from rivals – such as 'can he handle a bike!' – to win the Mens' 18-39 age group Two-Hour though he was not quite as fast as visiting veteran Lewis King (Beeline Bikes).
Paul Ashby (MT-Zoom) won the Vets Four-Hour but couldn't make it a double for the Over-40s competitors – Ryan Henry being faster in winning the 18-39s, as was second placed Stephen James from Palgrave.
The top local Junior was Zak Coleman (Great Yarmouth CC, 7th).
Full results can be seen at www.timelaps.co.uk
n Norwich Amateur Bicycle Club members took the two top awards at the East District Cycling Association prize presentation at Carbrooke.
Gina Bertoldi won the womens' Best All-Rounder and Jason Turner the mens' BAR.
A string of award winners collected their medals and plaques from East District committee man Ron Back.