Nichols overcomes Hempton elements
Corners were crucial at the Hempton cyclo-cross – the successful were those who could maintain speed through leaf-strewn twists and turns, made wet by morning fog.
Further opportunities for the skilful – and confident – were posed by a plank cunningly placed at the bottom of a sandy run-up. If it could be jumped while astride the bike, the climb might be ridden to advantage.
By the last lap of the senior race three riders were still in contention – Andrew Nichols, the winner at Hempton last year, Ross Tricker, former BMX pro, and Tim Guy, who had won on the similarly wooded and technical course at Mistley last month.
Nichols ran up the climb first and stayed there to the flag, while Tricker bunny-hopped the plank, rode past Guy, who was running up the climb, led into the last narrow section and successfully held Guy off in a close sprint for second. First junior Cameron Toms (Iceni Velo) was seventh overall, ahead of Ian Newby (Diss CC) who took maximum points among the Elite Veterans.
Though Bruce Robinson, the veterans league leader, never stopped trying, there was no holding Phil Buick (Iceni Velo) through those corners and he had 33 seconds in hand at the finish. Top finisher from East Coast Riders was Pete Farrell, ahead of clubmates Justin Lawton and Nick Thurgill.
Joolz Halpin won the women's race with Katie Scotter (VC Norwich) stepping up to second spot, her best league placing so far. Sean Dunlea (PCA Ciclos Uno) was youth winner, with Zak Coleman (Great Yarmouth CC, 14th) first Norfolk rider while Lewis Hardcastle (City of Norwich, 16th) was another moving up the league.
Under-12 winner was William Raymond (Welwyn Whs) while first of five finishers from the North Norfolk Schools Cycling Academy was Madeline Curl.
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The event was promoted by the Fakenham-based East Coast Riders who have weekly rides on Thursday evenings and Sundays. Contact Paul Harris on 01328 851380.
• The East Anglian Cycling Club celebrated their 90th year with a lunch in Holt where the toast to the club was proposed by Ken Jolliffe, whose organising responsibilities have extended from the 20-second Gasp Up Gas Hill to 200km Audax rides, via mass-start racing at Lotus. Club champion was Guy Stevens while the Jenkins Trophy for meritorious service was awarded to time trial organiser Ian Vine. Brian and Brenda Tate received an engraved plate in appreciation of their long and dedicated service to the club.