Norfolk Summer Cyclo-cross Series brings top racing action to Eccles
- Credit: Fergus Muir - April 2015
James Madgwick and Emma Bond were the senior winners when the Norfolk Summer Cyclo-Cross Series came to Eccles, near Attleborough.
Summer cyclo-cross may seem a contradiction in terms to the traditionally minded – but mud is not fundamental and the sport has a lot going for it.
It's shoulder-to-shoulder racing, on Tour de France-style racing bikes, without the dominating influence of drafting (slipstreaming) and team tactics.
The sit-in-and-sprinters are not likely to win. The course is not shared with motor traffic. The skill element is high – twists and turns, reverse cambers, logs to jump. Riders can push to the limit, and if they over-do it, it's usually a soft landing.
Riders from seven to seventy can enjoy taking part – and the venues are often great places for a family picnic.
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The former park around New Eccles Hall School provided a largely woodland course – soft under wheel with small fallen trees to cross.
Top two senior men were both jumping these astride their bikes – winner James Madgwick on a cyclo-cross machine and Robert Smithers on an MTB. For most others it was a dismount.
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Emma Bond of Swaffham-based EHF was women's winner with Diane Mantle from Feltwell in second spot. Josun Cole (Iceni Velo) won the Youth race by 1:39 from Matthew Baker (Great Yarmouth CC), with Sasha Dyke (Iceni) top girl.
Elsewhere, Horsford's Sophie Wright travelled to Plymouth to continue her success in the MTB National Points Series, winning the Youth Female second round at Newnham Park.
'The most technical course I've ever ridden,' the emphasis in this former quarry was on hills explained Wright.
'Even though I come from Norfolk, climbing is my strong point,' added the 15 year-old, who was overtaken on the second lap but soon re-took the lead and finished with 1:53 in hand.
Mark Arnold (Team Desiragear) wound a single fixed gear to win the Wolsey RC 25 and set a new course record of 53:45 for the single-carriageway Redenhall-Bungay course. Arnold beat Daniel Bloy (VeloVelocity) by 34 seconds.
The women's race saw Verity Smith (Stowmarket & District CC) win the Pat Pepper Memorial Trophy with a time of 1:05:58, 32 seconds faster than Weybourne girl Isla Rush (Wyndy Milla) who had already been racing in Belgium this year.
Local star among the seven Vets age category winners was Phil Hargreaves (VC Norwich) who took the 50-59 category in 58:12.
Conditions were dry with a crosswind that offered no help in either direction.
East Anglia's round-the houses-races on the streets of Ixworth, closed to traffic, are on the Bank Holiday Monday of May 4 – It is time to enter – this is an almost unique opportunity in East Anglia.