Norwich rider Paul Groombridge just misses out on podium at CC Ashwell event
- Credit: Archant
As the days get colder and shorter the focus of competitive cycling turns firmly towards cyclocross.
The almost weekly races come thick and fast and this weekend was no different for Eastern riders.
There was a choice of riding at round five of the Eastern League or pitting themselves against the country's best in the first round of the National Trophy League in Derby.
CC Ashwell hosted the ECCL event at Princess Helena College in Preston, the ever-popular course running fast despite the recent rain.
One tricky section of off-camber turns remained slick and muddy, proving to be a real challenge for all but the most talented riders and a draw for the eager spectators.
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The Vet 40 race was one of the strongest and most entertaining of the day with all of this season's front-runners in attendance.
Norwich rider Paul Groombridge (Push Sport) led out a group of five for the first two laps before league leader Matthew Webber took control to go on to win.
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On the last lap Groombridge looked strong in third but despite his best efforts was overhauled with inches to go by the fast finishing Richard Bettaney (RenvaleRT).
Iceni Velo rider Andy Green rode well to take ninth, Jason Bye 16th and Spencer Laborde 19th.
The Senior/Junior men's race saw four Norfolk riders on the front row of the start grid.
Dougal Toms (Pedal Power) held a good lead after the first lap but cruelly had his race cut short yet again by a puncture.
Kieran Jarvis (On Form) rode well for third, Tim Guy (DAP) overcame his own puncture issues for sixth and Matt Ellis (Epic Orange) continued to improve, finishing eighth despite a poor start.
The younger riders also impressed around the tricky course with Iceni Velo riders George Farrow-Green third in the youth race and Callum Laborde an excellent third in the U14 boys race.
Over in Derby ECCL regulars gained some impressive results, notably Elspeth Grace (Welwyn) fifth in the Junior Women's, Mike Bowen 13th in the Vet50 and Cam Hurst 23rd after a heavy first lap crash in the Junior men's.