Spins, roots and leaves in the Forest
It was clean bikes and golden leaf-strewn trails for the first round of the Whyte Winter Series MTB enduros in Thetford Forest. A big contrast to the mud of the 'Dusk-til-Dawn' only a month previously.
The round one course was in the former Brandon Park area of the forest and featured some new sweeping downhill curves, a race-deciding long woodland climb and lots of single-track – as much as 80pc by some estimates.
With 500 riders of all abilities on a 6.5 mile circuit this meant that top riders had a difficult job balancing competitiveness with politeness while overtaking lapped riders.
The two-hour men's race started with a three-way battle between Diss rider Stephen James (AW Cycles), Newmarket man Jason Boutell (Revel Outdoors) and Graham Warby (Spirit Racing).
On the third 26-minute lap Warby was dropped and on the long climb near the end of the fourth, James eased away from Boutell as the pair bounced over tree roots – where a burst of power at the wrong moment can induce wheelspin and break a rider's rhythm.
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Local riders high in the two-hour placings included Elliott Lawrence (Fakenham Gas Centre) who was sixth in the 18-39s, Iceni Velo's Lewis Grimes (7th) and Michael Mallett (Thetford MTB,10th).
Grimes' Iceni clubmate Dave Frisby was just 50 seconds faster for the same placing in the Over 40s result, and Thetford MTB's Danny Coote was 12th vet, but was quicker than Mallett.
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The fastest VC Norwich rider was Mike Auger and their best veteran was Mike Dopson who was just under two minutes slower.
RAF rider Fay Cunningham won the women's two-hour by just 44 seconds from Thetford MTB's Anita Buxton, while Laura Sampson (Stowmarket & District) was the only woman to fit eight laps in the four-hour.
Veteran Paul Ashby (Fat Birds) and 21 year-old Ian Mockett (Bike Art) blazed the trail in the four-hour men's race, but by the fourth lap Ashby was alone at the front and by the finish the 46 year-old was six minutes clear of everyone, regardless of age.
Best Iceni rider in the four-hour was Paul Asplin who was tenth veteran – and quicker than tenth Under 40.
Full results can be seen at www.timelaps.co.uk
• The East District Hill Climb Championship was incorporated in the CC Sudbury event on Watkins Hill at Semer, near Stowmarket.
On a cool, damp morning with slightly helpful wind Tom Stephenson (Colchester Rovers) set a new record time of 43.4 seconds, beating Norfolk rider Will Bamber (45.2) and Paul Moss, Champion for the past two years who climbed in 46 seconds exactly
• 'Brutal' was Tim Guy's description of the course used for the Inter-Area Team Cyclo-Cross Championship – up and down banks and bunds around the Milton Keynes Bowl music venue, with no place to catch your breath.
The Eastern Region's best result was fourth team in the women's with Nikki Juniper (5th), Anna Buick (11th) Keira McVitty (13th) and Imogen Buick (19th).
The senior men were seventh team with Andrew Nichols (17th), James Whatling (34th), Tim Guy 36th), Cameron Toms 46th and late substitute Michael Raven (60th).
• This Sunday there is to be a cycle jumble at the St John's Ambulance Hall, Bond Street, Cromer 10am to 2pm.
To book a table, contact Albert Gravenor on 01263 821423, or Blacks Bikes on 01263 822255.
East District Hill Climb Championship, Semer: Tom Stephenson (Colchester Rovers) 43.4 seconds, W Bamber (Cult Racing) 45.2, P Moss (Stowmarket & District) 46.0, D Zagni (Ipswich BC) 47.4, G Collins (IBC) 48.7, P Cook (IBC) 48.9.