Strong finish gives Essex trophy glory
Catherine Essex added her name to the Pat Pepper Memorial Trophy after a close battle with previous holder Laura Gambling on a bright, windy morning in the Waveney Valley.
Racing for 25 miles up and down the road between Redenhall and Bungay the two were still level on time with less than two miles to go, but over the last stretch, where the riders increasingly faced a headwind, Gambling struggled a little with a big gear and Essex gained a seven-second advantage, finishing in 1:4:33 to Gambling's 1:4:40.
King's Lynn CC member Essex, five times East District Ladies Best All-Rounder, has the age advantage – she is a new veteran – just 40 this year, while Gambling, who lives in Norwich and races for the CC Breckland, is 54. In one sense Essex, who lives in Fakenham, has long been a 'vet' – she works as a veterinary nurse.
Third in the 10-rider women's field was Becky Taylor from the Wisbech Wheelers (1:6:15) ahead of Sally Withey (VC Norwich 1:9:52).
'Bracing' was the best word to describe conditions. There was bright sunshine but also a chilly wind which blew across the A143 into riders' faces throughout the two legs towards Bungay In the reverse direction banks, hedges and woods unfortunately 'protected' riders from much of the help they might have hoped for.
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The men's event was won by Andre Dyason (VC10) in 56:52, who was attracted to the event as a SPOCO (Sporting Courses) competition qualifier. He was just 33 seconds up on Will Bamber (Cult Racing) who lives close to the valley, as does John Dupen (VTTA) who won the Tricycle Association event that opened proceedings in 1:10:59.
The wind was also very much in evidence in the open 10 at Crowfield, promoted by the Ipswich BC. Twigs flying in the wind were an additional natural hazard on this north Suffolk country road course, better known as a road race circuit. There were real corners, too, one marshal had to jump out of the way of a 'tester' who had underestimated one of these. None of this worried sporting course specialist Duncan Murphy (Diss CC) who was the winner in 23:50.
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The Andrews Trophy Road Race was dominated by visiting riders.
However, VC Norwich veteran Phil Hargreaves made his mark racing near Banbury in a League of Veteran Racing Cyclists 60-mile road race where he took second place.
This weekend the roadmen head for Risby, near Bury St Edmunds, where the regional road race championships will be fought out.