Leveton keeps up good form to triumph at Cycling and Fun Day

LEADING THE FIELD: Action from the Mens 400m National final race
LEADING THE FIELD: Action from the Mens 400m National final race

Andrew Leveton was this year’s National 400m Grass-Track champion at the Mildenhall Cycling and Fun Day at West Row on Sunday.

The VC St Raphael member emphatically won a thrilling final ahead of Martin Smith (Chesterfield Couriers) and club-mate Rowan Elliott.

He was presented with his National Champions Jersey and gold medal by Councillor Carol Lynch, chairman of Forest Heath District Council.

“I was delighted with that win as it now means I’ve won both the National 400m and 800m titles for three consecutive years,” said the 22-year-old, who suffered a serious fall in Reading last month.

Aside from the blue riband event, other winners of note were in the Ladies’ Omnium where the honours went to Lauren Higham from Welwyn Wheelers ahead of Matilda Gurney (EM Velocita) and Sherilyn Powell (Chelmer CC).

The National Endurance League Series was won by Dave Mitchinson (CC Ashwell), who lapped the majority of the field and missed a crash in the bunch on the final of the 20 laps, where five riders slid off on the penultimate bend.

Organiser of the grass-track racing and father of ex-Olympic and World Champion Victoria Pendleton, Max, added: “This event, whilst held on a materially different surface from a velodrome, requires just the same explosive effort to win it, but with a whole additional skill set requirement to deal with the lack of traction when cornering at some 30mph on a grass surface.”

The event replaced the nationally-acclaimed Mildenhall Cycling Rally and was being held for the first time at the Village Hall complex in West Row, with no other suitable venue available locally.

“The Rally was known throughout the UK’s cycling community as one of the best all-round cycling weekends that appealed to cyclists of all ages and especially families,” said Mark Burchett, chairman of Mildenhall Cycling Club.

“The one-day event was purely an interim measure allowing us to fully test the facilities at the new venue before we return to a three-day festival in 2017.

“Now we’ve had that one day I’m delighted to say that everything went very well with the new venue passing with flying colours.

“Not only that but all the feedback we have had already has been very supportive.

“Work will now begin in earnest to ensure that everything will be ready for a three-day event over the August Bank Holiday weekend next year.

“One of the most pleasing aspects was that as well local visitors, the number of regulars that we saw who had come to support us, despite living outside the eastern region, with some coming as far as Yorkshire.”

In the morning, over 30 riders featured in Under-16 juvenile races, which included eight competitors under the age of eight.

The host club were represented in the Boys Under-14 age group by Joslin Carter, who lives in Ely and finished in sixth position.

In the one-lap race for children on freewheel bikes, seven-year-old Lewis Brett from Red Lodge was third behind Isaac Smith and Joseph Cook, who finished as the winner and runner-up respectively.

The awards for the youth riders were presented by ex-Tour De France rider Vin Denson.

The 80-year-old competed in the famous race on six occasions and also won a stage of the Giro d’Italia and triumphed in the Tour of Luxembourg during the 1960s.

There was also a lot of interest in the Watt Bike 250m Challenge. Suffolk Sport in conjunction with Abbeycroft Leisure had the Watt Bikes available for visitors young and old seeing how fast they could pedal 250m.