The bright winter sunshine proved a big attraction for the 131 riders who signed on for the annual Suffolk Punch Reliability Trial on Sunday.
Hosts West Suffolk Wheelers and Triathlon Club were well represented, along with a strong contingent from Ipswich Bicycle, for the routes of 36, 60 and 75 miles, as well as a number of time limits to choose from, meaning there was something to suit every level of fitness.
Having competed in a race in London the previous day, special mention must go to Ipswich Bicycle Club’s Roman Powlowkz, who showed no evidence of fatigue when he lined up among the unprecedented number of 60 riders in the challenging 75-mile course.
Five riders in this group came in under the 13mph cut-off time, 27 made it inside 15mph and a record 11 riders returned inside the 18mph average speed.
Not only was Powlowkz one of the very first riders back in this fast group, but he had already cycled to the event from Ipswich and had a return trip to contend with.
Twenty-three riders set off on the 36-mile route and all made it back, with five making the 11mph cut off time; five the 13mph time; 12 the 15mph time and one the 18mph.
The more testing 60-mile route shared some of the hilly 75-mile route east of Newmarket and attracted 48 riders.
Despite a few non-finishers, the vast majority finished within their respective time limits — 12 at 13mph, 27 at 15mph and two at 18mph.
First home, and following a successful cyclocross season, was the host club’s Mike Bowen.
Meanwhile, and showing no sign of slowing down, was the Wheelers’ Tony Panting, who — approaching his 80th birthday — finished imperiously.
Showing his dad a clean pair of wheels was 13-year-old Sam Asker — also on the back of a successful cyclocross season — who finished two minutes faster than dad James.
n Six adult Wheelers made the short trip to Haughley Park near Stowmarket to compete in the third round of the Suffolk Winter League Cross Country Series on Sunday.
Held over an undulating 8.5km course, the seniors were well represented by Keith Merra — who was first Wheeler home in a very commendable 13th — followed by Phil Clarke (87th), Sharon Perry (116th) and creditable runs from Paul Sawyer, Daniel Leaver and Simon Kitching.
Meanwhile, in the junior run, Niamh Perry will be pleased with her finish of 34th, capping off a superb weekend of sport in which she represented Suffolk in swimming and Suffolk Schools at Minor Age Girls level in the Anglian Schools County Championships, held on February 1 at Abingdon Park in Northants.