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New track hosts first contest for Stowmarket & District Cycling Club in ncyclo-cross league event

The Stowmarket & District Cycling Club turned up trumps with their new cyclo-cross venue at Haughley Park near Woolpit.

Laid out on a grand scale and featuring challenging short, sharp climbs and long twisting stretches in woodland the course saw hotly-contested races in the 14th round of the Eastern Cyclo-Cross League. Conditions under-wheel were dry, and early drizzle soon cleared up.

The climax to the day came when Diss rider Kieran Jarvis (Team OnForm) won the eventful Senior Men’s race.

Surprise early leader was Liam Manser (Power Power Ipswich), best known as a criterium rider. Riding a bike lent by his boss, last season’s League Champion Steve James, Manser led Jarvis, James Madgwick (Bloodwise) and Angus Toms (Iceni Velo) up the toughest climb.

By the second lap Jarvis and Madgwick, racing close together, headed the field, and they very gradually opened a small lead on Cam Hurst (XRT/Elmy) with Manser and Toms locked in a battle that would last most of the race.

Then Madgwick fell and Jarvis ran into him, unfortunately replicating their collision at Writtle last week. Jarvis got his bike sorted out first, took the lead and held it to the line, with Toms second, Manser third, followed by Madgwick.

Elspeth Grace won the Women’s race, initially making the pace in the company of newly-crowned Junior champion Lauren Higham. Eventually Grace, rather more confident in claiming her leader’s right of way when passing tail-enders, drew ahead to take the Senior win while Higham was second and Junior winner.

Joining Higham on the Junior podium was Ellie-May Pledger and Hadleigh CC’s Mollie Cutmore.

A fifth place overall for Gemma Melton (Pedal Power Ipswich) was enough to assure her of the Senior League Championship.

There was no stopping Matt Webber in the Vets 40-49 race. A little further back, Shaun Aldous from Bungay (eventually fourth) and Glenn Davey (Stowmarket & District, fifth) each ploughed a lone furrow, while Garboldisham rider Ian Newby took seventh place after being neck and neck with Andy Hurst (Amis Velo) throughout the race. Bury St Edmunds-based Army man Matt Waters scored one of his best results at 11th in the 68 rider field.

Paul Watson (West Suffolk Wheelers, 5th) was top local man among the Vets 50-plus, two places up on Elmswell rider Paul Driver. West Suffolk Wheeler Peter Golding was 11th and second among the 11 competitors in the Over 60s.

Martha Lebentz (Hadleigh CC) was top Under 16 Girl, while Mia Rutherford (Iceni Velo) was best U14. In the Under 16 Boys, Nathan Hardy (Welwyn Whs) won while Oliver Griggs from Bury St Edmunds(11th) put in his highest points score of the season.

The Eastern League’s penultimate round will take place at Snetterton in Norfolk, hosted by Iceni Velo on Sunday, January 20. Cambridge Junior CC will host the final round at Milton seven days later.

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