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Suffolk riders Howe, Branch, Sampson and Herrod win at first race of Mud, Sweat and Gears Series

PUBLISHED: 13:42 06 June 2019 | UPDATED: 13:42 06 June 2019

Elite woman’s winner Elvita Branch at Thickthorn. Picture: FERGUS MUIR

Elite woman's winner Elvita Branch at Thickthorn. Picture: FERGUS MUIR

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Ipswich mountain bike rider Dan Howe took his first win of the 2019 Mud, Sweat and Gears Series at the inaugural race at the Thickthorn venue which will host the East Anglian round of the national series at the end of the month.

Ipswich veteran Dan Howe wins at Thickthorn. Picture: FERGUS MUIRIpswich veteran Dan Howe wins at Thickthorn. Picture: FERGUS MUIR

Vets 40-49 winner Howe was noticeably showing an eye for a berm - seeking out lines though corners where natural banking offered help. He finally finished one minute 20 seconds up on nearest rival Shaun Aldous.

The entirely new Thickthorn course lies between Norwich and Wymondham and is on a private estate with a sporting tradition - horse races were held there from the 1880s until the 1970's.

The technical features were concentrated on the banks of an elongated former gravel pit while other sections took in parkland, grassland and a desert-like track near the modern A11where the rather humid heat of the day was most in evidence.

Other Suffolk winners included Elvita Branch and Laura Sampson in their respective classes and Nigel Herrod who won the 60-plus Vets - a race which lasted nearly two hours.

But good training for even longer Continental events that Herrod is training for. There was a fine third place here for Peter Golding (West Suffolk Wheelers) - after one hour 54 minutes of hot work.

Nigel's son Seb featured in one of the closest races - being beaten by a whisker by Jules Birks in the Elite/Expert Male category.

The Vets 40-49 race gets underway at Thickthorn. Picture: FERGUS MUIRThe Vets 40-49 race gets underway at Thickthorn. Picture: FERGUS MUIR

After sharing the lead all race Herrod drove hard at front over the last two laps, hoping to Birks would lose contact, but the Londoner hung in there and used his superior sprint to take the win.

Joseph Blackmore won the boys Under 16 race where Dan Hall (Colchester Rovers) - eventually fifth, Dean Samson (Sussed Out, 6th ) and Thomas Ayers (CC Ashwell, 7th ) swapped places all race..

For full results see www.timelaps.co.uk

The Eastern Region Road Race Championship was decided over 85 scorching miles on the exposed Reservoir circuit near Colchester.

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Stephen Parsonage (Richardsons-Trek) and Felix Barker (Active Edge) were very early attackers. Chasers - initially in two groups - eventually linked up and caught the leaders to form a lead group of 15 - gradually whittled down to ten.

Vets 60-plus winner Nigel Herrod (left) and Peter Golding (West Suffolk Whs, 3rd) at Thickthorn. Picture: FERGUS MUIRVets 60-plus winner Nigel Herrod (left) and Peter Golding (West Suffolk Whs, 3rd) at Thickthorn. Picture: FERGUS MUIR

On the last seven mile lap James Jenkins (Richardsons), Clay Davies (GPN) and Lewis Bulley (Richardsons) created a new lead group, with Bulley (from Brentwood) eventually winning from Jenkins and Clay. The next places went to James Moss, Bungay rider Morris Bacon, Matt Clements, Tom Ellwood and Tom Fitzpatrick.

Several time trial course records have just been broken in the Waveney Valley. In the Anglia Velo 10, Rendlesham rider Stuart Fairweather (VeloVelocity) brought the record for the Earsham-based version of the 10 course under 20 minutes for the first time. He won in 19:57 ahead of Matt O'Brien (Plomesgate CC, 20:49) and Jorge Vieira (Pedal Revolution) 21:09. Rebecca Johnson (Fusion RT) was top woman in 23:03.

In the Godric CC-promoted East District 50 mile time trial championship on the Ditchingham- Needham-Stockton course Becky Taylor (Wisbech Whs) set a new mark of 2:02:51, while Ben Stancombe (VeloVelocity) took the men's championship with 1:46:20.

Conditions, including a rising tailwind finish were deemed near-perfect by organiser John Pugh.

Next fastest was John Bradbury (CC Sudbury, 1:53:18) and Godric CC rising star Phil Marler who also won the handicap award with his 1:57:31.

Kay Burgess (2:14:10) was women's silver medallist while bronze went to Steph Hoyle (Godric CC, 2:27:32).

Dan Hall (Colchester Rovers) in action at the Thickthorn races. Picture: FERGUS MUIRDan Hall (Colchester Rovers) in action at the Thickthorn races. Picture: FERGUS MUIR

The winning time in the Maldon and District "Sporting 50" was even faster - Colin Lewis (Essex Roads) taking just 1:44:27. Next fastest was Christopher Smith in 1:53:57 while Women's winner was Lauren Kirchel (Chelmer CC, 2:04:44).

The 2019 Women's Tour of Britain starts in Beccles this coming Monday morning (10th June), the race leaving at 10.30 am. The course takes in Halesworth, Framlingham, Bury St Edmunds, and finishes in Stowmarket.

Full details can be found at: www.womenstour.co.uk

RESULT - EASTERN REGIONAL ROAD RACE CHAMPIONSHIPS

1 Lewis Bulley (Richardsons-Trek RT), 2 James Jenkins (Richardsons-Trek), 3 Clay Davies (GPN builders-Rock and Road Bikes), 4 James Moss (Nuun-Sigma Sports-London RT), 5 Morris Bacon (DAP Cycling Club), 6 Matthew Clements (Richardsons-Trek), 7 Tom Elwood (Team LDN), 8 Tom Fitzpatrick, 9 Neil Phillips (Tekkerz), 10 Toby Parnell (Pro Cycle Hire UK Racing Team).

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