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Ipswich ace Melton scores top three finish in huge field at Milton Keynes

PUBLISHED: 14:14 03 October 2019 | UPDATED: 14:14 03 October 2019

Ipswich rider Gemma Melton (XRT/Elmy Cycles) –  third in a field of 160 at Milton Keynes. Picture: FERGUS MUIR

Ipswich rider Gemma Melton (XRT/Elmy Cycles) - third in a field of 160 at Milton Keynes. Picture: FERGUS MUIR

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Ipswich rider Gemma Melton (XRT/Elmy Cycles) scored a remarkable third place in a massive field in the women's cyclo-cross at Milton Keynes, writes Fergus Muir.

Harley Pell (left), junior winner at Milton Keynes – seen here with mother Emma at Chelmsford. Picture: FERGUS MUIRHarley Pell (left), junior winner at Milton Keynes – seen here with mother Emma at Chelmsford. Picture: FERGUS MUIR

With no Eastern League race last weekend several local riders sampled the Central League event at Campbell Park where the astonishing 160-odd field in the Women's race took 15 minutes to grid - a time cheerfully occupied by Mexican waves. Even "retired" Helen Wyman took part, staying near the back and encouraging backmarkers - many on MTBs.

Gemma Melton headed a chasing group as eventual winner Katie Scott (Trek Bicycle Club) went straight into the lead. Melton sometimes shared the work with Katy Simcock but often chose the front so as to be able to pick the line as overtaking lapped riders became a serious consideration.

Still together at the last corner, Melton finished a wheel behind Simcock in the sprint for second place Lauren Higham - last year's Eastern League women's champion - took fifth place while another Eastern competitor, Harley Pell, was 12th overall and first in the Junior category.

Norwich Under-16 rider Callum Laborde who has won the all three Eastern rounds so far, continued his successful run at Campbell Park. Laborde used his ability to hop hurdles without dismounting to open a gap and held on to the lead for the rest of the race.

Chelmsford rider Sean Dunlea – a welcome return to racing at Milton Keynes. Picture: FERGUS MUIRChelmsford rider Sean Dunlea – a welcome return to racing at Milton Keynes. Picture: FERGUS MUIR

The Bloodwise/QSW team had James Madgwick taking third spot in the Senior Men, but were almost more pleased to see their Chelmsford member Sean Dunlea coming in 16th and looking well-recovered from his dramatic crash in his hometown event two weeks previously. Jack Parrish was 12th while another Ipswich rider, Dave Copland, was 15th in the 50-plus.

It is veteran riders who will be the stars when Ipswich hosts the UCI Masters Cyclo-cross World Championships in two successive years 2021 and 2022.

It was at the annual congress of the international governing body of cycling, held alongside the recent World Championships at Harrogate, that the announcement was made that Steve Grimwood's bid to bring the Masters Championships back to Ipswich had been accepted. The bid was backed by Eastern Cyclo-Cross and East Suffolk Council, the exact dates are yet to be finalised.

Saxmundham time trialist Nick Partridge was the winner of the King's Lynn CC 10 on a blustery afternoon in west Norfolk. Crosswinds buffeted competitors on the first and last legs of the horseshoe-shaped course, though there was brief relief on the 35 mph dash from Bexwell to Stradsett in between.

Sudbury Junior Isabella Johnson -  three seconds away from the women’s win in west Norfolk. Picture: FERGUS MUIRSudbury Junior Isabella Johnson - three seconds away from the women’s win in west Norfolk. Picture: FERGUS MUIR

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The VC Baracchi rider finished in 20:39, comfortably clear of Matthew Webster who rode a stock-standard road bike to second spot in 21:31

Women's winner was Jemma Redhead (Wisbech Wheelers, 26:07) with Sudbury Junior Isabella Johnson was three seconds slower.

John Manlow (22:49) was top Ely & District finisher, best from West Suffolk Wheelers was Julian Long (23:12 while Trevor Caley (23:18) was top Plomesgate finisher.

Saxmundham rider Nick Partridge – winner of the King’s Lynn 10. Picture: FERGUS MUIRSaxmundham rider Nick Partridge – winner of the King’s Lynn 10. Picture: FERGUS MUIR

Matthew Smith won - for the third year running - the fine trophy that goes to the winner of the Leo 30, now held near his hometown of Newmarket. Smith finished in 56:30 with fellow Newmarket rider Jason Bouttell second in 57:20.

Not far down the field was VeloVelocity rider Ben Stancombe (fifth in 58:51), while CC Sudbury's Leon West was just outside the top ten with 1:00:44.

Well up were Chelmer CC trio David Harding (1:00:57), Peter Harding (1:01:40) and Sam Wightman (1:01:46). Best woman was Jackie Field (CC Ashwell, 1:07:28)

The road racing season is not yet over and the Eastern RRL individual title is still very much up for grabs. Andy Taylor currently heads the rankings on 162 points just three points ahead of his DAP CC teammate Morris Bacon and Seb Herrod (Strada Sport) who both have 159.

Three counting races remain - promoted by the Maldon & District CC on 6th October, and by the Finsbury Park CC and King's Lynn CC on the following two weekends.

RESULT - KING'S LYNN CC 10, Tottenhill: Overall: 1 Nick Partridge (VC Baracchi) 20:39, 2 Matthew Webster (Kings Lynn CC) 21:31, 3 Jamie Sparrow (Kings Lynn CC) 21:46, 4 Antony Gough (Velo-One Cycling) 21:54, 5 Paul Hayward (VC Baracchi) 22:13, 6=John Manlow (Ely & District) and Jack Watts (PedalRevolution) both 22:49, 8 Ivan Carr (Kings Lynn CC) 22:57, 9 Julian Long (West Suffolk Wheelers) 23:12, 10 Trevor Caley (Plomesgate CC) 23:18.

WOMEN: 1 Jemma Redhead (Wisbech Whs) 26:07, 2 Isabella Johnson (Datalynx) 26:10.

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