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Unsung heroes of region’s cycling scene are honoured

PUBLISHED: 15:14 05 December 2019 | UPDATED: 15:14 05 December 2019

British Cycling Award Winners lined up: L-R Neil Irons, Kev Darragh, Jenny Parker, Len Gordon, Becky Gridley, Dave Copland. Picture: KEELEY HILLMAN

British Cycling Award Winners lined up: L-R Neil Irons, Kev Darragh, Jenny Parker, Len Gordon, Becky Gridley, Dave Copland. Picture: KEELEY HILLMAN

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British Cycling Eastern Region has honoured volunteers who have made a special contribution to organised cycling in our area.

Dave Copland (Ipswich BC, left) who, together with Susannah Rosenberg, won the award for cyclo-cross.  Presenter is British Cycling board member Ian Poole. Picture: KEELEY HILLMANDave Copland (Ipswich BC, left) who, together with Susannah Rosenberg, won the award for cyclo-cross. Presenter is British Cycling board member Ian Poole. Picture: KEELEY HILLMAN

The presentation in Chelmsford was part of a new regional plan to support and celebrate the unpaid people on whom all aspects of the sport rely.

There was an award in each of BC's main areas of interest with Dave Copland and Susannah Rosenberg of Ipswich Bicycle Club receiving theirs for devising and maintaining the computer system behind the sustained growth in cyclo-cross participation.

It is their work which ensures that results and details of each person's ride are available online before most competitors have reached home after an event.

Kevin Darragh of Hadeigh MTB has put a huge effort into making the 2012 Olympic MTB venue into an asset to all south Essex mountain bikers.

Becky Gridley is a coach at Braintree BMX and is described as the Go-To person at the club.

Junior riders on the climb at Colchester – Angus Toms (left)  and league leader Charlie Johnson from Stowmarket. Picture: FERGUS MUIRJunior riders on the climb at Colchester – Angus Toms (left) and league leader Charlie Johnson from Stowmarket. Picture: FERGUS MUIR

Len Gordon (Essex Roads CC) cheerfully takes on big race-organising jobs and can also be found most weekends on some lonely corner of a road racing circuit, acting as an accredited marshal.

Bryan Harvey (Ipswich CSC) can be found helping with all aspects of the Eagles from coaching to track maintenance

Neil Irons, a track commissaire, is one of the main people behind CC Hackney and in particular their close links with local schools.

Jenny Parker is regional co-ordinator of BC's Breeze offer/campaign to introduce ladies to cycling. Incidentally, the link for this is www.letsride.co.uk/breeze.

The need for Jenny's contribution was highlighted by the revelation this week that the gender split in last summer's mountain bike racing in the region was 85% men, 15% women.

Ipswich BC veterans on the  reverse camber in Colchester   – Clive Tricker (in front) and Kevin Godber. Picture: FERGUS MUIRIpswich BC veterans on the reverse camber in Colchester – Clive Tricker (in front) and Kevin Godber. Picture: FERGUS MUIR

- Colchester club VC Revolution took cyclo-cross to new heights as they re-vamped their Hillyfields course to include a long climb that had Vets grimacing while Juniors exulted in their fitness. There was also more emphasis on switchbacks in the side of slopes yielding plenty of tempting opportunities for competitors to over-do it.

Welwyn Wheeler Joe Kiely, nowadays mostly riding National events, confidently tied up the Senior race after overhauling early leader James Madgwick (Bloodwise/QSW) Max Bolton took second overall and was top Junior. However, Stowmarket rider Charlie Johnson retains a big lead at the top of the League standings.

The one set of hurdles were big ones - though that didn't stop Manningtree Wheeler Graham Collins hopping them on his fat-bike. Hurdling styles varied widely with Saffron Walden rider Alex Dale astonishingly smooth and fast.

That long climb was decisive in the Women's race - that was where Gemma Melton (XRT/Elmy Cycles) finally drew clear of Bethany Barnett (LIV-AWOL) after the pair had raced together so hard that they opened a big gap on the rest of the women's field.

Third place went to Elvita Branch, followed by Harley Pell and Martha Lebentz while Katie Scotter' s sixth spot took her to the top spot in the Eastern League.

Oscar Woodward – best West Suffolk Wheeler in the final race – and Nathan Gibson (St Ives CC) in action at Colchester. Picture: FERGUS MUIROscar Woodward – best West Suffolk Wheeler in the final race – and Nathan Gibson (St Ives CC) in action at Colchester. Picture: FERGUS MUIR

The vets 50-Plus saw Jimmy Piper (Renvale RT) get a clear win, but there were close battles further down the field. Clive Tricker (70+ category) was in close contention with Ipswich BC clubmate Kevin Godber until Godber - not yet 60 - finally asserted his age advantage to finish 20 seconds ahead.

The Youth (Under 16 and Under 14 cats) saw wheel-to-wheel racing to the last with Welwyn Wheeler Euan Woodliffe and Callum Laborde (Iceni Velo) both in contention until Woodliffe led into the series of switchbacks on the side of a hill, where he exploited free choice of the racing line to get a tiny gap.

Dylan Starkey (Lee Valley Youth) confirmed his place at the top of the Under 14 League while Eleanor Bolton was top U14 Girl finisher.

Always a relatively slow starter, Ben Lewis (Forest Side Riders) overtook first lap leader Stuart Pryce (Strada Sport) to ti up the Vets 40-49. Shaun Aldous took third spot while Andy Green beat Darren Rutterford to fourth spot.


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