Ixworth Cycle Races 2024 – Race report

Stephen BrookNews, Road Racing

West Suffolk Wheelers’ annual Criterium races at Ixworth village attract top UK riders and international guest riders from China

Note that full results and all podium photos are detailed in this news item.

West Suffolk Wheelers held their annual Ixworth Cycle Races on Monday 6th May 2024, with over 160 riders taking part over 6 races. This year’s event included National B level races for Elite & Category 1 riders who this year included the DAS-Hutchinson-Brother UK Women’s team and in the men’s field Alec Briggs, Alex Dowsett (former Hour Record holder and Giro d’Italia stage winner) and a team from China. Outside the elite field, the race attracted riders from across the country, with Youth entrants from across East Anglia, Yorkshire, London and Wales.

Lucas Beghein (Cambridge University CC) was the first victor of the day, taking the win in the Open Category 4 race, followed by Charlie Payne (Lee Valley Youth CC) and Josh Arksey (Newmarket Cycling & Triathlon Club). Stella Smith (Brother UK/On Form) was the clear winner in the Category 4 Women’s race, with the podium completed by Rebecca Clarke and Megan Free (West Suffolk Wheelers, the host club).

The second race of the day was for riders Under 12 years, with separate categories for those Under 10 and Under 8. Elizabeth Whall (Colchester Rovers CC) was first Under 12 Girl, with Oliver Stewart (Welwyn Wheelers) winning the Open Under 12 category. Isla Furniss (Newport Shropshire CC) won the Under 10 Girls race, with Jack Biggs (Ilkeston Cycle Club) the leading Under 10 boy. Aethan Hallam (Cambridge Junior Cycling Club) was the first Under 8 rider.

The Elite and higher category Women were next up. DAS-Hutchinson-Brother UK and Brother UK – On Form both sent strong teams, with the former coming to dominate as the race went on. Their leading three riders contested a sprint for the win, with Charlotte Hodgkins-Byrne taking the win followed by Frankie Hall and Lucy Lee.

The next race was another mixed age-group, this time for older Youth riders (Under 14 and Under 16). Harrison Evans (Team Pau) took the win in the Open Under 16 category followed by local Colchester-based rider George Collins (Schils – Doltcini Racing Team) with WSW riders Sam Brook and Oliver Ferris finishing in 7th and 10th places. Peggy Knox (ViCiOUS Velo was first Under 16 female (despite taking a tumble on the fast corner exiting Commister Lane) followed by Isla Widdowson (Colchester Rovers CC). Harvey Woodroffe (Ely & District CC) won from a small bunch a few seconds behind the leading U16 riders to win the U14 Open category, followed by Laurence Denny (Maindy Flyers CC – Geraint Thomas’s childhood club) and Edward Graves (4T+ Cyclopark). Emsee Bone (Welwyn Wheelers CC) was victorious in the Under 14 Girls category, followed by Lois Rogerson (Lee Valley Youth CC).

Local rider Lee Sturman (West Suffolk Wheelers) animated the next race, for Masters riders over 50, joined by clubmate Peter Golding in his first criterium. Lee eventually finished in 5th place, with the win going to Elite rider John McClelland (WardPerformanceUK.com) who waited patiently in the bunch before pouncing for the win towards the end, joined on the podium by Andrew Lowe (Club Corley Cycles CC) and Carl Jackson (Rose Race Team). 

The final race saw one of the strongest fields at Ixworth in several years, with a group of 4 UCI riders from China, riders from top UK teams Richardsons Trek DAS and TEKKERZ CC, along with local rider Callum Laborde (Wheelbase CabTech Castelli) and former World Tour rider Alex Dowsett (Nopinz Race Team). There were a flurry of attacks through the race, with moves from Laborde and Dowsett having the potential to stay away. Late in the race Dowsett and Wang Kuicheng had a narrow lead but the race came back together. Dowsett made a final late move on the penultimate lap, but when the field emerged from Commister Lane for the last time, Alec Briggs (TEKKERZ CC) was the winner by a few bike lengths, followed by Cai Davies (Richardsons Trek DAS) and Frank Longstaff (Schils – Doltcini Racing Team). Callum Laborde managed to stay upright for 6th place despite unclipping a foot to correct a slide and surfing the crash barriers on the outside of the last corner.

West Suffolk Wheelers would like to thank Ixworth Parish Council, the Village Hall and the residents of the village for allowing us to run these traditional round-the-houses criterium races. We would also like to thank our sponsors who include The Grayhound public house, Ron Back, Sealeys, Nathan Glover, Glasswells, Vink UK, ProFlat Roofing, Peter Nichols for the use of his truck, and Maglia Rosso for use of their commentary unit. We would also like to thank our British Cycling Commissaires Peter Whelan and Geoff Bouttell, and Ken Jolliffe for race timing.

Next year’s event is provisionally scheduled for Monday 5th May 2025.