Almost 300 riders came to West Stow Country Park for the West Suffolk November Cross on Saturday 5th November (Round 6 of the Eastern Cyclocross League). This being WSW’s Centenary year, the club is hosting a league fixture on our normal weekend in November and then again in February.
Thanks to the work of a dedicated course-building crew over recent weeks, there were significant changes to last year’s course, including an expanded U10 and U12 course that spanned both the arena (with the tyre chicane and hurdles) and the flowing curves cut out of the grass and reeds around the pit area. The Youth and Senior riders had a new start grid, heading straight up hill off the line, and also a lengthened sand pit to contend with.
The Under 10 race was the first of the day, with a mix of Under 10 and Under 8 riders. Marley Aldwinckle was the first boy home, with Alana Barden-Beatty first girl. James Ollenbuttel and Samuel Ollenbuttel rode for WSW, and were interviewed by ITV Anglia at the race (along with their Mum) for their efforts to ride their bikes as far as possible this year to raise money for the East Anglian Air Ambulance.
In the Under 12 race, Harriet Butcher of Lee Valley Youth Cycling Club was both the leading girl and the overall winnner, followed by Frank Spauls of Iceni Velo and Barnaby Smith of GKR Racing. The girls’ podium was completed by Elizabeth Whall of Colchester Rovers CC and Beatrix Cooke from Chelmer CC.
There was a strong field for the Youth race, which was led from the start by Oscar Amey (GKR Racing) and Leon Atkins (Welwyn Wheelers) – they went on to finish first and second. League regulars Oliver Beale (Welwyn Wheelers) and Thomas Lewis (Ely & District CC) were locked together for most of the race, with Oliver riding clear to take 3rd overall. Sam Brook of WSW was tracked by Oskar Everett (Orwell Velo) in the closing laps, and tried to break clear on the final run through the pits, but was pipped by Oskar as they cleared the hurdles for the last time, Sam finishing in 13th. David Lupsa of WSW, new to cyclocross this year, finished 37th. The girls started their race 38 seconds after the boys; Isabel Beale (Welwyn Wheelers) was first home, closing on the leading boys to finish 21st overall, with Ella Friedlander (CC Ashwell) and Abigail Norris (Welwyn Wheelers) completing the podium.
The Veterman 50+ Men’s race saw the biggest field of the day (84 riders), and the congestion on the opening lap saw Karl Hale (WSW) crash and end up close to the tail end of the field. At the front of the race, a group formed early on containing Keith Randle, Paul Caton, Dave McMullen, Andy Hurst, James Farren and Ian Newby. WSW were represented by Peter Golding (finishing 11th overall and 1st Vet60), Jason Fowler (14th), Karl Hale (63rd, recovering well from his earlier crash), Nick Rush (69th) and Will Tate (77th). The leading group stayed close throughout the race, the first 6 riders separated by under a minute – Keith Randle (Amisvelo) taking the win followed by Paul Caton (Verulam – reallymoving.com) and Dave McMullen (Cotswold Veldrijden).
This year’s Eastern League Vet40 division looks to be a competition between Ross Tricker and Stuart Pryce – Stuart was at West Stow earlier in the day to watch his son racing in U10 but wasn’t contesting the Vet40 race. In the end Ross (Vicious Velo) rode well clear, winning over a minute ahead of Tim Guy (Norwich Racing Team) and Paul Groombridge (Epic Orange Race Team). Local stalwart Glenn Davey (Stowmarket & District CC) finished 4th. Simon Christie and Stephen Brook of WSW were closely matched in early laps before an on-form Christie pulled clear to make up several places and finish 24th, with Stephen finishing 31st.
The Women’s race also saw close racing in the opening laps, with Elvita Branch (XRT – Elmy Cycles), Alison Hogg, Becky Robertson (Epic Orange Race Team) and Lillie Swan (Veloccino Squadra Donne) in a tight group. WSW were represented Laura Prime who rode a steady race (except for a mishap in the sand pit), by Megan Free who made a strong start but suffered a crash and a forced bike change, and Nicki Davis. By the end of the race, Elvita and Alison had moved clear, with Elvita taking the win by 18 seconds from Alison. Becky Robertson led the next group, finishing 3rd (and first Vet40). Laura Prime finished 9th, Megan Free 11th and Nicki Davis 14th.
The final race of the day (Junior and Senior Men) saw Kieran Jarvis (Brother UK Orientation Marketing) and Cameron Hurst (Velo Chils – Interbike RT) go well clear from the off, and they remained locked together until the fifth lap. Cameron suffered a problem that saw him lose over 20 seconds to Kieran by the following lap, then at the end he was passed by Seb Herrod (ROTOR Race Team) and Yani Angelo Djelil (CT Luc Wallays – jone renners Roeselare). Harley Gregory of WSW battled Dominic Switzer (Welland Valley CC) in the closing laps, ultimately finishing 11th. Anthony Ashford of WSW (an occasional CX rider from last season) finished 34th, with Malcolm Macfarlane using his triathlon endurance to ride steadily to 43rd. Kieran Jarvis eventually finished 27 seconds clear of Seb Herrod, with Yani Angelo Djelil finishing 3rd (and 1st Junior).
Overall results from the day can be found at the Eastern Cyclocross League website. The next league fixture will be hosted by Diss CC on Saturday 12th November at a new venue – the Norfolk Tank Museum at Forncett St Peter,