VCB’s Gentry and Richards in top six at Ely Hardriders

In an early start to their season Velo Club Baracchi riders Liam Gentry and Mark Richards took third and sixth places in the Ely & District CC 25-mile Hardriders time trial on Sunday.

Gentry enters the last mile

Gentry enters the last mile (photo: Fergus Muir)

The event was true to its “Hardriders” name with temperatures only a few degrees above freezing and a northerly wind across the Fens so strong that Gentry said, “I had never raced in a wind like it.”

Gentry’s time was 58:33 and Richards was also comfortably under the hour in 59:47. It was a day when only the strongest could achieve an average over 25mph like this.

The roaring north tailwind over the first few miles and some right-angled corners on agricultural roads to the north-west of Ely gave a few exciting moments.

Gentry said, “I just touched my back brake going into the first one and the back wheel went from side-to-side, which was a lucky warning.”

Further along the course Gentry was stuck in queue of about 10 cars waiting to join the A10 at Ely and it was then a very hard 10 miles into the wind up the A10.

Gentry described the infamous potholed road along the Hundred Foot Bank as so rough that he did not dare go on tri-bars.

Richards leaves the start

Richards leaves the start (photo: Fergus Muir)

Something in the order of 10 riders fell off, but all were said by organisers to be “walking wounded.”

The top ten were Mark Arnold (CC Desiragear) 56:21, Ben Benyon (Kassei CC Teknofuel) 58:49, Gentry 58:53, Graham Knight (Team Milton Keynes) 59:03, Andrew Leggett (Team VeloVelocity) 59:26, Richards 59:47. Ninety riders had entered and most rode.

Nearer home, the Velo Club Baracchi 100km reliability trial organised by John Thompson was also a great success and was equally challenging in the strong winds.

John Thompson at the reliability trial HQ

John Thompson at the reliability trial HQ

Twenty-one riders started and all but two completed the ride, counting as successful the five Gt. Yarmouth CC members who rode to the start at Life Cycles in Mobbs Way and returned home straight to Gt. Yarmouth from St Olaves, actually a slightly longer ride with more headwind.

John Haigh was there

John Haigh was there

Thompson said, “A few of us were over time but there was no shame in that in today’s wind! I was the sole rider in 4.5 hours and was about six minutes over.” Some riders suffered punctures.

... and so was Kate Churchill

… and so was Kate Churchill

Everyone else rode the 4-hour and the fastest group of them, comprising Paul Dennington, Mike Bretton and 16-years-old Lucas He had just six minutes in hand. Chris Wallis was not far behind, finishing with three minutes to spare. Others included George Kerridge, Nicki Hawkes and Chris Womack.

It was tail wind to Laxfield, but after that it was against the wind, the toughest stretch being along the A143 from Gillingham roundabout to St Olaves, after which there was some relief. Then the riders made a good job of demolishing the cakes on offer.

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