Womack rolls back the years; Gentry and Richards rewarded at Crest RR

Chris Womack in the event (Photo by Brian Kite)

Chris Womack, Velo Club Baracchi’s top veteran, started his spring campaign with a course-best ride in the CC Breckland 10-mile time trial on Saturday.

Womack, 70, was the oldest rider in the open event from Hingham to Carbrooke and back.  When his time of 25:02 was compared with his age standard he was the seventh-best veteran out of fifty-one veteran finishers.

Paul Hayward of VCB also rode and achieved a good ride in 23:50 for 24th place overall.  Sixty-eight riders finished.

Womack said, “Thankfully the weather dried up in the afternoon even the sun came. There was a head to side wind going out but OK which helped on the way back. It was my best ride on this course since first riding it in 2013.”

The winner on scratch was Lloyd Chapman Banks of Catford CC Equipe in 20:18, a course record by 12 seconds, with Daniel Bloy of Team VeloVelocity second in 20:45 and Charlie Nurse of North Norfolk Wheelers third in 21:22. Jennifer Smart of VC Norwich was the fastest lady in 26:10

Three of VCB’s road racers took part in the Crest CC road race, one of the most prestigious second cat races of the year, the Eastern Road Race league season’s opener.  They came away with two top ten places.

Gentry and Richards, grimy from the race

Liam Gentry and Mark Richards took 8th and 9th places and fellow VCB rider Nick Esser was unplaced in the event at Great Chesterford near Saffron Walden.

The race was described as having lived up to its classic reputation, with cold, wet and blustery conditions.  Eight ascents of Littlebury Hill tested the full field of 60 riders.

Three of the riders who took part in the early break survived to the end, with last year’s winner, Thomas Power of Strada Sport taking top honours again.  Morris Bacon of Strada was second and DAP CC’s Harley Matthews took third.

Punctures took their toll on some of the leaders but the chasers also suffered setbacks and by half distance only twenty-five remained.  Harsh conditions similar to the classics of Flanders, with buffeting winds and rain, prevented the chasers from eroding the break’s lead.

In the sprint for the remaining places, Andrew Holmes (VC Revolution) took 5th ahead of Joshua Aiken (Pedal Power Ipswich) and a breakaway puncture victim Mike Auger (API).

To quote one of the race’s knowledgeable spectators, “The severity of the day meant all riders who made it the full distance placed in the points and gained some valid kudos and experience for the season ahead.”

John Thompson rode the “Horsepower 200” audax from Gt Dunmow on Saturday in 12 hours 23 minutes, which he was happy with as it was a tough ride, taking in some of the best hills in Essex and west Suffolk.

The Sunday club run set off in sunshine and made it to Halesworth before rain and heavy winds set in, but the riders managed to clock up about 40 miles and return very wet.

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