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Cyclo-Cross and racing round-up

Darren Haynes by Nicola Hale

Round 1 of the East Kent Cyclo Cross League took place on the sunny afternoon of Sunday 12th September. Promoted by VC Deal, the annual Tim Mountford Memorial races took place in the grounds of Sandwich Technology College.  As such the course was mainly a grass surface, but did require the racers to ride through the school’s sandpit.  Sadly Darren Haynes came a cropper on this obstacle on his warm-up lap.  He wasn’t badly hurt, but sand had got into his machinery greatly restricting the choice of gears he had on offer in the race for men over-50 that immediately followed.  Despite that limitation Darren recorded half-a-dozen consistent laps in the 45-minute contest to meet the chequered flag in 14th position out of the 41 racers.

A high quality field of 104 time-trialists assembled near Liphook for a Paceline event on the afternoon of Saturday 18th September.  Nick Dwyer produced one his fastest times of the season, covering the 10-mile A3 course in 19 minutes and 57 seconds, but that was only good enough for 17th place as 19 riders beat 20 minutes.  Sally Turner (trainSharp) recorded an excellent 21:10 to take 3rd place among the 14 female entrants.

Back in Sussex over a shorter, but considerably harder course a trio of Wanderers took part in Southborough & District Wheelers hill climb up the fearsome Kidds Hill on the Ashdown Forest.  Joe Benians covered this unrelentingly steep ribbon of tarmac, known locally as “The Wall”, in 4 minutes and 43 seconds to finish 5th out of 17.  Tom Moss was 9th in 5:04 and Roger Hutchings 11th in 6:12.

Back to the relative flat of the A22 the following morning and Gavin Richards broke the hour mark for 25-miles for the first time.  In stopping the watch at 59:43 he claimed a fine 10th from 34 finishers in the Veteran Time Trials Association (Surrey/Sussex) event.

Following the cancellation of the proposed open round a fortnight earlier, Round 1 of the Challenge Tyres London and South East Cyclo-Cross Championship finally took place on Sunday 19th September.  The event, promoted by Crawley Wheelers, was held in the grassy environs of Ardingly Showground.

In his first race as a man over 50 Darren Haynes achieved one of his best results yet.  22nd on the opening circuit he rose to 19th on the second tour, fell back to 21st on the seventh of eight laps, but recovered to 20th from 48 at the chequered flag, with 5 non-finishers.  In the same race, but competing as one of eight men over 60, Stephen Burgess recorded seven consistent laps to finish 2nd of 7 finishers, one of only three on the same lap as the victor.

In the following women’s race Mugs Gohl (Nice Brew) came out on top in a close-fought battle for runners-up spot that lasted pretty much for all half-dozen laps that the race lasted.  Her efforts were also rewarded with 8th from 25 women overall.

Dan Street started 25th from 49 on the grid for the 8-lap race for men in their 40s.  17th by the end of the first circuit, he dropped back to 21st the next time round, but rose to a fine 15th by the finish.  Sadly Joe Benians efforts in the final race of the day for men under 40 were curtailed almost before they began by a broken brake.

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