Members of the Ely & District Cycling Club - B&T Motor Repairs of all ages were racing in cyclocross events this weekend, the youngest being only four years of age and the oldest being rather significantly more advanced in years.
On Saturday the seventh round of the Eastern Cyclocross League was held at a new venue at the Norfolk Tank Museum just south of Norwich. The event, hosted by Diss CC and known as the Suffolk Supercross race, made the most of the challenging terrain present at the Tank Museum and the wet conditions meant that the course presented a technically demanding challenge to all riders.
John McAndrew, riding in the V50 race, was an early victim of the difficult conditions at the beginning of his race. The closely-bunched riders were all fighting to stay on the left hand side of the course, to avoid a large and deep puddle on the right hand side. Unfortunately, a clash of elbows meant that McAndrew ended up falling into the puddle, leaving him near the back of the field once he had extracted himself from the mud and water and straightened his handlebars. Nonetheless, McAndrew fought back to finish in 48th place out of a field of 80 riders. In the same race, Neil Bowman had his second-best result of the season, finishing in 9th place in the V50 category. In the other veteran's race for the V40 riders Ference Vanhoutte finished in 40th place.
Isaac Barton put in an accomplished ride in the Junior race, managing to ride many of the technical features which other riders around him were struggling to climb on foot, and was rewarded by 8th position in the Junior category.
Ride of the day, however, was undoubtedly that of Tom Lewis, who rode to victory in the Youth race for the second time this season. An early crash between him and his close rival, Oliver Beale of Welwyn Wheelers, allowed another rider to take the lead, but before long it was Lewis and Beale who were once again fighting for top spot. The week before an error by Lewis had allowed Beale to grab the lead on the final lap, but this time Lewis rode strongly to the finish to take first place, albeit by a narrow margin of only two seconds.
Also riding in the U16 category of the Youth race, Kieran Vanhoutte rode well and deserved a better result than the 18th place he took on the day, but unfortunately his ride was hindered by technical problems with his saddle which required running repairs from his father Ferenc, acting as Kieran's pit crew. Nonetheless, it was an impressive performance which bodes well for the future and reflect's Vanhoutte's development as a rider and racer.
Riding in the U14 category of the Youth race, Lucas Bowman had an even more torrid time, with two falls in the treacherous mud in the tank testing area in addition to a dropped chain. Bowman showed great determination and resolve to finish the race in 13th place.
Tom Lewis was not the only Ely rider to taste victory at the weekend, however, as novice rider Luca Portaluri, riding in his first ever competitive cycling event, took first place in the U8 boys category at the Muddy Monsters race on Sunday, organised by the Velouse Flyers at the West Lynn Sport and Social Club near Kings Lynn. Freddie Henry was racing in the U10s race, and finished fourth, while Beau Havis and Cora Portaluri rode strongly in the boys and girls U8s races despite being, at 4 and 5 years old respectively, the youngest riders in their events.
Ely & District Cycling Club - B&T Motor Repairs Press Release 15th November 2022
Luca Portaluri and Beau Havis at the start of the U8 boys' race
Freddie Henry takes the final corner of the course
Freddie Henry hurdles the hurdles
Beau Havis, Freddie Henry and Luca Portaluri celebrating
Luca Portaluri at the finish line
Cora Portaluri cheered on at start/finish line
Kieran Vanhoutte riding the muddy conditions
Lucas Bowman avoiding another muddy puddle
John McAndrew leaping the hurdles
Tom Lewis on his way to victory
Tom Lewis taking evasive action