Last weekend saw the start of the winter's cyclocross race season with the first round of the Eastern Cyclocross League held in Chelmsford. The start of the cyclocross season is usually a sign that the time trial season is drawing to a close, but Ely time trial riders took advantage of fast conditions to smash a series of personal and club records in a busy weekend of racing.
The weekend's racing action kicked off with the start of a hectic weekend of racing for junior rider Harvey Woodroffe, who took part in no less then three events in two days. On Saturday morning Woodroffe was racing in the U12 category in the Colchester Centurion II summer road race series. He attacked from the start with another rider and the two managed to hold off the chasing pack all the way to the line, with Woodroffe taking his first major road race victory in the sprint for the line. His win in this event gave him second place overall in the race series.
Woodroffe then travelled to Ashwell on Saturday afternoon for the Ashwell Autumn grass track meeting. The race took the form of an Omnium event with four different race formats. Woodroffe won three of the four races - the scratch race, the 'win and out' elmination race and the Devil elminiation race - but was hindered in the one lap time trial event by a puncture. Nonetheless, Woodroffe still won the event overall. Harvey's father Joshua Woodroffe took part in the National Endurance grass track league race in the same event, racing over 8km, and finished in 9th place. He also came 12th in the Men's Omnium event.
Harvey's fellow junior rider Tom Lewis was racing in the RTTC National Youth 10 mile championship on Saturday morning on the O1/1 course near Doncaster. He finished the 10 mile course in a time of 22:52, putting him 22nd overall and meaning he was the 10th fastest 15 year old, despite not having trained specifically for this type of event.
Senior Ely riders were also competing on Saturday afternoon in the ECCA 10 mile time trial event on the E2/10 course near Newmarket. Making the most of favourable conditions, all four Ely riders set personal bests over 10 miles while Darran Bennett's time of 19:16 (which put him sixth overall) was a new club record over the distance, beating Mathew Eley's record of 19:28 set in 2016. Simon Butteriss was 15th overall with a time of 19:53, just ahead of Paul Schofield's time of 19:58 which put him 16th overall. Their combined time of 59:07 won Ely the team prize once again, and also set a new club record beating the previous record of 59:40 set in 2017. Colin Currie finished in 20:23 and in doing so won the Handicap Medal at the event.
Sunday saw the opening round of the Eastern League Cyclocross race series take place at Chelmsford in the Springfield Cross race organised by Chelmer CC. Harvey Woodroffe, competing in his third event of the weekend, was joined by Kieran Vanhoutte and Lucas Bowman in the Youth event, with Woodroffe and Bowman having stepped up an age category this year meaning they were racing on the full course for 30 minutes for the first time. Woodroffe and Vanhoutte had a close battle during the early stages of the race but this was brought to a premature end when Vanhoutte crashed dismounting for a set of steps on the second lap. Woodroffe came fourth in the U14 category with Bowman in 11th, Bowman having made a big effort to pick up an extra place on the last lap, while Vanhoutte battled on with a bloodied knee to finish in 8th place in the U16 race.
Joshua Woodroffe was racing in the Senior and Junior event, and finished in 34th place in the Senior category. In the V40 event Rory Havis was competing in his first ever cyclocross race and took advantage of a fast start from the back of the grid to finish in 25th place, one place ahead of Ferenc Vanhoutte with Simon Butteriss not finishing the race. Neil Bowman started the 2022/3 season where he left off last year with an excellent 8th place in the V50 race.
Finally, three Ely riders were racing in the VTTA 25 mile National Championship race on Sunday, hosted by Cambridge CC on the F2/25 near Cambourne. John Manlow was the fastest Ely rider on the day with a time of 55:23, putting him in 59th place, with Will Shepherd setting a time of 56:49 to give him equal 71st place while Derek Ricketts finished to finish due to illness.
Ely & District Cycling Club - B&T Motor Repairs Press Release 16th September 2022
Lucas Bowman racing in the Springfield Cross race
Tom Lewis at the start of the National Youth championship race
Kieran Vanhoutte tackles the steps at the Springfield Cross race
Harvey Woodroffe on top of the podium at the Colchester Centurion II race