Yarmouth cyclists get into gear at Lotus road races

A busy spell for Great Yarmouth Cycling Club started at the first round of the prestigious Lotus Road Racing League at Hethel.

Top 10 placings from around 200 riders across four races were made by Ben Turner, Dan Swindells, Clive Bond, Harley Mathews and Lee Cheung. The series runs for another nine Wednesdays until July.

A miserable, wet and cold Thursday evening saw the first round of the club Time Trial (TT) League around the 10-mile circuit at Somerleyton. It is the only TT league in the region and welcomes novice and experienced riders. Despite lowering his pb around Somerleyton by 50 seconds Harley Matthews was squeezed into second by Lee Cheung who recorded 26:25. Mark Drake was close behind in 26:48.

Other GYCC rider times: Neil and Ben Turner (Tandem) 25:26, Adam Houlgate 27:02, Clive Bond 27:38, Josh Carr 30:04, James Ireland 30:36 and Adele Postle 34:31.

On a brighter and more cheerful Saturday Time Trialling veterans Neil Turner and Chris Roberts made the trip to Newmarket to race the Eastern Counties Cycling Association Festival 10 mile TT. Despite a stiff headwind on the return leg, Neil managed 6th place overall with a time of 21:42 (27.6 mph) and Chris did a brilliant 23:22, only a few seconds from his all-time best.

At Redbridge Cycling Centre, Essex, Ben Turner and Zak Coleman rode in the Summer Circuit Racing League and posted top 20 finishes in the competitive Under 14 age group. This purpose-built road racing circuit has a steep and testing climb every lap and the boys enjoyed the workout and high level of competition.

The Ixworth town centre road races on Bank Holiday Monday are a reminder of how exciting and accessible cycle racing was in the UK through the 1980’s and 1990’s –and how it is still run in mainland Europe today. In Mildenhall-based West Suffolk Wheelers event GYCC U10’s and U12’s saw young Tristan Swindells ride to the end and Rowan Baker finish a strong 11th from an impressive U10 field. Seth Houlgate maintained his great record in these events and also finished 11th which is an amazing result as he has only just moved up to the U12’s age group.

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In the U14’s event GYCC had a bigger collection of riders. As the race started the rain fell and the tight and twisty circuit became an even bigger test of skill, fitness and nerve as the rain greased the bends.

The young ridersseemed unfazed.

Now riding for national racing team Inverse Racing, Zak Coleman hung on to the lead group despite a heavy cold.

Staying with Zak was Patrick Manning who worked strongly in the group and his lack of circuit racing experience did not seem to slow him down – although maybe his racing colleagues allowed him to do too much of the work and he blew with a couple of laps remaining and finished just behind this group.

It was a brilliant ride from Patrick and he is learning every race. Behind this bunch saw Matthew Baker and Ben Turner battling, working hard and displaying grit and determination.

They dropped several riders from the group with Matthew just beating Ben to the line. Next up were Dan Swindells and Harrison Charlwood who took a real hammering in the early stages. Dan dropped back to try and help team-mate Harrison but it was in vain. Harrison bravely carried on and fought to the finish and Dan finished between groups.

Despite the rain, a mix-up with the formal results and the greasy conditions the team enjoyed their day’s racing.

n www.greatyarmouthcyclingclub.co.uk