Riders defy rain to tackle climb

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There were some amazingly fast times as riders defied the atrocious conditions to take on Cycle Club Sudbury’s annual hill climb at Semer on Sunday.

No fewer than 10 of the 26 starters raced up Watson’s Hill in under a minute, with the winner and second-placed rider breaking the 50-second barrier.

Ipswich Bike Club’s Daniel Zagni took the honours, in a time of 48.9 seconds, exactly one second quicker than Stowmarket and District CC’s Paul Moss. Last year’s winner, Tom Stephenson (Colchester Rovers), was third in 50.5 seconds.

Stephenson set a course record of 43.4 in 2011, a time that was never likely to be challenged as Watson’s Hill, the annual hazard of mud and fallen leaves apart, was also awash with the heavy rain which continued throughout the event.

Eight of the original entry of 33 failed to make the start, but there was one late entry, Ipswich Bike Club’s Peter Ingram turning up on the day and helping his club retain the team trophy they won last year.

Darren Pratt was the fastest of the seven CC Sudbury riders, recording a time of 58.2, but the day proved bitterly disappointing to two of the host club’s entrants, James Rush and Charlie Pratt.

As Rush neared the finish, a group of riders, who had already completed the course, defied time trial etiquette by riding back down the hill. They passed the timekeepers as Rush reached the finish, with the result that no time was recorded for him.

Pratt punctured before the race and had to change his wheel. Then his foot slipped out of the pedal as he started, and he made it part way up the hill before having to pull out.

Clare Leaver (Zappi’s Cycling Club) was first lady in 1.02.8, while Seb Dickinson (Thanet RC) recorded 53.0 to take the first junior award.

CC Sudbury: Darren Pratt 58.2, Darren Rule 58.4, Jonathan Weatherley 1.03.6, Lee Ford 1.05.3, Kirsty White 1.29.1, James Rush no time recorded, Charlie Pratt dnf.

Ipswich Bike Club: Daniel Zagni 48.9, Graham Collins 53.3, Peter Ingram 55.8; Stowmarket and District CC: Paul Moss 49.9, Adam Keeble 1.14.7; Thanet RC: Seb Dickinson 53.0, Oliver Dickinson 1.05.2; Anglia Velo Velomax Performance: Jack Payne 56.1, Jim Burgess 1.04.3.

Boxford Bike Club: David Cole 1.02.4; Cambridge Cycle Club: Ralph Keeler 1.01.4; Colchester Rovers: Tom Stephenson 50.5; Cycle Club Ashwell: Christopher Pearce 1.04.4; GBCycles.co.uk: Sandra Mackay 1.07.6; Plomesgate CC: Adrian McTigue 56.8; VC Norwich: Sally Withey 1.26.4; Wisbech Wheelers: Stuart Emmett 1.15.4; Wolsey Road Club: Mike Remblance 1.03.7; Zappi’s Cycling Club: Clare Leaver 1.02.8.