Raleigh GAC’s Graham Briggs (pictured) led almost from start to finish to take victory at Boston Wheelers’ cyclo-cross race at Ostler’s Plantation in Lincolnshire, an event which attracted a Lincolnshire record of 128 entries in the main race.
The course usually proves to be one of the most popular and fun courses in Lincolnshire set in woods near the picturesque village of Woodhall Spa. It is a fast, flowing course with some very intricate technical sections and single track making for intense and entertaining racing.
The record field entered the main course after a start loop led by Briggs, David Fletcher (Orange Monkey–Canondale), Gareth Whittall (Clay Cross RT), Mark Cotton (Ellmore Factory Racing), George Thompson (Sleaford Wheelers) and Rick Lister (Ellmore Factory Racing).
Briggs, a regular starter and twice winner on this course, wanted to be out in front on a fast and technical course and was followed closely by Fletcher and Cotton around the first three quarters of a lap.
Disaster hit Fletcher as an unfortunate rear mech problem left him running for the pits to get his bike and he dropped well down the field, losing minutes. Cotton and Thompson took up second and third chasing Briggs around 10 seconds back. Fletcher now faced a fight to get back - made even more difficult having to pass the back markers on a tight circuit.
Briggs was riding hard at the front not wanting to surrender any time. Thompson put in a fast lap and dragged himself and Cotton within five seconds of Briggs at one point, but Briggs was the more consistent rider around the corners and edged his lead back out to around 30 seconds powering down the straights.
Lister then joined Cotton and Thompson in the chasing group, working well to get back on after a steady start with four laps remaining.
Cotton and Lister were gapping Thompson around the corners, but each time he chased back on. With three laps to go Cotton hit the front of the group and upped the pace, creating a small gap on his team mate Lister who had Thompson tucked in behind. Cotton was looking to secure second place when he was gifted a sniff of the lead as Briggs punctured forcing him to pit and change wheel.
Briggs tactic of racing from the front proved vital as he had a sufficient cushion to come out with 10 seconds in hand on Cotton, who now had the Raleigh man in his sights. But Cotton could not get any closer to Briggs, who extended the lead back out to 15 seconds by the bell - and he took more time flying around the final lap taking a well-earned win over Cotton by around 30 seconds.
That was Briggs’ third victory on the Ostler’s course, each time beating Cotton into second place.
Veteran Lister got the better of Thompson over the final lap, creating a gap in the more technical sections to take third place. Gareth Whittall came home in fifth place while David Fletcher put in a hard shift to claw himself back up to eighth, a very credible result from such an unfortunate start.
Jordan Gell (VC Lincoln) was the first junior while Phil Roach (Jewson/MI Racing) was the first over 50 and Diane Lee (Zepnat RT) was the first woman.
In the Youth race, a battle developed between Henry Thompson (Sleaford Wheelers) and Jake Poole (Cycleshack/Forme). Thompson created a gap at around half distance which he took out to around 30 seconds. The battle for third came down to a closely fought sprint with Elliot Dudley of Sherwood Pines just out sprinting James Armstrong of VC Lincoln, who was the leading Under 14.
The under 12 race was again won by Jake Norton of Spalding CC, maintaining his 100 per cent record. He took victory by 18 seconds over Kerrigan Robb (Witham Wheelers) and Cameron Neilson (Spalding CC) was a further 10 seconds down in third. Abigail Armstrong (VC Lincoln) was the first Under 12 girl.
1 Graham Briggs (Raleigh-GAC) 7 laps in 59:36
2 Mark Cotton (Ellmore Factory Racing) @ 34sec
3 Rick Lister (Ellmore Factory Racing) @ 50sec
4 George Thompson (Sleaford Wheelers) @ 1:05
5 Gareth Whittall (Clay Cross RT) @ 2:38
6 Adam Gasgoigne (Pedal Power) @ 2:51
7 Philip Roach (Jewson/MI Racing) @ 2:55
8 David Fletcher (Orange Monkey–Canondale) @ 3:01
9 Jon Wells (VC Lincoln) @ 3:46
10 Mark Preston (VC Lincoln) @ 4:45
Vet: Rick Lister (Ellmore Factory Racing)
Vet 50+: Philip Roach (Jewson/ Team MI)
Junior: Jordan Gell (VC Lincoln)
Woman: Diane Lee (Zepnat RT)
1st Henry Thompson (Sleaford Wheelers) 4 laps in 29:21
2nd Jake Poole (Cycleshack/Forme) @ 33sec
3rd Elliot Dudley (Sherwood Pines) @ 2:07
4th James Armstrong (VC Lincoln) @ same time
5th Owyn Wallace (Sherwood Pines) @ 2:29
1st Jake Norton (Spalding CC) 5 laps in 12:41
2nd Kerrigan Robb (Witham Wheelers) @ 18sec
3rd Cameron Neilson (Spalding CC) @ 28sec
4th Bradley Sprogis (VC Lincoln) @ 36sec
5th Tom Wright (Spalding CC) @1:33
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