Festival blessed with summer sunshine

Tom White (SES Racing) beat his teammate and reigning Champion Andy Leverton in an entertaining and fiercely fought Men’s National 400m Grass-Track Championship final at the weekend’s Mildenhall Cycling Festival.


The rising second-cat rider has now added the National 400m title to the National 800m title that he in Norwich earlier this month.   


As had been expected White and Laurence Lisher (Cinnamon Café) proved to be the main protagonists to Leverton retaining his title, with the British Cycling Academy Sprint Coach fending off Lisher who had to settle for the bronze position.

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The in-form White, formerly of Colchester Rovers, is currently leading this year’s National Short Distance Grass Track League, just two-points ahead of 1st Cat rider Dave Mitchinson (Cinnamon Cafe-Contour Cycles). Whereas in the Endurance League he isn’t quite the same force, so it was no surprise that he had no answer to James Ambrose-Parish (TAAP Cervelo) in the latest round at Mildenhall, in the Men’s 5km on Saturday. The elite rider took control of the race very early on and although Mitchinson did subsequently manage to join him, no one else threatened them from the remaining bunch. Ambrose-Parish had clearly kept enough in reserve to out-sprint Mitchinson to claim maximum points.


With all grass-track meetings this year seeing a drop in the number of riders, it was pleasing to see nearly thirty senior riders competing over the two-days of racing. It proved to be a fitting tribute to grass-organiser Max Pendleton, who it was announced would be standing down from organising grass-track meetings.


Mildenhall Cycling Club President, Dave Sennitt, a renowned grass-track rider himself in his day who then went on to promote meetings for several years before handing over the baton to Max, praised him for his service to the sport. Pendleton had a very successful amateur racing career, especially on the grass enjoying the accolade of being a National 8km Grass-Track Champion.


The two-day Festival being held in and around West Row Village Hall, began on Saturday with a near-full field in the Fenland Flyer Gravel Time-Trial. The thunderstorms that hit the area on Thursday meant the torrential downpour had dampened down the sandy stretches of the course, making it much easier going.


Mark Powell from Stowmarket & District CC impressively repeated his victory of last year in this event and even managed to go 54 seconds faster over the same 18km course. Just 30 seconds behind him was the Diss based Kieran Jarvis (Brother UK-Orientation Marketing).



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