Bruce Williams marshalled at this event on Sunday morning where the NNW had two members riding. The following is his report.
Sunday morning was sunny but chilly as 80 odd riders descended on race hq at Snetterton to do battle in the VC Norwich open 25 mile time trial, on an A11 course re-configured (ref B25/8) to start at Snetterton, turning at the northern end at Browick Lane / Mulbarton finishing on the A11 short of the starting point. Wind conditions were fine early on but increased over the morning, being favourable on the outward leg and tough on the return.
This course had recently been measured by the Eastern District (EDCA) and will be used for the National ‘25’ to be promoted by the EDCA on August 7th, so this open event was something of a dry run for the course and the hq.
Strong contenders for the day included Joe Skipper of Rock Estate – a top and internationally known tri-athlete, the experienced Thetford based former RAF CC man, Dave Green and Daniel Northover of the sponsored (and new this season) nationally recognised, Team Bottrill. The NNW was well represented by John Morgan (looking for a fast time if the conditions permitted) Nigel Walsh (probably thinking the same thing) and club champion, Charlie nurse, looking to compete in equal or close terms with the event favourites and few other local EDCA club rivals.
Leading women included Jennifer Smart of the promoting club, who won the event with a fine ride on the day of one hour, one minute and 15 seconds with Verity Smith of the Stowmarket club just 49 seconds behind. Ride of the day, however, for both men and women belonged (in my opinion) to Emma Taylor (formerly Beard) with a 1hr 5mins 34secs, an astonishing pb by over three and a half minutes. Riding in most of the open time trials in Norfolk and Suffolk, Emma and her father Peter Beard, both of the Stowmarket, form the best father – daughter double act in cycling time trials that I can remember in years, perhaps since Charlie and Denise, which was over-shadowed by Charlie and wife Beryl; also Charlie never actually raced being coach, mechanic and pa to his talented wife and daughter. The competition between the two of them became intense in more ways than one. Emma Taylor has an easy going rivalry with her father and got married near the end of the last time trial season (and not to a cyclist apparently) so clearly married life is working out well for her cycling.
Off at number 35, Charlie was going well at the turn (where I was marshalling) and eager to maintain his strong early season form. It turned out that neither Joe Skipper nor Daniel Northover turned up to trouble the time-keeper so the favourite then became Dave Green at no.75 who I assessed to be half a minute up on Charlie at the turn. Being an earlier starter, Charlie took the early lead in the event on his return to hq and maintained this position as his usual EDCA club rivals – the likes of Paul Jay and Scott Davidson of Team Velovelocity, James Trenchard of Godric CC, Paul Groombridge of Iceni velo and Jason Turner of Norwich ABC – came in and failed to dislodge him.
A special mention should be made of club treasurer, John Morgan, an early starter at 19 and a rider who does not do many open time trials, who just missed getting under the classic hour mark by a handful of seconds. Another day and he will definitely do it. Nigel Walsh was forced not to start as a sinus infection required anti-biotics and general care. He is off to Italy for a break soon so no doubt he will be fit and strong again soon.
Charlie stormed home recording a pb of 52.48, an average speed of over 28 mph, with the aforementioned rivals getting times of 53 or 54 minutes. Just as we were getting excited, Dave Green, a very fast vet into his 50’s, spoiled the fun coming in with a time of 51.27. A tremendous performance on the day even for him. Unfortunately two more riders, Oliver Milk of Tri-Anglia and Ryan Morley of the RAF CC, sneaked by Charlie’s time each by just a few seconds leaving him in 4th place. He should not be dismayed or disappointed to miss out on the top 3 and the prize money after recording a very good time but, for an ambitious guy like Charlie, the focus has to be what he can do with his training and preparation (and that does not mean more training) to get another minute off this time, an improvement that would make him a serious contender against the best rivals in East Anglia in EDCA open events. Easier to say than do, of course. Rather him than me.