Andrew Leveton of VC St Raphael is this year’s National 400m Grass-Track Champion. He emphatically won a thrilling final from Martin Smith (Chesterfield Couriers) and club-mate Rowan Elliott, held at the Mildenhall Cycling & Fun Day in West Row, Suffolk.
He was presented with his National Champions Jersey and Gold medal by Councillor Carol Lynch, chairman of Forest Heath District Council who have been very supportive of the organisers of the Fun Day, Mildenhall Cycling Club.
The 22-year old from Hertfordshire, still smarting from a bad fall whilst racing in Reading last month, said afterwards “I was delighted with that win as it now means I’ve won both the National 400m and 800m Titles for three consecutive years!”
Organiser of the grass-track racing and father of ex-Olympic and World Champion Victoria Pendleton, Max, added, “This event whilst held on a materially different surface from a velodrome requires just the same explosive effort to win it, but with a whole additional skill set requirement to deal with the lack of traction when cornering at some 30mph on a grass surface.”
The Mildenhall Cycling & Fun Day replaced the nationally acclaimed Mildenhall Cycling Rally and was being held for the first time at the Village Hall complex in West Row, with no other suitable venue available locally. “The Rally was known throughout the UK’s cycling community as one of the best all-round cycling weekends that appealed to cyclists of all ages and especially families. The one-day event was purely an interim measure allowing us to fully test the facilities at the new venue before we return to a three-day festival in 2017” said Mark Burchett the Chairman of Mildenhall Cycling Club.
“Now we’ve had that one-day I’m delighted to say that everything went very well with the new venue passing with flying colours. Not only that but all the feedback we have had already has been very supportive. Work will now begin in earnest to ensure that everything will be ready for a three-day event over the August Bank-Holiday weekend next year,” explained Mr Burchett.
“One of the most pleasing aspects was that as well local visitors, the number of regulars that we saw who had come to support us, despite living outside the Eastern region, with some coming as far as Yorkshire“, he added.
There were many taking up the suggestion of the organisers of staying at the local campsites, The Willows and The Nook in West Row to still make a weekend of it and attend the Fun Day on the Sunday. This really does underline the appeal of the event and shows how far they are willing to travel for it.
Despite the reduction to one day this year, the senior grass-track racing attracted well over thirty riders. Apart from the blue ribbon event, the National 400m Championship, other winners of note were in the Ladies Omnium where the honours went to Lauren Higham from Welwyn Wheelers (the same Club that Emma and Laura Trott OBE were members of as they were growing up) ahead of Matilda Gurney (EM Velocita) and Sherilyn Powell (Chelmer CC).
Included in the meeting was the final round of the National Endurance League Series, although unfortunately just before the start, rain had begun to fall. It was won with an exhibition of power and smoothness by Dave Mitchinson (CC Ashwell). Mitchinson lapped the majority of the field and fortunately missed a crash in the bunch on the final of the 20 laps, where five riders slid off on the penultimate bend.
In the morning, there was also over thirty under 16’s taking part in the Juveniles racing, including eight who were under the age of 8! There were some very promising rides from some very skilled riders, which bodes well for the future of the sport. The host Club were represented in the Boys Under 14 age group by Joslin Carter, who lives in Ely and finished sixth.
The awards for the youth riders were presented by ex-Tour De France rider (on no less than 6 occasions) in the 1960’s, Vin Denson.
In the one-lap race for children on freewheel bikes 7-year-old Lewis Brett from nearby Red Lodge was third. His prize and those to Isaac Smith & Joseph Cook, the winner and runner-up respectively, were also presented by Councillor Carol Lynch who was impressed by the terrific racing from everyone.
The organisers tried to retain as many of the familiar features of the Rally as they could and one of those was the Quiz Night, which was held Saturday evening. Local resident and long-time member of the Mildenhall Club Dave Sennitt was as ever the quizmaster presiding over the evenings fun, including Helen Gower representing Sainsbury’s in Mildenhall, who had sponsored the event.
Another of the Rally favourites were the Audax Touring Rides, which was well supported with over ninety riders taking part. They rode over varying distances of 57, 100, 160 or 200km, which were all organised by C.T.C. (Cyclists Touring Club) Suffolk.
During Sunday, there was a continual queue of children for the Bouncy Castle and Face Painter, until a rain shower at the end of the afternoon brought their fun to an abrupt halt!
There was also a lot of interest in the Watt Bike 250m Challenge. Suffolk Sport in conjunction with Abbeycroft Leisure had the Watt Bikes available for visitors young and old seeing how fast they could pedal 250m. The Watt Bike was developed in conjunction with British Cycling as a development aid for the elite Olympic-Programme riders.
Again despite it being only a one-day event, there were quite a few of the regular traders from the Rally’s Trade Show on site, who were kept busy throughout the day. Alongside these, there was also an all-day Cycle Jumble.
Having successfully passed the test of holding a one-day event, the picturesque West Row Village Hall complex and grounds will be the host for the event in 2017, which will be re-launched as the Mildenhall Cycling Festival. The Club plan to reveal more details of revamped festival in the New Year.
All of the results together with pictures can be found at www.mildenhallrally.org.uk
Mildenhall Cycling & Fun Day
|Mildenhall Cycling & Fun Day|
|Grass Track Racing Results|
|1st||Matilda Challinor||Colchester Rovers|
|2nd||Caris Gregory||West Suffolk Wheelers|
|3rd||Safiya Smith||Medway VC|
|1st||Jack Bowser||Spalding CC|
|2nd||Izaac Carr||Colchester Rovers|
|3rd||Finlay Bracewell||CC Ashwell|
|1st||Isabella Djuve Wood||Colchester Rovers|
|1st||Harley Gregory||West Suffolk Wheelers|
|2nd||Bradley Taylor||Colchester Rovers|
|3rd||Noah Scott-Wright||Clifton CC|
|1st||Jodie Taylor||Colchester Rovers|
|2nd||Emily Richards||Bourne Wheelers|
|3rd||Velvet Bowser||Spalding CC|
|1st||Alex Galpin||Bourne Wheelers|
|2nd||Dan Galpin||Bourne Wheelers|
|3rd||Archie Bracewell||CC Ashwell|
|1st||Sophie Lewis||CC Ashwell|
|2nd||Harley Pell||CC Ashwell|
|3rd||Ellie-May Pledger||Lee Valley CC|
|1st||Aaron Feeman||Chelmer CC|
|2nd||Thomas White||Colchester Rovers|
|3rd||Bryn Richards||Bourne Wheelers|
|1st||Lauren Higham||Welwyn Wheelers|
|2nd||Matilda Gurney||EM Velocita|
|3rd||Sherilyn Powell||Chelmer CC|
|4th||Alice Coddling||Pedal Revolution|
|5th||Emma Coddling||Pedal Revolution|
|Mens – National Championship 400m Sprint|
|1st||Andrew Leverton||VC St Raphael|
|2nd||Martin Smith||Chesterfield Couriers|
|3rd||Rowan Elliott||VC St Raphael|
|4th||Mitchell Powell||Team Terminator|
|1st||David Mitchinson||CC Ashwell|
|2nd||Laurence Lisher||Green Arrow CRT|
|3rd||Barron Mendeissohn||CC Ashwell|
|held over 2380m|