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Cycling legend Neil Pears honoured at Colchester

PUBLISHED: 14:26 26 October 2018 | UPDATED: 14:26 26 October 2018

League representative Steve Grimwood makes the presentation to Neil Pears (right). Picture: FERGUS MUIR

League representative Steve Grimwood makes the presentation to Neil Pears (right). Picture: FERGUS MUIR

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Competitors, marshals and spectators gathered at the Colchester Rovers cyclo-cross for a presentation to founding Eastern Cyclo-Cross League official Neil Pears, writes Fergus Muir.

Neil Pears (brown jacket) with Eastern League friends at Mistley. Picture: FERGIS MUIRNeil Pears (brown jacket) with Eastern League friends at Mistley. Picture: FERGIS MUIR

Neil, now 82, called the 1973 meeting leading to the foundation of the League and subsequently gave 45 years of service in almost every official position – sometimes doing several jobs at the same time.

In between the Veterans’ races he was presented with a book –about cyclo-cross – by League representative Steve Grimwood

Neil was a good ‘cross rider himself – part of the Colchester Rovers team that a Norfolk press report ruefully says “Left local riders gasping” in the 1970 Godric event on Broome Heath and winner of the 1973 Diss CC ‘cross and a leading local rider for many years after that.

Most of all Neil was associated as a rider with the classic Three Peaks event in Yorkshire - four or five hours of cycling and running in - which he eventually completed no less than 25 times.

The Senior start at Colchester with winner James Madgwick –  white handlebars. Picture: FERGUS MUIRThe Senior start at Colchester with winner James Madgwick – white handlebars. Picture: FERGUS MUIR

Colchester Rovers had a race winner on Sunday at Mistley – Daniel Hall scoring his first open win in the hotly contested race for Under 16s. Consistently lapping - his times varied by no more than nine seconds - on a challenging course that offered plenty of opportunities for falls, Hall won from Charlie Johnson of Stowmarket & District CC.

Callum Laborde (Iceni) lead first time over the log, where Johnson was nearly overtaken by his back wheel, but Hall was soon established in the lead and had 15 seconds in hand at the end.

The women’s race saw frequent change of leader with Harley Pell (LIV AWOL) rocketing into the lead from the start, but puncturing just after passing the pits and so having to run almost a full lap. Gemma Melton and Lauren Higham took up the chase, but slips and punctures broke their progress and eventually a sure-wheeled Alison Hogg (Push Sport) opened a 30 second gap.

Hogg (Push Sport) described her race on the relentless ups and downs of Furze Hill as “very painful – but fun” and praised the “well laid-out” course, which was very dry and mostly under trees – which meant that deep leaf-mould could have riders slithering off in quite innocent looking places.

Harley Pell –  having punctured while leading the women’s race, Pell took on the senior men in the last race of the day at Colchester. Picture: FERGUS MUIRHarley Pell – having punctured while leading the women’s race, Pell took on the senior men in the last race of the day at Colchester. Picture: FERGUS MUIR

Jo Newstead (XRT.Elmy Cycles) was top lady veteran and fourth overall while there was a season’s best result for Jayne De Boltz (Ipswich BC, 12th).

In the Veterans 50-Plus race Jimmy Piper (Renvale RT) led from the start – winning from teammate Richard Muchmore, followed by Clive Harrison (Ford CC) and Dave Copland (Ipswich BC).

James Madgwick (Bloodwise) set the pace in the hour-long race for Senior and Junior (16/17 year-old) riders, running out the winner by just over a minute from Jules Birks (VC Londres).

However a super-fast second lap by Ipswich Junior Jack Parrish set the race alight. Parrish showed technical mastery on this most demanding of courses and finished first Junior and fourth overall.

Alison Hogg (Push Sport) vaults the log on the way to the Women’s win. Picture: FERGUS MUIRAlison Hogg (Push Sport) vaults the log on the way to the Women’s win. Picture: FERGUS MUIR

The middle laps saw Birks, Parrish and Kieran Jarvis in close contention until Birks and Jarvis gained a small advantage.

Graham Collins (Manningtree BC) entertained the spectators by riding a balloon-tyred Fat Bike, whipping it round the spectacular twisting descent to great effect

He said: “Really good fun and a surprisingly capable bike. Rolling resistance is a bit of a killer, so the uphill is hard but downhills are great and so are the twisty corners, jumps and drops.”

Matt Webber (Forest Side Riders) was clear winner in the Vets 40-49, from clubmate Ben Lewis. Shaun Aldous (Renvale RT) was third, not quite recapturing his former dominance on this course. Glenn Davey (fifth) was top Stowmarket finisher while Mark Powell (also Stow & District) put in his best result of the season in eighth spot.

Daniel Collins (Colchester Rovers) on his way to the Youth win at Colchester. Picture: FERGUS MUIRDaniel Collins (Colchester Rovers) on his way to the Youth win at Colchester. Picture: FERGUS MUIR

There were local winners in both the young boy’s races with Oskar Everett taking the Under 12s and George Collins the Under 10s

Detailed results can be seen at www.easterncross.org.uk

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