Kingsteignton rider John McKenzie was taken to hospital with a suspected broken collarbone after a spectacular crash only 40 yards from the finish-line at last night's Bovey Tracey Carnival Road Race.

McKenzie (Ashburton Mountain Bike Centre) collided with a rival before falling heavily as the bunch battled for third place in front of packed town-centre crowds, writes David Thomas.

His accident was the only blot on another hugely successful race, won by Weymouth Cycling Club's experienced Don Cowling.

Ex-triathlete Cowling broke clear on the fourth of five climbs of Bovey's daunting Hind Street hill, which was once again lined by spectators cheering the riders up the one-in-four gradient.

Cowling's lead was being cut back on the final ascent, but he had cleverly saved enough strength to stay clear and he held off Plymouth Corinthian's Mark Holland at the finish.

Close behind was the bunch, headed by Andy Carnell (St. Budeaux CC), with fourth-placed Ross Ounsley (Colin Lewis Cycles/Mid-Devon CC) leading in three teammates - Mark Holton, Simon Aske and Martin Burrows.

Earlier, lady riders Deanna Shepherd and Tracey Fey from Newton Abbot, had made the most of their three-minute start, and it took the field nearly half-an-hour's racing on the by-pass circuit before they were caught.

Despite several breakaway attempts, the main field had regrouped by the time the race switched for its five closing town-centre laps.

‘I think I'll go back to triathlons after that,'' quipped Cowling after his first taste of the high-speed course and that daunting Hind Street climb.