Dave Birch (Stourbridge CC) won the Racing Team East '50' with a personal

best 1:45:45 as the event was struck by thunderstorms and hailstones.

The first drops of rain fell as the last few riders were pulling away from

the start, but down the course hailstones the size of golf balls were

falling and lighting was flashing. Unfortunately, just like the club's Time

Trial League event earlier in the season the punctures were also occurring.

Riders returning were reporting freak conditions that felt like a tailwind

both ways on the A14 based Kentford - Stowmarket course in Suffolk.

When the Hampshire RC tandem trike, ridden by O & A Jones came into view it

was clear that there could be some fast times. They recorded 1:49:44 - the

fastest ever tandem trike ride in this event. Veteran husband and wife

pairing of Norman and Sylvia Powell from the Tandem Club then came in with

1:59:05 - a new VTTA age record and an interesting way of celebrating 40

years of marriage!

Not far behind them on the road, from a start number of 20 Dave Birch had

swept through the early starters and it was quite a while before anyone else

came in. He had also missed the worst of the rain and hail which was to

affect everyone else. As the atmospheric conditions changed the conditions

probably got faster, but the sudden heavy rain showers negated any advantage

for the later starters.

Anglia Velo's Joe Empson was probably happy with his 1:53, while Dave Hatton

from Scunthorpe came in in a 1:52 despite having last weeks National 12 hour

still heavy in his legs.

Last year Alan Hale was ecstatic about his 1:55 despite an excursion off

course. This year he improved again with a superb 1:52:33.

San Fairy Ann's lady veteran Judith Griffiths is usually the second counter

in support of Carole Gandy, but with Carole not starting her fine 2:12:53

gave her a well deserved ladies win. Last years winning lady, Arja

Scarsbrook (Evesham & District) was a DNF this year.

The question was could anyone beat Birch? Ian Cammish, Andy Cook and Steve

Cotton had all made their excuses for absence. Paul Smith (API Resprays)

came in with 1:50:05. Last year's third place rider Phil Rayner (Welland

Valley - ANC) was another possible challenger. His 1:48:33 was a good

effort, just over a minute slower than last year, but he had to settle for

second spot.

Chelmer CC's Adrian Tovey was off at 66 and inspired by chasing team mate

David Nock five minutes ahead, recorded 1:50:55, leading the Chelmer to a

fine team win.

Pete Smith, winner of our Time Trial League event earlier in the year was

probably the only serious challenger left. Reports from the course suggested

that he was up on time and riding strongly. However a puncture with about

five miles to go literally blew his chances away. He rode on with a flat

tyre at a sedate pace but still finished in 1:51:55. He estimated that he

was heading for a possible 1:41.

The event may have been won but there was still an incredible ride to come.

The amazing John Woodburn has achieved so much in the sport - a stage in the

Peace Race, National Championships from 25 miles to 24 hours, the End to End

to name but a few. At 62 he is still racing hard and his 1:49:07 set a new

veterans age record.

[[ MAPI 1.0 storage : 2835 in winmail.dat ]]

First Lady - Judith Griffiths (San Fairy Ann CC) 2:12:53

First Vet (Std) - John Woodburn (Northovers VT) +52:18

Team - Chelmer CC (Adrian Tovey, David Nock, Bill Broadfield) 5:42:14

TONY WELLS

RACING TEAM EAST (01933)358580

http://www.rteast.freeserve.co.uk