This year’s national 25 mile championship was held on what is now one of the fastest and most popular courses in the country, the F2A west of Cambridge on the A428 dual carriageway. This helped attract a large entry, and a full field of 150 solos and 5 tandems, with 123 men and 16 women competing for the solo VTTA championships.  This was a quality field as well with 11 of the men having an LTS of sub 50 minutes.

The sad death of the Queen during the week, and the cancellation of many sporting events at the weekend, triggered some concern on the Friday morning as to whether the event could proceed but a check of the official government guidance and some phone calls around the National Executive Committee confirmed we could proceed. We held a one minute’s silence at the event prior to the presentations.

Sunday morning dawned with fog on the course, but a half hour delayed start gave time for the sun to come up and the fog to clear. It was a mild morning but with an easterly breeze that made things tougher on the return leg of each of the two laps of the course. Conditions were still good though for fast times and many riders will have achieved their 25 mile standard for the season.

The tandem championship was won by that tried and tested pairing of Murray Kirton and Dave Stockley (ages 81/82) whose 1:02:53 gave them a Vets Handicap Result (VHR) of a very impressive 47:45.

With the women it was again Angela Carpenter who continued her great run of form to run out a clear winner and 2022 champion with a time of 52:28. Her VHR of 43:19 shows the real quality of her ride. The silver medal went to a very deserving Arja Scarsbrook who at 74 rode 1:03:51 for a VHR of 45:53. The bronze medal to Linda Dewhurst with 58:50 and a VHR of 46:26.

With such a large men’s field there was a tense wait for all the times to come in and it turned into a very tight battle for the medals. Andrew Grant’s 53:34 and VHR of 45:39 topped the leader board until Keith Ainsworth came home in 51:01 giving him a narrow winning margin of 9 seconds with his VHR of 45:30. 3rd to 5th were within 10 seconds of each other but  another rider in their 60s took the bronze medal with Keith Dorling (51:52, VHR 46:21) just edging Matt Smith’s fastest actual on the day (47:14, VHR 46:30) who in turn had just a one second gap on Chris McNamara (47:50, VHR 46:31).

The club team medals went to the local lads from Cambridge CC (Andy Grant, Chris Dyason and Colin Lizieri), with the women from High Wycombe CC second (Joy Payne, Helen Roby, and Dena Ford) and Legato Racing Team in third (Joe Costello, Steve Lorraine and Simon Horsley). The Group team award was again a local affair with East Anglian taking the medals as a result of having three men in the top four with Andy Grant, Keith Dorling and Matt Smith. London & Home Counties were second group team (Linda Dewhurst, Anthony Turner, and Joy Payne) and Surrey/Sussex third (Chris McNamara, Simon McNamara and Nik Allen).

Some comments from the 2022 champions. Firstly Angela, ‘Extremely well organised event as always by Cambridge CC and a good call to delay the start with the thick patchy fog. I have seen some great performances from the women in the last few weeks, so I needed to do a good ride to retain the crown. Conditions felt tough, particularly the return, so the second lap was hard.’ And from Keith, ‘I didn’t ride particularly well actually, although I couldn’t squeeze another second out of my body. I think the long season has slowly caught up, but fortunately it was just enough to take the title. The return on both laps was particularly tough into that headwind, but of course it was the same for all, and I was relieved to hit that chequered flag.’

Finally, our thanks to Chris Dyason for his excellent organisation, especially with such a large field, and to the members of Cambridge CC, the timekeepers, and to Keith West for the efficient handling of results at HQ. It’s good for the sport and the VTTA when we can put on such a quality championship and sets an example for other clubs and groups.

Picture of the men's podium coutesy of Davey Jones.