Result (top10): Ely & District CC Hardriders


Mark Arnold and Sarah Wells fastest in the Ely & District CC Hardriders in Cambridgeshire on Sunday

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Result: Ely & District CC Hardriders 25

February 14th, Cambridgeshire | by Fergus Muir

The Ely Hardriders in February is one of the big challenges of the East – but the nature of the mission changes from year to year..

When the 25.2mile BS19 was last used for the event two years ago, it was the potholes that that made the news, in other years the perishing cold. In 2016, it was a few degrees above freezing, the potholes were still there….. but the biggest problem was slowing down….. in a blast of a tailwind, for the numerous right-angled corners on farm lanes much used by agricultural vehicles. Even riders of modest fitness could reach high speeds – but the question was “could they get round the greasy corners?”


Upwards of ten competitors came to grief in the first four miles of zig zag lanes from Little Downham to Coveney. Fortunately none are believed to have been any worse than walking wounded and some got up and continued, including the second fastest lady Lucy Charles (Hoddesdon Tri, 1:11:10) – who went on to run 10K as triathlon training. Fastest lady was Sarah Wells (West Suffolk Whs, 1:10:51)

Mark Arnold’s 56:21 men’s winning time was all the more remarkable for being achieved on a 105 inch fixed wheel transmission on a day when this strong northerly wind was cutting across the open Fens making the slog up the Ely bypass a matter of grit and an ultra-slow cadence.

After fancied contender and former Continental roadman Luke Hattersley was one of the fallers, Arnold’s nearest rival was Ben Benyon a young Yorkshireman studying at the University of East Anglia, who took second in 58:49. Benyon was just four seconds faster than Liam Gentry (VC Baracchi) who in turn had 10 seconds on Graham Knight (Team Milton Keynes)

Much of the course is used later in the year for the Ely Half-Iron, and the entry included 20+ triathletes, especially from Hoddesdon Tri Club.

For Hardriders organiser Stephen Laurie this was his 23rd and final time in charge of this classic event. Next year Ely & District CC Chairman Martin Holland, already deeply involved, becomes event secretary.

1. Mark Arnold (CC Desiregear) 56.21
2. Ben Beynon (Kassei CC Teknofuel) 58.49
3. Liam Gentry (VC Baracchi) 58.53
4. Graham Knight (Team Milton Keynes) 59.03
5. Andrew Leggett (Team Velo Velocity) 59.26
6. Mark Richards (VC Baracchi) 59.47
7. Dale Sturman (West Suffolk Wheelers) 1:00.14
8. Matt Eley (Ely and Dist CC) 1:00.45
9. Paul Jay (Team Velo Velocity) 1:01.11
10. Anthony Collier (Hoddesdon Tri Club) 1:01.34
10. Jim Hardwick (Plomesgate CC) 1:01.34

Team: Ely and District CC (Matt Eley, Dan Bromilow 1:04.49, John McAndrew 1:04.26) 3:10.00.
Women: Sarah Wells (West Suffolk Wheelers) 1:10.51
Veterans on standard: Mark Arnold +9.52




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