Southend storm to team victory

Southend Wheelers win team prize in the Hainault Hilly time trial, while Hullbridge’s Lloyd Chapman scoops individual honours to maintain his early season run of success.

The Essex time trial season began in earnest with Hainault Roads Club’s leg-stinging ride around some of the ‘lumpier’ roads around the west of the county (Sunday 5th March).

A fallen tree prompted an amendment to the scheduled course, but increasingly benign weather ensured that most of the 52-strong field endured no further major setbacks.

Continuing his rich vein of early season form, professional rider Lloyd Chapman returned to his Essex roots to blaze his way around the 29-mile course in 1-hour 3 minutes. The time trial specialist with the newly-formed Catford Banks squad had previously won his last two races, even setting a course record the day before at Breckland Cycling Club’s event in Norfolk.

Chapman’s nearest challenger was Southend Wheelers’ own TT ace, Paul Hart. However, his best across the distance was over 3 minutes shy of Chapman’s time.
Starting from Navestock Side, the riders were taken on two laps around the nearby villages, with the energy-sapping climb of Toot Hill thrown in for good measure.
“It was certainly lumpy!” laughed Southend’s Jamie Maidment after he had clocked his time of 1hour 23 minutes, which placed him 24th overall. “Toot Hill was the steepest part of the course but the redirection (to avoid the fallen tree) sent us down a narrow, winding farm track - which was fun?!”

Following his swashbuckling exploits in the East London Velo’s winter criterium championship, Chris Smith began his time trialling campaign with an excellent 6th place in the Hainault race, earning praise from fellow Wheelers Maidment: “I was happy with my time and place, considering I was competing on a standard road bike and wearing full winter kit, rather than a more aerodynamic skinsuit and accessories. Chris’ time was stunning and even more impressive than Paul’s, given that a rider of his experience and ability. I expected Paul to finish in the top three, but for Chris to record 1 hour 12 minutes, was excellent and bodes well for his season.”

Zena Shean’s time of 1 hour 38 minutes was good enough to put her inside the top 40 riders overall and take victory in the women’s competition.
Peter Stiff laid down a marker in his first major race against the clock with 1 hour 27 minutes, good enough for 30th position.

Sadly, David Pennington’s hopes of a good performance were dashed by a puncture and he was unable to finish his run. However, the finishing positions of Hart, Smith and Maidment contributed to the Wheelers lifting the team prize.

Reflecting on his latest triumph, 28-year old Chapman said: "The tough, windy conditions made for a perfect 'hard rider' event. It was great to see so many competitors defy the conditions, especially as the weather was terrible at the start. I was pretty happy with my ride and I don't think I could have given any more to be honest. I was just super happy to stay rubber-side down! Top marks to Hainault CC for the last-minute change of the route to make sure the event went ahead as planned. Despite the unscheduled detour, it was still a great race."

Lloyd Chapman (Catford Banks) was first overall (well he should be really)
Zena Shean - first Lady (definitely Southend Wheelers, not EETC)
Peter Stiff in TT action (now that the cyclocross season is over)
David Pennington - before his unfortunate puncture


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