Thompson flies the flag for VC Baracchi in Stansted Express

PUBLISHED: 16:37 08 December 2017

Archant Norfolk © 2015

John Thompson of Velo Club Baracchi, who decided this year to give up time trials, is continuing his regular interest in audax cycling.

Audax UK oversees the running of long-distance cycling events in the UK and maintains records of the events, which Thompson travels to in the Eastern Counties whenever he can.

Last Saturday he rode the Stansted Express 102km audax based at Witham, and one suspects his interest in the catering may be as great as in the cycling.

He said: “The event was another of those using the Witham Wetherspoon as the headquarters so I had full English before starting and a large mixed grill and cheesecake for dessert and two pints of good ale after finishing, followed by snoozing on the train home.”

The route passed through Great Leighs, Thremhall Park, next to Stansted airport runway and Thaxted before heading back to Witham.

He finished at around 6.30pm and said it was “a bit on the slow side but I spent a fair bit of time making sure I didn’t go off-route.

“Also, time was lost at Thaxted due to the vague information question to be answered of, ‘who lived at the manse?’”

He added: “We had to guess what the manse (a house provided for a minister of certain Christian churches) was and then we had a job finding any plaques indicating who lived there. Then someone spotted a building called ‘Dick Turpin House.’

“I was leaving when two more riders arrived and had stopped at a house with a plaque indicating Gustav Holz lived there.”

At the moment the club rides at 8.30am on Sundays from the Cotmer Road roundabout are not well supported, though Alex He reported that one took place and he was there.

The Wrinklies rides on Tuesdays and Fridays at 9am from Carlton Colville church fare better for support.

None of these social rides require club membership, though many VCB members are active supporters of the informal Wrinklies group and the rides are typically between 40 and 50 miles.

Anyone wanting to enter the CC Breckland New Year’s Day open 10-mile time trial has until December 12 to do so. It takes place on the A11, turning at Snetterton.

For more information about the club visit the official wesbite (

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