FROM the Tour de France’s yellow, white, green and polka dots to the distinctive red, white and blue bands of the British national champion, cycling jerseys celebrate winners.

Now, a new addition to the British time trialling scene will be the distinctive red and white of Essex.

On Saturday, Hart Performance Coaching (HPC) organised the first ever Essex TT Championships on the fast E91/10B course, near Chelmsford.

With five of the new jerseys up for grabs in road and TT bike categories, the event attracted an impressive 100 entries.

Regarded as an exciting prospect by his coach, former 50-mile TT record holder Paul Hart, 16-year-old James Wicks from Leigh-on-Sea won the Junior title with a time of 23:24, pipping Team Vision Racing – Silverhook’s Morgan Saunders by just three seconds.

“I went out a bit easy, but on the way back I gave it everything I had left,” Wicks said afterwards.

“I’m really happy to have won the jersey and be the first junior Essex champion.

"I guess it will make me a bit of a target and other juniors will want to beat me because of the jersey.

"So, I’ll just have to try harder!”

In the women’s road bike category Camilla Wilkes triumphed with a margin of five seconds over Leah Brook.

In the TT bike class, Louise Robinson powered her way round the fast course to clock a title-winning 23:32, with runner-up Karen Aylen just 30 seconds shy of Louise’s blistering time.

“I’m absolutely delighted!” she beamed after taking receipt of the new NoPinz jersey.

“I’m definitely going to wear it in future competitions.

"It must be worth a few extra watts and psyche a few people out.”

The popular men’s road bike class saw 6AM Cycling’s Jonny Allen smash Matthew Rivers’ previous record of 23:49 with a stunning time of 20:56.

However, he missed out on being crowned the Essex champion by dint of living just four miles outside of the county’s border, in Walthamstow.

Hence the jersey went to the no less deserving Matthew Lord who claimed the bragging rights around the dinner table from his twin brother, Daniel.

At the finish, the pair were separated by one second, with Matthew’s 21:49 the deciding factor.

Essex may be Britain’s most misunderstood county for a variety of reasons, but in time trialling terms there can be little confusion that it is a hotbed of talent.

The TT competition attracted a quality field with Richardsons-Trek DAS hitter James Jenkins and Timothy Torrie of the trainSharp Development Team ultimately duking it out for the top spot of the podium.

Echo: Doing well - James JenkinsDoing well - James Jenkins

With six riders all posting times in the 21-minute bracket, a nail-biting finale was guaranteed. Jenkins’ team-mate Simon Alexander broke the deadlock with a 20:56 but his time in the virtual hot-seat was short-lived.

Going off a minute behind him, Torrie’s impressive 19:32 upped the ante.

Over an hour and a half after the first rider had got the event underway, Jenkins set off as the last competitor.

In the first half of the course, he was marginally down on Torrie’s opening effort but after the tight turn, the versatile youngster’s canny pacing strategy began to pay dividends.

He clawed back a one second advantage and managed to hold it to the chequered flag.

“My objective was to set the best time that wasn’t Dowsett’s,” Jenkins said, referring to World Tour pro Alex Dowsett’s 2010 course record of 19:06.

“I spent a lot of time on the TT bike in June but since then I’ve spent the last four weeks road racing and travelling in between.

"I fell back into the (TT) position quite quickly and paced my effort really well.

"I knew the final two miles were the hardest part of the course so I had been saving a lot for that.

"Fortunately, for me, I think Tim had gone really hard at the start but I was able to make up the deficit by the end.”

“I’m super happy and pleased to have won it and when I look down at the start of a race and see the three Essex seaxes it will be really cool and I’m now looking forward to representing the county.”

Paul Hart explained why he decided to create the Essex Time Trial Championship.

He said: "People are really proud of where they come from, so I wanted to organise something that highlights the best (testers) in the county.

"Also, the jersey is different.

"Unlike a medal, the winners can actually use it and show it off, as a visual statement that they’re number one.”

Reflecting on the inaugural event, Hart added: “I’m chuffed. I wanted the best riders to enter and they were here.

"When you look at how close the winning margins were; three seconds in the juniors, one second in the men’s road and TT bike classes, that’s what you want!

"We see it at elite level but this event showed just how much talent is here at a local level.

"In a nice way, I also think the awarding of a jersey and the closeness of the competition means that a few local rivalries have been established.”


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