Relay Double for Brighton Phoenix

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Brighton Phoenix repeated their senior double victory at a highly successful Sussex Road Relay championship at Christ’s Hospital on Saturday but it was not as convincing as last year’s run-a-way victories.

In the men’s championships that completed the afternoon’s racing Brighton & Hove’s Will Gray led through the first of the six legs comfortably clear of Phoenix’s Finn McNally while Tom Niner extended the lead by a couple of seconds over the second leg.

It was on the third leg that Robbie Fitzgibbon took the Phoenix team into a comfortable lead, a lead that Ben Wade, Dan Stidder and Spencer Thomas stretched to more than half-a-minute by the finish for a handsome victory in 59:54s with Brighton & Hove well clear in second place in 60:30s and Crawley taking third team spot in 62:08s.

It was Crawley’s James Westlake who clocked the day’s fastest lap with a stunning fourth leg in 9:41s just two seconds faster than Thomas’s 9:43 with Fitzgibbon’s 9.44s third fastest.

The Under 17s race with the senior’s and Tom Thayre and Joe Smith from Crawley were declared joint fastest in 10:34s though Tom Eames (Brighton & Hove) who is also in the U17 age group actually ran 10:17s but presumably was not declared as such.

It was a much closer battle in the senior women’s race. After Sophie Mansfield had given the Phoenix team a clear lead on the first of three legs Bethany Garland put her Chichester team into a good lead on the second leg and it took a cracking final circuit from Beth Kidger to retain the tile for Phoenix in 35:13s just four seconds clear of Chichester’s Rebecca Moore with Hastings in third spot in 35:46.

Kidger’s fine effort was rewarded with the fastest lap in 10:57s with Garland second fastest in 11:25 and Mansfield’s opening leg of 11.27S third fastest.

Darja Knotkova-Hanley (Haywards Heath) was the fastest U17 in 12:24s with Lizzie Clarke (Hastings) on 12:28s and Alex Richer (Horsham) 12:29s.

The Under 15 Girls Relay saw the Bodyworks team win in 19:05s from Brighton & Hove 19:12s and Hastings 19:17s with Bethany Cook (Bodyworks) running the fastest lap in 5:53s while Hastings won the Boys race in 17:13s just ahead of Crawley’s 17:15s and Chichester’s 17:19s with Liam Dunne (Chichester) running the fastest lap in 5:20s.

The days racing had started with the U13 races where Brighton & Hove won both events, the girls in 20:16s from their “B” team in 20:38s and Chichester in 20:57s although a non-scoring Crawley team actually crossed the line first in 19:43s. Daisy Burton ran the fastest lap in 6:31s while the Brighton & Hove Boys team clocked 18:36s ahead of Worthing in 19:02s and Hastings 19:09s and Jonas Judah (Hastings) clocked the fastest lap time in 6.00s.

There were also a series of Masters Races where Arena 80 won both W40 and W50 events from Hastings and Chichester respectively and Julie Brigg (Arena 80) and Caroline Wood (Arena 80) ran the fastest laps in 12:12s and 13:12s.

The M40, M50 and M60 titles were all won by Brighton & Hove teams the M40 in 44:01 from Crawley 47:09, the M50 in 34:52s from Hastings in 35:59 and the M60 in 39:25 from Brighton Phoenix in 40:38. Neil Boniface (Crawley) was fastest in the M40 in10:11s, Graham Godden (Brighton & Hove) 10:55s the M50 and Paul Whelpton (Phoenix) 12:28s the M60.