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Inspirational mum powers to memorable victory on debut

Inspirational mum-of-three Sarah Wells marked her mountain bike debut for West Suffolk Wheelers with a stunning display.

She finished a lap ahead of second woman home to win the four-hour event in round two of the Thetford Winter Mountain Bike Race Series at Brandon on Sunday.

Wells, 39, had no prior background in sport until she started training for triathlons three years ago, but admitted she ‘can’t wait to be 40’ as she continues to get faster, fitter and stronger.

“I just wanted to get fit and lose a bit of weight and it’s gone from there,” said Wells, of Fairey Fox Drive, Mildenhall. “I’m just so focused on what I do now — sport has made me mentally stronger.

“I’m fitter, stronger and healthier now than I have ever been in my whole life and I’m just so glad I found sport because I feel so good.

“Everyone gets put off by thinking they need a certain level of fitness, but if you build it up over a period of time it really is possible.

“After running my first half-marathon, I couldn’t even walk to the car, whereas now I will do it, come home and go for a cycle ride.

“You get stronger and feel better the more you do — anything is achievable.”

The former Newmarket Cycling and Triathlon Club member is set to tackle the notoriously-difficult Wasdale middle-distance triathlon and the 112-mile bike leg of an Ironman triathlon relay in 2015, plus having a full Ironman in her sights for 2016.

However, she was so dominant in Brandon on Sunday, it has piqued her interest in finding out exactly what she can achieve on a bike.

“I feel I have got a lot more to give in cycling — I think I can get even better,” said Wells, who admits her three children — aged 17, 14 and seven — think she is ‘absolutely bonkers’.

She now plans to finish the Thetford Winter Mountain Bike Series and begin long-distance time trials in preparation for the Ironman relay.

Wells’ performance — which consisted of seven laps of the near-seven-mile course in four hours 37 minutes 13 seconds — was the highlight of an all-round good day for the Wheelers in Brandon.

Malcom Borg (seven laps, 4.01.25) powered to sixth in the men’s four-hour race, while Adam Baker (ninth, seventh laps, 4.13.53) and Malcolm Macfarlane (19th, six laps, 3.57.03) performed well in the veteran men’s four-hour race.

Robin Lines (three laps, 2.12.39) was ninth in the two-hour junior race.

Paul Watson (12th, four laps, 2.15.22), Darren Baker (58th, three laps, 2.05.04), Dick Lines (60th, three laps, 2.06.59) completed the veteran men’s two-hour event, but Richard Emmerson (80th, two laps, 1.10.12) suffered a mechanical problem.

In the one-hour race, Mandy Bunn (fourth woman, two laps, 1.26.58) outsprinted Will Smith (26th man, two laps, 1.26.58) to pip her fellow Wheeler on the line.

n Do you know an inspirational figure in the local sporting world you don’t feel has got the recognition they deserve? Email sport@buryfreepress.co.uk