THE last race of the season was an emotive one for Paul Rogers, the new South of England Best All-Rounder champion, who began racing as an 11 year-old schoolboy 25 years ago.

The VC St Raphael Waite Contracts star from Gosport does not expect to compete again in this country as he prepares to move with his wife and son to start a new life in New Zealand.

He chose the 28 mile Goodwood Classic time trial in West Sussex, a race he has won six times in the past, for his final event. But he had to settle for second place to Farnham's Richard Prebble (Team Clean Fresh Start) who won in 1hr 9min 6sec.

This was only two seconds outside the record he set last year, but in passing the site of the 1982 World Cycling Championships at the top of Goodwood Down in 19min 57sec, Prebble became the first man to cover the first 7.5 miles in less than 20 minutes.

A prize of £200 was given by Maestro Cycles to the fastest rider at this historic point, and Prebble said afterwards: "I would have been quite happy to take two hours for the rest of the course after winning that!"

Rogers recovered from being third fastest at quarter-distance to finish runner-up and lead his club to victory in the team race. He was supported by Malcolm Cox, a former district best all-rounder from Hedge End, and Rowan Horner, a school teacher from Sarisbury Green who completed the hilly course without puncturing for the first time in five years.

Elsewhere, the high ground on which the Crabtree Plantation thrives on the outskirts of Basingstoke proved to be in ideal condition for the Wessex Cyclo-cross League meeting organised by the North Hampshire RC.

The leading riders were lapping the 1.5 mile course in less than six minutes. Southampton University student, Alex Forester (Matlock CC) maintained his pace best of all, drawing clear of Chris Atkins (Hargroves Cycles RT) to win from nearly 50 competitors.