21/10/12 - Chesterfield Coureurs Hill Climb
Winner: Gunnar Gronlund
Beeley Moor Hill Climb
21st October 2012
It was a case of ‘as you were’ in this year’s Beeley Moor hill climb, promoted by Chesterfield Coureurs, as four category winners from last year’s event repeated their winning performances.
This was the 18th edition of the popular Peak District hill climb, but last year the event was renamed the ‘Harry Cook Memorial’ with a winner’s trophy being established. Therefore, with this being the second running of the memorial event, Gunnar Grönlund (RST Racing Team) ensured that his name remains the only one on the winner’s trophy by repeating his 2011 victory. Grönlund’s time, like many others, was significantly slower than last year due to an unhelpful wind direction. But other than this small niggle the event was run off in excellent conditions with the top of Beeley Moor being blessed with mild temperatures and sunshine.
The fastest junior was once again Ashley Proctor (SportsCover Altura RT) who improved one position on his 7th place last year. Proctor was riding his penultimate time trial as a junior with only next weekend’s National Championship to ride before he joins the senior ranks. Proctor is hopeful of lifting the junior crown and follow the example set by Chris Baines in 2010, who, following a junior victory at Beeley went on to win the junior National Championship at Buxton.
Chris Baines (Buxton CC) was once again riding this year and he was the first to slip under 10 minutes with 9 57.9, only to see this time shaved by just over 3 seconds when his team mate, and Beeley regular, Sam Clark recorded 9 54.2. With over half of the field finished, and only two riders under 10 minutes, conditions were clearly challenging and it took the efforts of previous Beeley winner, and ex-National Champion, Mark Lovett (Planet X) to better Clark’s time with a fine 9 48.9 to record an eventual 3rd place overall and fastest veteran.
Whilst the fastest overall time was being trimmed by a few seconds at a time, Alex Deck (RST Racing Team) once again removed any doubt about who would win the ladies prize with yet another time under 12 minutes with 11 53.9. This was Alex’s fifth consecutive victory in the ladies category and she now holds the three fastest times set by a female rider. Alex is the only rider to have won a category five times, but despite this astonishing record, she has vowed to return again where she will once again attempt to go under 11 minutes.
It was Beeley newcomer and Grönlund team mate, Matt Sumpton, who finally knocked Lovett off the top spot with an excellent debut time of 9 29.6. Sumpton’s reign at the top was brief, however, when just 4 and a half minutes later Gunnar Grönlund duly lived up to expectations with a fine winning performance of 9 06.8. In readiness for the national championships Grönlund has been competing in much shorter hill climbs this year which are not so suited to his style, and therefore he has found the top spot of the podium to be elusive for most of the 2012 hill climb season. His victory on Beeley is a welcome return to winning ways for the 2011 National Champion and, with just one week to go before he defends his title, Grönlund’s form appears to be coming to the boil just at the right time.
With all of the times in, the only prize to be calculated was that of the winning team and here again Alex Deck found she was making history by being the first female rider to be a part of the fastest team. Alex and her RST team mates thwarted the attempt by Buxton CC to win the team spoils three years in succession, with a clear beating of the Buxton trio by over 30 seconds.
With the main business of racing out of the way it was time to gather around the tea tent for the prize presentation. Once again the event boosted a generous prize list totalling nearly £700 compiled by co-organiser Guy Cook, and featuring generous donations from local businesses Polaris, JE James Cycles, Décor Improvements, Colombian Caravans and Igloo Cycles. The £100 on offer for breaking the course record, donated by Martin Smith opticians of Lincoln, went unclaimed on this occasion but it will again feature in next year’s prize list and attract the country’s top hill climbers.
The winner’s trophy, proudly lifted by Gunnar Grönlund, was presented by Harry Cook’s widow and as the trophy is retained at the club Grönlund was awarded a fine winners medal as a memento of his victory.
Despite the date clash on the calendar with the Matlock events a short distance away, the 2012 promotion was a big success thanks to the many riders that turned up and Chesterfield Coureurs hopes to see them all – plus a few more – on Sunday October 20th 2013. Finally the success of the event was assured due to the help and assistance freely given by the many helpers plus regular event time keepers Phil Williams and John Clarke; something for which the promoters are extremely thankful