Dan Evans powered to his second title whilst Joscelin Lowden was crowned women’s champion at the National Hill-Climb Championships in Northumberland on Sunday.
The 1.1-mile course at Hedley on the Hill played host to the final CTT title race of the year and in the men’s event the form rider of 2017 lived up to his billing with a sensational ride.
Evans (ASSOS Equipe UK) blitzed the course in 3:54.3, smashing the record by some 15 seconds to take victory, reclaiming the title he first won in 2014.
“I’m absolutely ecstatic,” Evans said after his victory. “The victory in 2014 never really sank in but this year has been fantastic.
The 36-year-old from Colwyn Bay, who also reclaimed the Welsh title earlier this year, put the victory and course record performance down to his form and preparation.
“I came here in June and recorded a 4.09, there or there about on pace with the course record, but I am a lot lighter than I was then, have been in excellent form and I made good power today.
“It has been a real whirlwind, probably the perfect hill-climb season only being beaten once despite racing two to four events per weekend so it is extra sweet.
“This one probably means more to me than the 2014 win as I really now appreciate just what it takes to win and how much of an achievement it is amongst such a high calibre field.”
The field was indeed one of quality, defending champion Adam Kenway (Raleigh GAC) just 5.2 seconds down to finish runner-up and Kieran Savage (B38-Underpin Racing) clocking 4:03.1 to take third, with all of the top eight riders eclipsing the previous course record time.
Evans is now looking forward to some hard-earned downtime over the winter, but definitely hopes to be back next year.
“I am certainly keen to do more. It’s been a great year for both myself and Jessica and at 36 I feel I still have a lot to give. Hopefully I can put more time in and have a few more solid years left in me,” he added.
There was another high-quality field in the women’s competition with the top three separated by just 2.2 seconds, but it was Joscelin Lowden (Lewes Wanderers) that came out on top to take her first national title.
Last to start, the 30-year-old from London stopped the clock in 4:53.4, pushing Mary Wilkinson (Yorkshire Road Club) into second, with National 10 and 25-mile champion Hayley Simmonds (Team WNT Pro Cycling) taking third.
“I have had such a good day and weekend in general,” Lowden said. “I knew that if I rode to my potential that I was in with a shot so I am really pleased.
“Some people question why I would come all the way up here to ride for five minutes and I start to think ‘Am I mad?’ but it’s so much more than just riding on a hill.
“It is everybody else here that makes it special for us riders: the supporters cheering us on, the course commentators, everything just makes it such a fun event and to win makes it extra special,” Lowden added.
In the junior boys’ event George Kimber (CS Dynamo) put in an excellent display to take victory ahead of Thomas Prentice (GS Metro) and Alex Raynard (Matlock CC) who were second and third respectively.
Kimber’s time of 4:13.9 not only gave him a victory by just under 10 seconds, but would also have been good enough for a tie for 14th place in the overall standings.
“I’m really happy with that result. It is up there with my best achievements and to now have that National Champion status means so much to me,” Kimber said.
“It was dry but really cold, I have been used to 16 or 17 degrees down in Devon recently but you don’t feel it for long when you get going.
“I am hopeful of doing some UCI racing in 2018 but I am limited until June as I am still in school, and I think I will be too old to defend this junior title next year, but a top 10 in the seniors would be a great target.”
Corinne Side (Racing Chance Foundation) claimed victory in the junior girls’ competition, a fine ride of 5:19.0 giving her a 9.7-second winning margin and a time that would have been good enough for an overall top ten.
“I’m really, really happy,” Side said. “I didn’t really know how to ride it to be honest but it went so well. It was my birthday yesterday so I think I am going to celebrate it with some birthday cake!”
The double celebration was indeed a treble celebration for Side, who along with Tamsin Vicary and Heather Bamforth claimed the women’s team prize for the Racing Chance Foundation, combining for a winning time of 18:08.5.
B38-Underpin Racing were the victorious men’s team, third-placed Savage and tenth-placed Patrick Clark were joined by Andy Nichols, winner at Saturday’s BUCS hill climb championship in South Yorkshire, clocking a cumulative 12:31.7.
* All reports are copyright of Cycling Time Trials/Snowdon Sports. Not to be used without permission.
1. Dan Evans (ASSOS Equipe UK) 3:54.3 (course record)
2. Adam Kenway (Raleigh GAC) 3:59.5
3. Kieran Savage (B38-Underpin Racing) 4:03.1
4. Joseph Clark (Cycling Giant Sheffield) 4:04.9
5. Leon Wright (Race Hub) 4:05.3
6. Mike Morris (NFTO Race Club) 4:05.6
7. Andy Cunningham (All Terrain Cycles) 4:08.1
8. Zeb Kyffin (GS Metro) 4:09.9
9. Kieran Wynne-Cattanach (Maxxis 4 RT) 4:10.6
10. Patrick Clark (B38-Underpin Racing) 4:11.2
Team: B38-Underpin Racing (K. Savage, P. Clark, Andy Nichols) 12:31.7
1. Joscelin Lowden (Lewes Wanderers CC) 4:53.4
2. Mary Wilkinson (Yorkshire Road Club) 4:54.5
3. Hayley Simmonds (Team WNT Pro Cycling) 4:55.6
4. Fiona Burnie (GS Metro) 5:03.9
5. Jessica Evans (Assos Equipe UK) 5:11.6
6. Rebecca Goodson (Velo Schils Interbike) 5:13.2
7. Elizabeth Banks (Storey Racing) 5:16.1
8. Jacintha Hamilton-Love (Dulwich Paragon) 5:20.6
9. Alice Lethbridge (Drag2Zero) 5:21.4
10. Hannah Slade (Chippenham & District Whs) 5:23.7
Team: Racing Chance Foundation (Corinne Side, Tamsin Vicary, Heather Bamforth) 18:08.5
1. George Kimber (CS Dynamo) 4:13.9
2. Thomas Prentice (GS Metro) 4:23.5
3. Alex Raynard (Matlock CC) 4:26.8
1. Corinne Side (Racing Chance Foundation) 5:19.0
2. Lily Greenhalgh (Team 22) 5:28.7
3. Jasmine Gray (VCUK Velochampion) 6:29.0