With just a week until the National Hill Climb Championships take place the contenders go head-to-head this weekend looking for a psychological advantage over their rivals.
On Saturday morning reigning men’s champion Andrew Feather (HuntBikeWheels.Com) meets last year’s runner-up Tom Bell (High North Performance) on Ripponden Bank Hill Climb.
Organised by Halifax Imperial Wheelers the event takes place over the 1.21-kilometre climb which has an average of 7.8% but steep ramps at over 15%.
Climbing out of Ripponden in Yorkshire the climb has its steepest section at the bottom before going around a hairpin and then a moment of respite before kicking back up to the finish.
Feather saw his long unbeaten run ended by Bell earlier this month at the Otley CC 2-stage hill climb with little to separate the riders going into the national championships next week.
The pair are top of the Spindata hill-climb rankings, with little to separate them according to the statisticians.
Amongst the other competitors are Welsh Hill Climb Champion Dan Evans (ASSOS Speed Club UK), Jude Taylor (Crimson Orientation Marketing RT) and Alastair Ribbands (Manchester Wheelers) amongst others.
Also in top shape ahead of the nationals is veteran rider Mary Wilkinson (Yorkshire Road Club) in the women’s event who will meet Joanna Blackburn (Team Bottrill) and Jessica Evans (ASSOS Speed Club UK).
Those three also feature in the Spindata rankings, with Wilkinson top of the pile.
The following day Feather and Bell will meet again in the North Lancashire RC event on Nick ‘O’ Pendle while Keri Parton (Pro Vision RC) will head the women’s field.
A favourite amongst riders in the North East has seen 123 competitors enter the Muckle CC event on Sunday on Prospect Hill – the final event of the 2021 calendar in the North East District
Former National Hill Climb Champion Ed Laverack (Backpedal) starts as last man on the 0.9-mile climb with a 7.5% average and maximum of 11.8% towards the bottom of the climb.
The course record is 3-24.5 which was set last year by Tom Bell.
Kieran Savage (Cycling Sheffield) will be amongst the challengers after a strong hill climb campaign which has included three wins.
A good women’s field will be headed by Sarah Wilkinson (Blaydon CC) who will face Joanne Rea (Team Kirkley Cycles) and others.
Another big field looking to finish the hill climb season in style will compete in the Burrington hill climb in Somerset.
Carl Jolly (73 Degrees Bicycles-WestSide Coaching Rt) starts as last man on the 3.2-kilometre climb which has an average gradient of 5.7%.
A competitive women’s field will see Charlotte Davies (FTP (Fulfil The Potential) Racing) start last while Hannah Bayes (Saint Piran) and Emily Slavin (Avid Sport) are amongst her challengers.
Matlock CC will be hosting two hill climbs on Sunday with a good field taking on the Riber HC and Bank Road HC.
Team Lifting Gear Products/Cycles in Motion have a strong team of four riders including Andy Nichols and Kieran Wynne-Cattanach taking on Adam Kenway (Team Brother UK) and a host of others.
Meanwhile, the women’s field will be headed by Frances Owen (Fibrax Wrexham RC) whose competition includes Lilja Raine (Myhillcycling.co.uk).
Veteran riders will be competing for competing for honours in the Cleveland Coureurs National Veterans Closed Circuit 10mile Time Trial Championship on Sunday.
Taking place on the Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire the time trial event will see scratch rider Richard Oakes (Team Ohten Aveas) take on the likes of Marcel Schubert (Darlington Cycling Club) and Chris Smart (GTR - Return to Life).
Madeline Moore (TORQ Performance) starts as last woman and will meet the likes of Janet Fairclough (Liverpool Phoenix CC Aintree).
The road bike category sees Douglas Watson (GTR - Return to Life) start as last man and Sarah Cramoysan (Richmond CC) the final woman.
The Royal Navy Championships are taking place near Yeovil over the weekend with St Piran / Northover Vets Team hosting the 10-mile event on Saturday afternoon and 25-mile championships on Sunday morning.
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