Veteran rider Mary Wilkinson (Yorkshire Road Club) set a new course record on her way to winning the women’s event on the Ramsbottom Rake, while Tom Bell (High North Performance) was a clear men’s victor.
Wilkinson, aged 40, had finished runner-up twice in the event previously but took her first victory on Ramsbottom Rake this time out in a course record time of two minutes and 56.7 seconds.
Despite being only 875 metres long the Rake has a maximum gradient of 22% with two steep sections on the climb which has an average gradient of 12%.
Wet conditions prior to the event on a newly resurfaced road made for slippery conditions towards the top.
Wilkinson was on fine form and beat the previous course record held by Ffiona Burnie set in 2018 of 3-05.9.
The veteran rider added the victory to her win on Crown Point last weekend after being beaten on Monsal the previous week.
Nicola Soden (Datalynx-Parenesis Cycling) won a very close battle for second with her time of 3-57.3 just five hundredths of a second faster than veteran Erica Booth (Lancashire RC).
“I’ve been second twice and a couple of years ago when the record was set I actually set the record (in 2018) and then it was immediately broken behind me which was a bit frustrating on that day, said Wilkinson.
“To take quite a chunk off it today was really good in my opinion in the conditions. I’ve ridden the Rake three times and improved each time so it’s getting better each year which I’m pretty happy about.”
A competitive junior girls category saw Hannah Clough (ABC Centreville) take the win in 4-10.7 ahead of Tyana Reid (The Racing Chance Foundation) in second (4-24.6) while Eve Davies-Heywood (Team 22) finisher a further two seconds back.
Meanwhile, quickest juvenile girl was Ciara Postlethwaite (Eastlands Velo) who covered the course in 4-55.7.
In the men’s event Bell made it seven wins from eight events finishing three seconds clear of his nearest rival.
On his first time competing on Ramsbottom Rake, Bell completed the course in 2-18.5 after suffering some slipping of his wheels on the wet roads towards the top of the climb.
A good spell of form for Bell has seen him win the Otley CC two-stage and event on Mam Tor last weekend and he was again victorious on this occasion.
Andy Nichols (Team Lifting Gear Products/Cycles In Motion) pushed his rival for victory finishing three seconds back in second.
Team Lifting Gear Products/Cycles In Motion team-mates Kieran Wynne-Cattanach (2-26.5) and Alex Raynard (2-28.3) were in a close battle for third with Wynne-Cattanach coming out on top.
“It was good to have so many spectators and it felt like a real hill climb again rather than the low-key events which were held because of the pandemic,” said Bell
“It was a little bit damp and slippery on the top section of the course and everybody was struggling with traction a little bit.
“Performance wise I was happy and it end up being a good result. It is an event I’ve wanted to do for a while so was good to tick it off.
“It’s one of the classic kind of events which was quite evident by the amount of spectators and podium presentation at the end.”
Quickest junior rider George Griffin (Innovation Racing) place sixth overall in 2-29.9 while fastest juvenile was Stanley Clough (ABC Centreville) clocking 3-18.8.
Meanwhile, Richard Helm (Barrow Central Wheelers) was fastest veteran in 2-44.8 beating Paul Roby (Lancashire RC) into second (2-47.4) while Jon Wild (Veloviewer) was third in the age category clocking 2-52.7.
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