Hannah Farran and Matty Smith were victorious as Team Kirkley Cycles hosted a climb on a new course – the 2.5-mile MH25 at Muggleswick Common near Edmundbyers.
Farran (Team Boompods) covered the course in 11-09.0 to win the women’s prize by around nine seconds from Sarah Wilkinson (Blaydon CC), while third was Muckle CC’s Katy Denham with 11-34.8.
And Matty Smith (Muckle CC) was the fastest male rider in 9-20.3, giving him the win by just 0.1 seconds from team-mate John Bowman, while Muckle CC secured a clean sweep of the podium with veteran Colin Atkinson third in 9-25.4.
It was a dry day but with a little breeze at the top of the climb. The wind predictions were signalling a head-wind for most of the climb but several riders commented how they felt a bit of tail-wind assistance during some of the sections.
All proceeds from the event are being split between The Great North Air Ambulance Service and Heart Wood, a Northumberland-based mental health charity for men. Whilst there were no monetary prizes, there were lots of prizes given away on the day by the hosting club.
“I’m super happy to get the win at the inaugural Team Kirkley Cycles hill climb,” said Smith. “I wasn’t sure how my form would be after coming down with Covid a couple of weeks ago, but I really wanted to race this event, considering the tremendous effort Team Kirkley Cycles put into this race and advertising it so well.
“It was very tight for the top step between me and my team-mate John with only 0.1 of a second separating us. Another bonus was for Muckle CC to fill the podium.”
The women’s field was very healthy too with a large number of female riders, and the organiser chose to showcase the women by setting them off last, ensuring that riders and spectators alike lined the hill – a nice touch.