The course record holder took the win in Round 3 of The Coaching Revolutions Hill Climb Series, but sodden, chilly conditions ensured there was no repeat of 2018's heroics. Fishface Cycles rider Jonny Morris was around 14 seconds off his best on Wrekinsport CC's Willomoor Bank Hill Climb with persistent rain finally clearing around 15 minutes before start time. Morris stopped the watch on 3 minutes 38.29 seconds to take the win by a fraction over two seconds as Willomoor Bank resembled a river more than a road with water running off fields hindering traction.
The 0.99 mile course has a sting in the tail and Morris attributed his win to absent-mindedness: "I completely forgot how short the Wrekin climb was so felt I hadn't gone fast enough when I hit the bottom of the ramp. Luckily I'd also completely forgotten how long the ramp was, so I made up a lot of time from having fresher legs which I think made the difference in the end"!
Morris pushed Series leader Kirk Vickers into the runner-up spot although the Holohan Coaching rider added 20 points to his commanding lead as he sets out a stoic defence of his Hill Climb Championship. Vickers crossed the line in 3:40.57 and looked in complete control as he flew up the steepest part of the climb, digging deep to reach the crest. He was happy to take maximum points but admitted to suffering during that final push for the line: "My preparation was not great for this one, I went hard up the final steep bit but my legs blew just before the crest and I tried to hang on. I'm pleased with the result and to finish two seconds shy of the win".
Taking third place was Mule CC's David Scott, who revealed just how tricky this climb can be with it's regularly changing gradient after finishing in 3:54.08, one of only three riders to beat the four minute mark. He stated: "My legs fell off at the top of the Wrekin. I should have saved something for the steepest section but got it wrong on the night. Nice to still manage a podium position".
If Vickers is dominating the Overall standings Richard Kay is doing the same in the Veteran's competition making it three wins out of three and a maximum 60 point haul for his efforts. Kay took a comfortable win by 35 seconds from nearest challenger Neil Coles with a flying effort of 4:21.06 - good enough for 7th overall amongst a field of 26 riders, although he did himself no favours arriving just in time to present himself at the start line. He stated: "Arriving late and without much a warm up I was pleasantly surprised to get the Veteran's win on a chilly evening. Thank you Wrekinsport, and congratulations to everyone who rode".
Hill climbs usually attract younger riders and with five in competition 13 year-old Halesowen A&CC rider Tomos Pattinson took a narrow Junior win by just over two seconds in 4:17.39. Pattinson clearly likes a vertical challenge as his post-race comments revealed: "I really enjoy hills so this was right up my street. Despite the rain everyone was cheerful and helpful. I loved the last part of the climb when it was at its steepest, super night. Thanks Wrekinsport CC".
Whilst Pattinson took the Overall Junior win Henri Bedford made it a maximum 40 points from the two rounds he has ridden to mover into the sole lead of the Junior Hill Climb Series. Bedford stopped the clock on 4:35.01 despite a mechanical issue that hindered progress as he revealed: "I was pleased with my placing as I had a slight mechanical before setting off, but made do with a rubbing front brake. Thanks to hosts Wrekinsport CC, and well done to all riders".
The third new rider in as many events made it an intriguing three way tie for the Women's Series lead as Wrekinsport's Bethan Till took the win from SY Tri's Victoria Doran by a big margin of almost three minutes. Till crested the climb in 5:38.63 and after her first experience at the discipline is keen to have another go: "I really enjoyed it, hopefully I can compete in some of the other hill climbs as well, though I still need to try and persuade more ladies to compete"!
Wrekinsport were running their club Championship Hill Climb within the event and taking Gold was Tomos Hales who set an excellent time of 4:20.66 to beat Phil Roberts into the Silver medal position by 40 seconds with Allen Henderson capturing Bronze a further 13 seconds back. Hales stated: "It was great to take the Wrekinsport Hill Climb Trophy on one of the toughest five minutes of the season. Thanks to all the Wrekinsport team for putting on such a great event. Looking forward to trying it next year on a carbon fibre bike".