Reigning BBR Hill Climb Series Champion Tomos Hales headed back to the top of the standings after Round 2 after taking a solid win in his own club’s promotion on Willomoor Bank. At just a sniff under a mile Hales coped best with a course where regular changes of gradient are thrown into the mix and the toughest is left until the end – a 15% maul that turns legs to jelly. Hales stopped the watch on 3 minutes 47.89 seconds to push out a first appearance of the Series for Ludlow Brewery rider Steven Prince by 2.4 seconds and take the win ahead of a 21-strong field. Hales stated: “My favourite climb of the year and I was happy to take the win. I took the first section very hard, but managed to hang on up the steep bit. Thanks to our chairman Dave Moore and Alan Jennings for stepping up for timing duties”.
Hales leads the Series by 6 points from Junior club mate Ben Southgate who had beaten him by a single second in Round 1. Southgate had to settle for 6th on the night on a less steep but more technical climb in 4:12.96, setting out a 22 point lead at the top of the BBR Junior Series. The youngster seemed to suffer against the wind which gave an added complication to the climb, and as usual his post-race comments were succinct: “It went good, but wasn’t great with the wind”.
Prince made the trip north worthwhile with a great opening salvo, pushing out former Hafren CC member Sam Holwill into third by 1.65 seconds, taking the Veteran’s honours from Aerologic’s Scott Palmer by a healthy 10.8 seconds, with Paramount’s Chris Riley rising to the top of the Veteran’s standings after finishing in 4:50.04. Prince scored a course personal best with his strong effort, and perfectly summed up the challenge on offer with his opening statement: “Such a tricky climb with the change in gradients and the need to save a bit for the final kick! I had a five second personal best, which is a great way to start the Series. A great ride by Tomos for the win; thanks as always to Wrekinsport for hosting”.
One feature of the 2023 Series already apparent is the interest amongst female competitors; and particularly from Paramount with three club mates racing one another. Women’s winner was Becky Griffiths with a fine 5:09.16, pushing out Hayley Wells by 13.52 seconds – and heading to the top of the Women’s standings as a result of this great effort.