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Hill Climb Championship - Willomoor Bank: report

2 Sep 2018 18:20 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

The old course record was smashed four times as a brand new surface, a rare northerly tailwind and the presence of a very strong field combined for a serendipitous and memorable outcome in Round 2 of The Coaching Revolutions Hill Climb Series. The warning bells were sounded early as the first rider to cross the line, David Scott lopped just over two seconds off the old benchmark in Wrekinsport's Willomoor Bank climb - but that only gave a small clue of what was to come.

The second event in the Series in as many nights saw Jonny Morris again score the win - with a towering Course Record of 3 minutes 24.48 seconds, smashing over 15 seconds off Dan Watts' old benchmark of 3:40 with an almost unbelievable performance 24 hours after lowering the benchmark at The Stiperstones. Hill Climbs are usually decided by seconds and even fractions of seconds, but Morris looked in supreme control on the toughest part of the hill with his strong effort winning the day by 6.77 seconds from reigning County Champion Kirk Vickers, who stopped the watch on 3:31.25 having also shattered the old standard.

Morris was pleased with his evening's work, commenting: "I knew there would be some stiff competition on the night, but I was keen to back up Stiperstones. Kirk, Dan and David put in great rides to get under the previous record too, so I was glad to hold on. The volunteers had built up how steep the last ramp was and it didn't disappoint"!

Vickers meanwhile was pleased to have started the Series with two sets of maximum points, pushing Watts into County runner-up spot by just 1.09 seconds - despite Watts putting in a brutal anaerobic effort to maul himself up the worst of the climb which saw him having to cling onto a five-bar gate for balance after finishing to get his breath back. Vickers stated: "I paced it good tonight, and was happy with the result against strong competition, but was unable to match a strong ride from Jonny". Watts, who beat his old course record by 7.66 seconds with a superb 3:32.34 added: "I was pleased to start my hill climb season on a positive note. Producing my fastest time up the climb to break my own course record is good for the confidence, but unfortunately I got beaten by better riders - not a lot you can do about that!  The tailwind and a brand new smooth surface is somewhat of an unheard phenomenon in any Shropshire event, it made for a fast day and good competition".

Close margins were the more usual order of the day in the Veteran's Championship, with visiting rider Steven Prince taking the honours from reigning Veteran's Champion Ian Coupland by just 0.31 of a second. Prince stopped the watch on 4:08.96, with the advantage of fresher legs than Coupland who had won Round 1 24 hours earlier. Prince had however had a weekend overdoing things in a very different manner as he revealed: "I was chuffed with the win - especially after being at Reading Festival over the weekend! Thanks to the organisers, marshals and photographers for a great event".

Coupland meanwhile was pleased to double his points tally with his 4:09.27 climb, pushing out North Shropshire Wheelers' Richard Kay by 2.04 seconds. He was full of praise for the riders breaking the old course record, stating: "Chapeau to the four riders breaking course record. I could really feel the night before hill climb in my legs, so I didn’t feel great at the finish. After seeing the results I was really pleased with a personal best time and with my position, a close one. Thanks to the organisers".


Coupland and Vickers weren't the only riders doubling their Series leads as Mid Shropshire Wheelers' James Satoor took the win in the Junior Series by a fine margin of 16.78 seconds from team mate Lewis Page, just failing to beat the magic four minute mark by 0.18 seconds. Satoor finished a robust sixth Overall from a30-strong field and was pleased with his ride, commenting: "It was another great event after a tough ride the evening before at The Stiperstones. I was happy to get the Junior win, and also to be up there with the Senior riders. I am now looking forward to the rest of the Series".

It was another Mid Shropshire Wheeler taking victory in the Women's Series with Lucy Hart having the spur of father Andy Collins starting a minute behind her in what is already developing into a friendly family rivalry. Hart crossed the line in 4:36.45 to beat Emma Horne by 47.62 seconds, stating: "I had forgotten how horrible hill climbs were! Great fun in a strange way, two well run events in two days, thanks to all helpers. I can't do Round 3 as at school games but will be back for Round 4 where I intend to beat my Dad"!

Wrekinsport were running their club Hill Climb Championship within the event with Adam Mumford taking Gold with a good ride of 4:27.66. His nearest challenge came from Danny Smith, who settled for Silver in 4:45.55 whilst Ian Bond took Bronze in 5:12.12.

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