Wrekinsport CC Chris Edwards Hilly 18
A rearranged event on a rearranged course saw two fantastic inaugural records set in Round 2 of the Friction Hydraulics Series - with 17 year-old Ben Healy showing tremendous promise. With heavy snow cancelling the original date of 3rd March for Wrekinsport CC's Chris Edwards Hilly 18 and long-term traffic lights controlling Stableford bridge a revised 17.4 version of the traditional course starting and finishing on the 'Rabbit Run' was brought into play, with Healy taking an audacious overall win in 36 minutes 48 seconds.
Riding for Zappi RT, the young rider was visibly quicker on the tough climb of The Hermitage than any other entrant, putting his light weight to good use. Healy was delighted with his win, commenting: "It was great to be able to do the rearranged race. Setting such a good time looks good for some UK and European races with time trial stages I've got in April. Let's hope I can make it back next year".
Matt Gibbons set out his stall out for the season early, heading to the top of the Friction Series standings thanks to registering the best effort from a County rider. Nova Raider Gibbons posted an impressive time of 41:32 to beat Ludlow Breweries' Jack Wilson by 50 seconds. Gibbons was pleased with his effort after a low key entry to the Series six days earlier, stating: "I was really pleased to have put in a good ride after last week where I wasn’t feeling great. A lot of people couldn’t make it, but I concentrated on the clock and was much improved on last year. Thanks to all the marshals and supporters on course".
Wilson meanwhile hadn't turned a pedal in race mode after returning from a training week in Majorca. One of nine new riders who were able to make the rearranged date, Wilson made an immediate impact, not only taking the runner-up spot but also leading The Brewers to the team win with support from Gary Walters and Chris Davies for a combined time of 2:12:11 - and knew just what was responsible: "Majorca gains! My first time trial of the season, I only sat on my TT bike for the first time five days before the race so I was happy with my form. Surprised with the team win"!
Ludlow Breweries weren't finished there with Walters taking third County spot in 43:35 as well as victory in the Veteran's Series with a +4:27, 1:33 ahead of Ludlow CC's William Baugh who nevertheless moved to the top of the Veteran's Series thanks to that runner-up place. Walters also attributed his success to the club's Majorca training week - but for different reasons to Wilson: "I've just been on The Brewer's Race Team training week - it seems like the late night re-hydration sessions paid off"!
Emma Serjeant took the honours in the Women's Series, setting an excellent Course Record of 47:32 - and moving into the joint lead of the Women's Series with Hafren CC team mate Rebecca Richardson. Serjeant pushed Debbie Hutson-Lumb into the runner-up spot, with the Nova Raider posting a very creditable 51:39. Serjeant commented: "It was definitely a challenging course but I felt strong. I'm really pleased with my effort, and it was nice to see where I’m at early season. Thank you to all the organisers and marshals".
Wrekinsport's Adam Mumford took the club's Chris Edwards Trophy in 45:03.
Results at: 2018 The Hilly (18 Miles)