With the 2017 hill climb season in full swing, it was the turn of Otley CC to promote an event, its annual 2-stager taking place Saturday 7th October with 61 riders on the start sheet.
Traditionally blessed with fine weather, if sometimes a little chilly, the race was greeted by blustery and damp conditions with conditions improving slightly by the time the afternoon stage started.
The morning stage on Guise Cliff near Pateley Bridge (V8910) was delayed by 10 minutes due to timekeeper Joyce Webb’s stopwatch malfunctioning, something husband Keith referred to later at the prize presentation at Norwood Social Hall. A minor setback that allowed riders to warm up for longer, particularly our own Trevor Hatib, first rider away in a field of 61, facing a stiff headwind on the section approaching the car park area, and first of 10 Otley riders on the start sheet.
Fastest of those 10 riders was 2016 Club Hill Climb Champion Sam Ward in 4:07.0 with U16 James Wordsworth – fastest U16 on the stage – a close 2nd fastest in 4:11.4, promising a good competition for the Championship in the afternoon. Jonathan Hobbs was next in 5:03.4 followed by Sam Howcroft, another U16, exactly 1 second slower with 5:04.4. A consecutive trio of U16 times was completed by Robbie Strathdee with a close 5:06.3. Next was Andrew Bolton with 5:56.1, 2016 Women’s Club Hill Climb Champion Eleanor Hunt a tenth of a second behind in 5:56.2. Riding an event a polar opposite to when he became 2017 Club 12 Hour Champion, Phil Mason recorded 5:59.0 and Trevor recorded 6:13.6. Gill Arnett was a DNS.
Fastest rider on Stage 1 was Dan Evans of Assos Equipe UK in 3:23.4, just under 6 seconds shy of his 3:13.7 course record set 2016. Fastest woman was Fiona Bernie of GS Metro in 4:32.7.
As sure as eggs is eggs, the rain came again a few minutes before the afternoon stage on Norwood Edge (V897) started. But, thankfully, it was a passing shower and although it remained overcast it was relatively dry for the riders.
Rider number 1, Trevor, unfortunately didn’t start the afternoon stage after misplacing his cycling shoes on Guise Cliff. Fortunately Ben Lane, clubmate of the morning stage fastest woman Fiona Burnie of GS Metro, collected them for Trevor and they’re on their way back home.
So, no chance for Trevor to compete for the Club Hill Climb Championship but the anticipated battle between James Wordsworth and Sam Ward didn’t disappoint, the morning positions being reversed, James – again, fastest U16 – beating Sam for the 2017 Championship by 6/10ths of a second, recording 5:51.0 to Sam’s 5:51.6. James results are showing real potential for the future, as are those of our 2017 Women’s Champion Eleanor Hunt. Eleanor recorded 8:25.5 to win the Championship again for a second consecutive season. Well done to both our new Champions, and both U16s!
Third fastest of the Otley CC contingent was again Sam H in 6:49.3, followed by Robbie 7:14.2, Jonathan Hobbs 7:16.8, Phil 7:54.3, Andrew 8:17.8 and of course Eleanor 8:25.5.
Fastest rider on the stage was again Dan Evans in 4:51.6. That was exactly 6 seconds faster than his 2016 time but means Jeff Wright’s 23 year old record of 4:42.0 stands for another year.
Fiona Burnie repeated her Guise Cliff win as fastest woman in 6:28.4.
Dan Evans was the overall winner with a combined time of 8:15.0 and Fiona Burnie women’s winner, her combined time being 11:01.1. First veteran was David Watt of Team Elite/Paul Bethell Electrical in 10.20.5 and Ash Coning (Identity Racing) first junior in 9.50.8. James Wordsworth kept the Otley CC colours to the fore as U16 winner in 10:02.4.
Thank-you to Stuart for organising the event for the last two years. Andrew Bolton has kindly stepped in to organise in 2018. Thank-you of course to time keepers Joyce and Keith Webb. Sadly, it’s the last time we’ll see the Webbs timing at an open event as they have decided to step down from open event duties. Joyce and Keith have been timekeeping and supporting time trialling in Yorkshire for many, many years and thanks were given to them at the prize giving for their long contribution to the sport.
Keith also made a presentation to Paul Brierley of Huddersfield Road Club who has ridden the Otley Hill Climb all the years Joyce and him have timed it.
Thank you to all helpers out on the two courses and to those at Norwood Social Hall serving refreshments and tidying up after all had departed.