An iconic climb saw the largest turnout in 2021 in The Little Sweetpea Gardens/BBR Opticians Hill Climb Series with Round 5 a fearsome 1.6 mile climb of The Burway, Church Stretton in a well-received Paramount CRT promotion. A rare closed road event attracted a 43 rider entry from some quality riders – with five riders beating the old Course Record and with the top two split by just 0.2 seconds. AeroCoach rider Richard Bussell sliced a huge 23.7 seconds off his own 2019 record ride on a version of the course almost twice as long as when Chris Boardman set a 5:01 mark in the 1989 National Hill Climb Championship – something alluded to by several riders. With Covid regulations putting a stop to a 2020 running the excitement was palpable amongst riders and the large number of spectators who roared competitors on vociferously.

2015 National Hill Climb Champion Bussell charged up the unrelenting climb, which touches 20% in places in 8 minutes 19.3 seconds, with the toughest part near the bottom after the cattle grid, and which thankfully for the riders was considerately covered by the organisers, otherwise capable of disturbing traction just when needed most. Bussell took that narrow win from team mate Jonny Morris, the winner of several rounds of this popular Series, and put prior knowledge of a climb that takes no prisoners to good use, stating: “The event was brilliant – well organised, and the road closure was rare but very welcome. The climb is epic with a steep start and a gentle finish and it’s best to break it down into two halves when racing. I know the climb fairly well and have ridden up it many times being relatively local to it, so I paced it very carefully”.

Morris also took his pacing carefully; being very respectful of the steep, lower slopes having suffered from over exuberance two years earlier, but still managed to suffer for his efforts: “I learnt my lesson from 2019 and held back more in the first three minutes – even so, I haven’t dug that deep in a while! Unfortunately the bush I collapsed in was particularly spiky! I was pleased to push Rich so close, and it was great to see so many riders put in strong rides! Paramount put on a great event – it’d be great for the Nationals to make a return to the Long Mynd one day soon”!

A climb of this quality always attracts big name riders, and gives local riders a chance to measure themselves against big names in the sport. Taking the win among the County riders Series leader the 2016-2018 Champion Kirk Vickers saw off a strong challenge from the 2019 Champion David Scott as the Holohan Coaching rider took another maximum 20 points by seven seconds. Vickers stopped the watch on 8:40 to open up a 20 point lead at the top of the Overall standings, and knew he had been in a race: “A brilliant yet brutal climb, I was starting to fade seven minutes in so had to dig deep to keep the pace up. Good competition on the day, well done to everyone for the solid efforts, and thanks to Paramount for hosting”. Mule CC’s Scott had raced the previous day and suffered towards the end for his 8:47 County runner-up spot thanks to a notably different strategy on the tougher, earlier slopes. Nevertheless he was pleased with his climb: “Happy with second on The Burway. I went out very hard but faded towards the end. It was a fantastic ride from Rich for the Overall win – and congratulations to Kirk on the County win”!

Weight saving is all in hill climbing and Junior riders have a distinct advantage over adults, and judging by Louis Lermite’s ride almost comparable power too as he took County third just four seconds behind team mate Scott in 8:51. Lermite moved into 5th in the Overall standings and up to 3rd in the Juniors on the strength of this climb, the second longest in the Series and something which clearly suited him fro his comments: “This was my favourite climb so far and suited me much better than the others because of the length and gradient. I was out first which was good because I didn’t have to wait nervously for everyone to go off”!

Bussell wasn’t the only rider breaking a Course Record as Rebecca Richardson hacked a minute exactly off her own Women’s 2019 mark to take 16th place Overall. The Brother UK rider posted a strong 10:04, revealing the secret of that major achievement:  “The Burway was beautiful; I managed to stay seated for the whole climb! I shaved a minute off my previous time in 2019, a combination of better pacing and & no headwind at the top – thank you Paramount CRT for a fantastic event that has all the hallmarks of a National’s climb”.

‘Enjoying’ her first season of hill climbing might be a misnomer for Alison Dockney, but she certainly benefited from the atmosphere on the climb to open up a huge 42 point lead at the top of the Women’s standings. The Market Drayton CC rider ended her morning on 11:38 and did enjoy the ‘big race’ ambiance: “I was very grateful for the closed road, the hillside support and fantastic organisation by Paramount CRT. Nervous excitement got the better of me, I went off way too hard, blew up, hit a new maximum heart rate and crawled to the finish! Fantastic ride again by Rebecca”!

In the Veteran’s competition another Mule CC rider took his second win in as many days in this short but sharp season-ending Series, but had a real memory to take back to Oswestry as James Davies was already licking his lips in anticipation of another go after posting a winning 10:07, graphically capturing the world of hurt riders can find themselves in on this climb: “It was a great event with a really nice atmosphere amongst the riders and organisers. The weather was amazing and the views don’t get any better than on the Long Mynd. The climb was brutal. I worked hard on the steep part of the climb, looked down at my Garmin at a point that I was really feeling it and saw that I was only four minutes in – six minutes to go! It’s tough to keep up the effort, but you know that you can’t give up. The finish line soon comes and it is a great feeling. I am so glad I did it and I am already looking for the next one”.

Special mention must go to 10 year-old Fibrax Wrexham RC rider Bethan Pimble – the youngest rider in the event by some margin. The minimum age for racing on public roads is 12, so with a closed road Pimble took full advantage of the chance to compete on her Islabike, constructed locally, and with roars of encouragement from her father from the sidelines finished in a very creditable 20:02 showing huge strength of character developing.


1Richard BussellAeroCoachS08:19.3.
2Jonathan MorrisAeroCoachS08:19.5.
3James PearceSolihull CCS08:29.
4David FellowsSolihull CCS08:36.
5Kirk VickersHolohan Coaching RTS08:4020
6David ScottMule CCS08:4718
7Louis LermiteMule CCJ08:5116
8Sam MarshallTrash MileS08:56.
9Oliver TandySolihull CCJ09:08.
10Rick BaileyTeam Lifting Gear ProductsS09:21.
11Tom HazeltonIlkeston Cycle ClubS09:45.
12Mason DurantParamount CRTS09:4914
13Ben PierceMid Shropshire WheelersJ09:5712
14Aled LeesUnattachedS10:01.
14John WoodwardUnattachedS10:01.
16Rebecca RichardsonBrother UKW10:04.
17James DaviesMule CCV10:0710
18Robbie DisneyLudlow CCS10:118
19Ben LloydFibrax Wrexham RCS10:19.
20Jack YoungOswestry Paragon CCJ10:296
21Steve MorganMule CCS10:524
22John HinesNewport Shropshire CCV11:022
23Michael WalkerGuide CyclingS11:21.
23Sam DaveyParamount CRTS11:212
25Paolo CoppoRugby VeloV11:22.
26Haydn JonesFibrax Wrexham RCV11:26.
28Leon AldridgeRaz LadzS11:36.
28Rob McGregorParamount CRTV11:362
29Alison DockneyMarket Drayton CCW11:382
30Ben WoodWrekinsport CCS11:562
31Paul MusgroveRoyal Navy & Royal Marines CAS11:59.
32Fraser HallRaz LadzS12:00.
33Richard BaconLe Marché du VéloV12:02.
34Cameron Coley-SmithStourbridge CCS12:06.
35Jan KardaszFibrax Wrexham RCV12:13.
36Sally EllisUnattached12:59.
37Adam MumfordWrekinsport CCS13:102
38Des PughHafren CCV13:292
39Richard BurtDursley RCV13:30.
40George CoombesSCCA 1st ClaimS13:442
41Tom HydeNewport Shropshire CCJ13:552
42Joe LycettMid Shropshire WheelersJ15:052
43Bethan PimbleFibrax Wrexham RCWJ20:02.


Vets Pos’nNameClubCatTimeVets Points
1James DaviesMule CCV10:0720
2John HinesNewport Shropshire CCV11:0218
3Paolo CoppoRugby VeloV11:22.
4Haydn JonesFibrax Wrexham RCV11:26.
5Rob McGregorParamount CRTV11:3616
6Richard BaconLe Marché du VéloV12:02.
7Jan KardaszFibrax Wrexham RCV12:13.
8Des PughHafren CCV13:2914
9Richard BurtDursley RCV13:30.


Women’s Pos’nNameClubCatTimeWomen’s Points
1Rebecca RichardsonBrother UKW10:04.
2Alison DockneyMarket Drayton CCW11:3820
3Sally EllisUnattached12:59.
4Bethan PimbleFibrax Wrexham RCWJ20:02.


Junior Pos’nNameClubCatTimeJunior Points
1Louis LermiteMule CCJ08:5120
2Oliver TandySolihull CCJ09:08.
3Ben PierceMid Shropshire WheelersJ09:5718
4Jack YoungOswestry Paragon CCJ10:2916
5Tom HydeNewport Shropshire CCJ13:5514
6Joe LycettMid Shropshire WheelersJ15:0512
7Bethan PimbleFibrax Wrexham RCWJ20:02.

Cumulative standings after five rounds

Overall Top 10:

Position Name Club Cat Best 6
1 Kirk Vickers Holohan Coaching RT S 80
2 Jack Young Oswestry Paragon CC J 60
3 Tomos Hales Wrekinsport CC S 58
4 David Scott Mule CC S 56
5 Louis Lermite Mule CC J 50
6 Robbie Disney Ludlow CC S 44
7 John Hines Newport Shropshire CC V 34
8 Ben Pierce Mid Shropshire Wheelers J 28
9 Luka Stolic Wrekinsport CC J 26
10 James Davies Mule CC V 22

Veteran’s Top 10:

Position Name Club Cat Best 6
1 John Hines Newport Shropshire CC V 96
2 Chris Riley Paramount CRT V 54
3 Peter Jukes Mid Shropshire Wheelers V 50
4 Neil Coles Oswestry Paragon CC V 42
5 James Davies Mule CC V 40
=6 Mark White Mid Shropshire Wheelers V 16
=6 Rob Kerr Oswestry Paragon CC V 16
=6 Rob McGregor Paramount CRT V 16
=9 Adam Riley Oswestry Paragon CC V 14
=9 Des Pugh Hafren CC V 14
=9 Jon Bradley Nova Raiders V 14

Junior standings:

Position Name Club Cat Best 6
1 Jack Young Oswestry Paragon CC J 90
2 Joseph Lycett Mid Shropshire Wheelers J 70
3 Louis Lermite Mule CC J 60
=4 Ben Pierce Mid Shropshire Wheelers J 36
=4 Luka Stolic Wrekinsport CC J 36
6 Noah White Mid Shropshire Wheelers J 16
=7 Ben Southgate Wrekinsport CC J 14
=7 Tom Hyde Newport Shropshire CC J 14

Women’s standings:

Position Name Club Cat Best 6
1 Alison Dockney Market Drayton CC W 60
=2 Clare Cotterill Wrekinsport CC WV 18
=2 Elizabeth Breeze Mule CC WV 18
4 Victoria Doran Wrekinsport CC WV 16