Kirk Vickers nearly blew his chance of retaking the Course Record in Round 6 of the Little Sweetpea Gardens/BBR Optician Hill Climb Series, Ludlow CC’s Wigmore Road climb but recovered enough after a nightmare start to slice 2.7 seconds off Will Truelove’s 2020 benchmark, finishing in 7 minutes 1 second. Vickers had been the record holder in 2018 with 7:05, and equalled that mark in 2019 but had a point to prove on the longest climb in the Series at 1.95 miles. That extra distance gave Vickers time to recover, presenting a different challenge to riders with an average gradient of 5.4%, but with a couple of steeper ramps in the first mile to test the mettle. The Holohan Coaching rider explained what the issue was as he added another maximum 20 point tally to his Series lead, now lying just 20 points off a potential maximum score in this best 6 from 11 Series: “I had a nightmare clipping in on this one, but once I got going I had time to make up for it. I felt like I paced it well, and was pleased to break the course record, well done to all competitors”.

Recording his first podium position in the Series Paramount CRT’s Mason Durant stopped the watch on 7:57 to take the runner-up spot. A newcomer to the Series during 2021; Durant entered the Top 10 standings on a course that appeared to suit him in a Series that really mixes up the challenges on offer: “A great event organised by Ludlow CC, they even put on some fantastic weather. The relatively long, shallow course really suited me as a bigger rider, and I was able to carry a decent amount of speed through the flatter sections. I was never going to beat Kirk, so I was really happy with second place. And chapeau to the lad I overtook who was riding a Brompton”! Durant’s final comment referred to a game ride of 15:41 by Ludlow CC member Graziano Abbatiello, whose choice of this relatively heavy but classic small-wheeled folding bike to compete on really added an additional dimension to overcome.

Local honours were taken by Ludlow CC’s Robbie Disney who matched his third place on the night by elevating himself into the same position in the Overall standings. Disney just missed out on his target time by two seconds with a strong 8:01, a fine improvement of 16½ seconds over his 2020 effort, and was kicking himself for believing his bike computer which appeared to have started itself early: “I felt good for the night, nice and hot so I didn’t need a huge warm-up. This is always a difficult one to pace because it’s practically twice the length of the other hill climbs in the Series. I really wanted to get under eight minutes, but as I was rocking up to the finish line the Wahoo said 8:09, I didn’t realise that I actually finished in 8:01, and if I knew I would’ve pushed a bit harder and maybe might have ended up with second place”.

In the Veterans Series Neil Coles’ long trip down from Oswestry was rewarded with a win of exactly 30 seconds ahead of five local riders who would be more familiar with the climb. However Coles has made a point of travelling regularly to this event over several years and explained that not only does he prefer the challenge on offer by that he had the incentive of a team mate, Jack Young starting a  minute behind him: “Ludlow is one of my favourite climbs. I did reconnoitre with team mate Jack and was talked into using the big chain ring, and with Jack also my minute man I had incentive to dig deep”.

Coles moved up to the Silver medal position in the Veterans Series, and had persuaded a dubious Young to have his first experience of Wigmore Road to defend his lead in the Junior Series. He came away not only having doubled his lead to 40 points but also with a fabulous 4th place Overall thanks to an 8:20 ride and the spur of trying to catch Coles. The surprised youngster was measured in his post-race comments, simply stating: “It did suit me, I wasn’t expecting it to”.

The only woman in competition was Loughborough Lightning’s Hannah Lancaster, who put local knowledge to good use to take a strong 5th Overall in 8:36, commenting: “I enjoyed the hill climb. I live in Ludlow and so it is a hill I know well and I often ride it when out on training rides. Although I know the climb, it was still a tricky one to pace as it is longer and less steep than the hills used for other hill climbs I have done so far this year. Thanks to the organisers and volunteers who helped run the event”!


1Kirk VickersHolohan Coaching RTS07:0120
2Mason DurantParamount CRTS07:5718
3Robbie DisneyLudlow CCS08:0116
4Jack YoungOswestry Paragon CCJ08:2014
5Hannah LancasterLoughborough LightningW08:36.
6Neil ColesOswestry Paragon CCV08:5212
7Alister CawthorneWyre Forest CRCJ09:07.
8James GriffithsClee CyclesV09:2210
9Cameron Coley-SmithStourbridge CCS09:25.
10Ben ThompsonWrekinsport CCS09:438
11Harvey GriffithsLudlow Brewery RTJ09:486
12Steve MintonLudlow Brewery RTV10:184
13Richard DykeLudlow CCV10:272
14Cameron PemberLudlow Brewery RTJ10:382
15Stuart AustinLudlow CCV10:392
16Graziano AbbatielloLudlow CCV15:412


Vets Pos’nNameClubCatTimeVets Points
1Neil ColesOswestry Paragon CCV08:5220
2James GriffithsClee CyclesV09:2218
3Steve MintonLudlow Brewery RTV10:1816
4Richard DykeLudlow CCV10:2714
5Stuart AustinLudlow CCV10:3912
6Graziano AbbatielloLudlow CCV15:4110


Junior Pos’nNameClubCatTimeJunior Points
1Jack YoungOswestry Paragon CCJ08:2020
2Alister CawthorneWyre Forest CRCJ09:07.
3Harvey GriffithsLudlow Brewery RTJ09:4818
4Cameron PemberLudlow Brewery RTJ10:3816


Women’s Pos’nNameClubCatTimeWomen’s Points
1Hannah LancasterLoughborough LightningW08:36.

Cumulative standings after six rounds

Overall Top 10:

Position Name Club Cat Best 6
1 Kirk Vickers Holohan Coaching RT S 100
2 Jack Young Oswestry Paragon CC J 74
3 Robbie Disney Ludlow CC S 60
4 Tomos Hales Wrekinsport CC S 58
5 David Scott Mule CC S 56
6 Louis Lermite Mule CC J 50
7 Mason Durant Paramount CRT S 38
8 John Hines Newport Shropshire CC V 34
9 Ben Pierce Mid Shropshire Wheelers J 28
10 Luka Stolic Wrekinsport CC J 26

Veteran’s Top 10:

Position Name Club Cat Best 6
1 John Hines Newport Shropshire CC V 96
2 Neil Coles Oswestry Paragon CC V 62
3 Chris Riley Paramount CRT V 54
4 Peter Jukes Mid Shropshire Wheelers V 50
5 James Davies Mule CC V 40
6 James Griffiths Clee Cycles V 18
=7 Mark White Mid Shropshire Wheelers V 16
=7 Rob Kerr Oswestry Paragon CC V 16
=7 Steve Minton Ludlow Brewery RT V 16

Junior Top 10:

Position Name Club Cat Best 6
1 Jack Young Oswestry Paragon CC J 110
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 Harvey Griffiths Ludlow Brewery RT J 18
=7 Cameron Pember Ludlow Brewery RT J 16
=7 Noah White Mid Shropshire Wheelers J 16
=9 Ben Southgate Wrekinsport CC J 14
=9 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