For once a Course Record didn’t go on one of the most testing hills in The Little Sweetpea Gardens/BBR Opticians Hill Climb Series, as Shropshire Cycling Clubs Association promoted their climb of Homer Bank – although Jonny Morris got close. At just half a mile it’s about all out effort on a sinuous climb that takes no prisoners, ramping up to 18% and with a tricky finish just when the legs are screaming to stop, and even though Morris beat his own time convincingly from the inaugural 2020 event he just failed to beat Kirk Vickers record of 1 minute, 52.56 seconds.

Morris stopped the watch on 1:55.24, knocking 2.6 seconds off his 2020 effort and the only rider on the night to dip below the two minute mark, taking a convincing win of over 16½ seconds to show the clear quality of his ride on a glorious late summer evening. His post-race comments show that there’s no working your way into the climb, it’s an instant pain fest: “It’s a really short climb needing riders to go out hard from the start. I rode it better than last year, but not quite well enough to trouble Kirk’s impressive time. I’m happy to have introduced someone new to hill climbs for the second year in a row on this hill”.

One rider who has been missing from the 2021 Series until now is Bridgnorth CC’s Scott Palmer, 2020’s Bronze medallist, but he appeared to be right in form from his first event back after a spell of illness has kept him away from competition. For a first ride back Palmer impressed, just 0.18 seconds off his 2020 effort with a fine 2:11.87 to take the runner-up spot and the honours for the County. Palmer also took maximum points in the Veterans standings too, and his comments show how that final push for the line can turn the legs to jelly: “My first hill climb of the season due to holiday and illness. It was grim at the top, but I’m happy with second Overall and first Veteran”.

It was a close call for the final podium spot with John Woodward shading things from the rider who returned to occupying the Silver medal position after this climb, Tomos Hales with Woodward beating Hales by just 0.16 seconds with a fine effort of 2:13.53. One format difference to standard time trials in the hill climb discipline is that normally riders can be held up and simply let go, but not pushed off. However under Covid-19 restrictions still in place not even that has been possible – but a conveniently placed notice board adjacent to the start gave the riders the ability to start whilst clipped into the pedals, a luxury in 2021. Woodward’s comments reflect this unusual situation: “My first time starting whilst holding onto a post, I managed to get away OK thankfully! It’s a tough short sharp climb in two parts Homer Bank, and I was pleased with how I went. Congratulations to Jonny; another level once again. Thanks to the organisers and marshalling on the night, it helps to make the occasion what it is”.

Hales returned to second spot in the championship after overtaking Ludlow CC’s Robbie Disney in the standings with the Ludlow CC rider 6th on the night, but he holds an advantage of just two points from Disney and Oswestry Paragon Junior Jack Young who are tying in the Bronze medal position in an extremely close contest: Hales commented: “My favourite hill climb of the year, a very tough finish and a huge relief to get to the finish line. Thanks SCCA for putting the event on”.

In the Junior competition Newport CC’s posted a huge improvement of 9½ seconds over his 2020 effort to take the win in 2:37.83 from Wrekinsport CC’s Ben Southgate, who still posted the biggest improvement of the evening – an almost unbelievable 54 seconds. Hyde was pleased with his climb, stating: “My second hill climb of the year. Great support on the side of the road and from other riders, I beat my time from last year so was happy with the result”.


1Jonny MorrisAeroCoachS1:55.24.
2Scott PalmerBridgnorth CCV2:11.8720
3John WoodwardUnattachedS2:13.53.
4Tomos HalesWrekinsport CCS2:13.6918
5Adam BakerSCCA Private MemberS2:14.4716
6Robbie DisneyLudlow CCS2:24.9914
7John HinesNewport Shropshire CCV2:26.1912
8Matthew JamesUnattachedS2:26.87.
9Phil RobertsWrekinsport CCS2:32.1410
10Tom HydeNewport Shropshire CCJ2:37.838
11Mason DurantParamount CRTS2:42.316
12Cameron Coley-SmithStourbridge CCS2:45.01.
13James NealeTem BottrillV2:51.37.
14Ben WoodWrekinsport CCS2:54.824
15Ben ThompsonWrekinsport CCS2:56.832
16Ben SouthgateWrekinsport CCJ3:00.492
17Peter JukesMid Shropshire WheelersV3:01.772


Vets Pos’nNameClubCatTimeVets Points
1Scott PalmerBridgnorth CCV2:11.8720
2John HinesNewport Shropshire CCV2:26.1918
3James NealeTem BottrillV2:51.37.
4Peter JukesMid Shropshire WheelersV3:01.7716


Junior Pos’nNameClubCatTimeJunior Points
1Tom HydeNewport Shropshire CCJ2:37.8320
2Ben SouthgateWrekinsport CCJ3:00.4918

Cumulative standings after seven rounds

Overall Top 10:

Position Name Club Cat Best 6
1 Kirk Vickers Holohan Coaching RT S 100
2 Tomos Hales Wrekinsport CC S 76
=3 Jack Young Oswestry Paragon CC J 74
=3 Robbie Disney Ludlow CC S 74
5 David Scott Mule CC S 56
6 Louis Lermite Mule CC J 50
7 John Hines Newport Shropshire CC V 46
8 Mason Durant Paramount CRT S 44
9 Adam Baker SCCA Private Member S 30
10 Ben Pierce Mid Shropshire Wheelers J 28

Veteran’s Top 10:

Position Name Club Cat Best 6
1 John Hines Newport Shropshire CC V 114
2 Peter Jukes Mid Shropshire Wheelers V 66
3 Neil Coles Oswestry Paragon CC V 62
4 Chris Riley Paramount CRT V 54
5 James Davies Mule CC V 40
6 Scott Palmer Bridgnorth CC V 20
7 James Griffiths Clee Cycles V 18
=8 Mark White Mid Shropshire Wheelers V 16
=8 Rob Kerr Oswestry Paragon CC V 16
=8 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 Tom Hyde Newport Shropshire CC J 34
7 Ben Southgate Wrekinsport CC J 32
8 Harvey Griffiths Ludlow Brewery RT J 18
=9 Cameron Pember Ludlow Brewery RT J 16
=9 Noah White Mid Shropshire Wheelers J 16

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