Newport Shropshire CC Ironbridge By-pass Hill Climb
The curse of 2020 struck again with a frantic late course change due to road works on the intended Station Road, Ironbridge climb seeing riders having to adjust to the very different characteristics of the Ironbridge by-pass for the Newport Shropshire Hill Climb, being used for the finale of The Little Sweetpea Gardens/BBR Opticians Hill Climb Series – with the course record decimated. With nine medals unresolved from the 12 on offer there were some last gasp efforts for silverware – although Shropshire riders didn’t have it all their own way.
One of the features of the 2020 Series has been the participation from Under-18’s, with nine of the 20 competitors from this category, and with 14 year-old Halesowen A&CC rider Tomos Pattinson taking a slim victory by a single second in 4 minutes 16 seconds to beat the course record held by James Satoor set in 2018 by a massive 30.3 seconds, with five riders in total beating that old standard which had been set in bitterly cold conditions. Starting on the flat for the first 0.1 miles but rising after passing the turn to Much Wenlock, the climb belies its average gradient of 6.3%, getting steeper after 0.8 miles, with the 1.15 mile climb curving gently and not revealing the finish until you are almost upon it, which makes effort difficult to judge – a s did the headwind with that curve ensuring riders were heading directly into it to the finish line. Pattinson attacked from the off, which proved vital to his victory, as he revealed: “I’ve never ridden up the climb before but I enjoyed it. I tried to carry some speed into the steep bit on the flat to start, which was the right thing to do”.
Pattinson squeezed out 2015 Champion Dave Griffiths into the runner-up spot in 4:17 as the Veteran took victory in the Over-40’s category and helped himself to Overall Silver at the last gasp. The wide open, exposed course is unlike most of the climbs on offer, and this was reflected in the Silver medallist’s comments: “The climb was a bit different, most of it was a drag then kicked up a bit in the middle, but the end was tough with the headwind! I was pleased to win the Veteran’s event and to get second overall in the series. I only did them on a whim, but I really enjoyed racing again”!
Griffiths’ intervention pushed out Bridgnorth CC’s Scott Palmer, displacing him from that Silver medal slot into the Bronze despite an excellent 4:52 effort. Palmer had already sealed Veteran’s Silver in Round 7, but was determined to beat Veteran’s Gold winner Mark Hammond – with their head-to-head battles finally ending 4-2 in favour of Hammond. This final event however saw Palmer beat Hammond by seven seconds, which gave him a vital two point advantage over the Paramount CRT rider in one of the great battles of the year. Palmer is a first-time competitor in the hill climbs, and his post-race comments reflect what he took from it: “With the climb being switched due to road works I was quite disappointed as I like the slightly shorter climbs. What was a miserable day turned out to be OK in the end, with me able to pip Mark to third place which gave me Overall Bronze. I had trouble clipping in which lost me quite a few seconds, but I had control and went for a steady overall climb, but I wasn’t quite feeling the day. I’m super happy to hear the news I was third overall. To take Overall Bronze, to add to my Silver Veteran’s medal is just amazing. I’ve learned so much over the Series and aim to come back next year stronger, lighter and a lot wiser. Thanks again to all involved, it’s been superb”.
In a hill climb season filled with Junior competitors it was perhaps fitting that one of them took the Overall Gold, with Mid Shropshire Wheelers’ James Satoor adding the Shropshire Hill Climb Championship to his palmarès to add to his Junior Hill Climb title. Satoor was third on the day in a fine 4:24, and this sealed that title in a great end to the season for the youngster. He stated “A really well organised round thanks to Newport Shropshire CC. The climb is a drag and it felt like it went on forever, but I was pleased with third despite it being wet and cold! I am really pleased to win both the Overall and the Junior Series, as there’s been some tough competition this year. A big thank you to the SCCA and to the clubs that helped out to make it such a good series, despite these difficult times, also a big thank you to Jason from Little Sweet Pea Gardens and Helen from BBR Opticians for their helping make the Series possible! I look forward to riding the Series again next year”!
Satoor’s closest rival in the Juniors was 16 year-old Henri Bedford, who hauled himself into the Junior Silver medal position at the last gasp thanks to finishing equal 4th Overall and 3rd Junior on the day thanks to his 4:46 effort to overhaul Newport Shropshire CC’s Tom Hyde who took Junior Bronze. Bedford’s comments reflect the feelings about this course, used only once previously: “It was a nice and straightforward course but that certainly didn’t make the steep and straight bit at the top of the climb any easier. Well done to James for winning the Juniors and the Overall championship with it”.
Hyde meanwhile is another newcomer to the hill climb scene and he reflected on the great spirit found surrounding the events as he sealed Junior Bronze with his 5:43 effort: “This is my first year at the hill climbs and I’ve enjoyed all the different courses, they were hard but fun and there is always a great atmosphere. Thanks to all the organisers and marshals, and everyone involved”.
Despite a belated entry into the Series recovering from an injury Ludlow Brewery rider Steven Prince was another taking a medal at the final throw of the dice, just pushing out Griffiths for Veteran’s Bronze by two points thanks to tying with Bedford for 4th spot Overall: He stated: “I’m very pleased to have won a medal after missing the first three rounds with a broken foot! I’ve loved all the courses and can’t wait for next season. Congratulations to Mark and Scott, thanks to the SCCA and all the promoting clubs and marshals for putting them on for us during these difficult times”.
That left the Women’s medals to be decided – with one of the entrants Thea Lee tying for Silver with Hafren CC’s Emma Serjeant. The 13 year-old Newport rider posted a very respectable time of 8:08 to beat 12 year-old team mate Megan Fletcher by 2:01 – showing the popularity of this Series amongst the young. Reflecting on her climb Lee commented: “I really enjoyed the climb despite it feeling like it was going on forever. It was a relief to reach the end, but it felt like a great accomplishment”!
Despite being absent Wrekinsport’s Beth Till had very good reason not to race and has something much closer to home to celebrate as well as Women’s Hill Climb Gold as she took the opportunity to let the cycling community know about her changed circumstances: “I did want to complete the whole Series but unfortunately I wasn’t able to. Those races I did take part in I was actually pregnant and am now at 13 weeks, so it was hard to really push myself without worrying, but it proves pregnant woman are just as capable as men right? Bring on next year”!
That left the final word to go to Emma Serjeant, who was satisfied with joint Women’s Silver but wanted to encourage more females to have a go: “I’d like to see more women competing in the hill climbs, maybe needs clubs to do a push for women competitors in the run up to the races. I’m happy to take Hill Climb Silver. It’s been a strange year, but a big thank you to SCCA for arranging safe events. I’m looking forward to next year already – massive congratulations to Beth for Gold and the wonderful news”.
|3||James||Satoor||Mid Shropshire Wheelers||J||04:24||18|
|=4||Steven||Prince||Ludlow Brewery RT||V||04:46||16|
|6||Scott||Palmer||CC Bridgnorth RWG||V||04:52||12|
|7||Ollie||Atkin||Newport Shropshire CC||S||04:57||10|
|13||Tom||Hyde||Newport Shropshire CC||J||05:43||2|
|14||Ethan||Campbell||Newport Shropshire CC||J||06:02||2|
|16||Tom||Jackson||Newport Shropshire CC||J||06:19||2|
|17||Leo||Allen||Newport Shropshire CC||J||06:59||2|
|18||Thea||Lee||Newport Shropshire CC||WJ||08:08||2|
|19||Megan||Fletcher||Newport Shropshire CC||WJ||10:09||2|
|20||Hugh||Jackson||Newport Shropshire CC||V||11:01||2|
|Junior Pos’n||Forename||Surname||Club||Cat||Time||Junior Points|
|2||James||Satoor||Mid Shropshire Wheelers||J||04:24||20|
|4||Tom||Hyde||Newport Shropshire CC||J||05:43||16|
|5||Ethan||Campbell||Newport Shropshire CC||J||06:02||14|
|6||Tom||Jackson||Newport Shropshire CC||J||06:19||12|
|7||Leo||Allen||Newport Shropshire CC||J||06:59||10|
|8||Thea||Lee||Newport Shropshire CC||WJ||08:08||8|
|9||Megan||Fletcher||Newport Shropshire CC||WJ||10:09||6|
|Vets Pos’n||Forename||Surname||Club||Cat||Time||Vets Points|
|2||Steven||Prince||Ludlow Brewery RT||V||04:46||18|
|3||Scott||Palmer||CC Bridgnorth RWG||V||04:52||16|
|8||Hugh||Jackson||Newport Shropshire CC||V||11:01||6|
|Women’s Pos’n||Forename||Surname||Club||Cat||Time||Women’s Points|
|1||Thea||Lee||Newport Shropshire CC||WJ||08:08||20|
|2||Megan||Fletcher||Newport Shropshire CC||WJ||10:09||18|
Final Overall Standings
|1||James Satoor||Mid Shropshire Wheelers||J||82|
|2||Dave Griffiths||Clee Cycles||V||76|
|3||Scott Palmer||CC Bridgnorth RWG||V||66|
|4||Mark Hammond||Paramount CRT||V||64|
|5||Henri Bedford||Revolutions Racing||J||60|
|6||Kirk Vickers||Holohan Coaching RT||S||60|
|7||Steven Prince||Ludlow Brewery RT||V||56|
|8||Tomos Hales||Wrekinsport CC||S||48|
|9||Robbie Disney||Ludlow CC||S||46|
|10||Dan Watts||SCCA Private Member||S||42|
|1||Mark Hammond||Paramount CRT||V||96|
|2||Scott Palmer||CC Bridgnorth RWG||V||90|
|3||Steven Prince||Ludlow Brewery RT||V||82|
|4||Dave Griffiths||Clee Cycles||V||80|
|5||Chris Riley||Paramount CRT||V||74|
|6||Paul Bailey||CC Bridgnorth RWG||V||52|
|7||Neil Coles||Oswestry Paragon CC||V||50|
|8||Hamish Campbell||Nova Raiders||V||36|
|9||Neil Wilson||Paramount CRT||V||22|
|10||Simon Romei||Paramount CRT||V||18|
|1||James Satoor||Mid Shropshire Wheelers||J||100|
|2||Henri Bedford||Revolutions Racing||J||90|
|3||Tom Hyde||Newport Shropshire CC||J||82|
|4||Will Hyde||Newport Shropshire CC||J||58|
|5||Ethan Campbell||Newport Shropshire CC||J||54|
|6||Jack Inglis||Wrekinsport CC||J||48|
|7||Tom Jackson||Newport Shropshire CC||J||22|
|8||Jack Young||Oswestry Paragon CC||J||20|
|9||Cameron Pember||Ludlow Brewery RT||J||18|
|10||Harvey Griffiths||Ludlow Brewery RT||J||16|
|10||Leo Allen||Newport Shropshire CC||J||16|
|10||Sam Stoker||Hafren CC||J||16|
|1||Bethan Till||Wrekinsport CC||W||40|
|2||Emma Sergeant||Hafren CC||WV||20|
|2||Thea Lee||Newport Shropshire CC||WJ||20|
|4||Megan Fletcher||Newport Shropshire CC||WJ||18|
|4||Victoria Doran||Wrekinsport CC||WV||18|