The destinations of three of the four Championships within The Little Sweetpea Gardens/BBR Opticians Hill Climb Series were resolved in Round 8, Propel CC’s half mile climb of Swayney Cliff, Coalport – with the small matter of another course record smashed the entrée. The climb can catch out the unwary, ramping to 17% in the middle and getting tough again rounding the hairpin bend near the top – exactly where a large number of boisterous supporters decided to congregate meaning there was no hiding place for riders. Visiting rider David Fellows of Solihull CC became the first rider to dip below the two minute mark with a strong effort of 1 minute 58 seconds, knocking four seconds off Kirk Vicker’s record set in the 2020 running of this event.

Fellows prepared carefully, riding the climb four times before starting in order to learn its foibles and pitfalls, enough to exhaust many and potentially affect racing ability, but he was delighted with his day out, taking in the tourist attractions of the area and complementary about the organisation: “I loved the setting right by the picturesque Ironbridge and part of the former Severn Valley Railway. Short and steep – not really what I’m used to but I kept the chain tight on the steeper parts and used the little flat part about halfway up for a little respite. Good support from the side of the road on the last left hairpin and that kept me going up the last steep ramp before the flat section and the charge to the finish line. Very well organised by Propel CC! A decent road surface so I didn’t have to worry about my lines too much and great weather to boot”!

Fellows beat Vickers into runner-up spot, but the Holohan Coaching rider took maximum points again to seal the Series with a maximum possible 120 points and three rounds remaining. Vickers was 11 seconds down on his old course record and explained he treated this climb as a controlled ride due to keeping something in reserve for the next day. He was delighted to once again take the title of Shropshire Hill Climb Champion after last holding it in 2018: “I was reluctant to go too hard on this climb as I had a road race the next day, so I was happy to pick up some more points. A mega ride from David Fellows to break the record! Pleased to win the Series this year, great to get maximum points, some good competition this year. Well done to all competitors and great to see some good turnouts”.

It was a close call for the remaining podium spot as John Woodward just pushed out Scott Palmer by a single second with his 2:16 effort. Woodward has put in some impressive rides in the Series but this was his first experience of Swayney Cliff and Propel’s organisation, both of which he was complimentary about: “My first time up that climb and I enjoyed it, I had decent legs when it counted. Great signage on the day, thanks all involved”.

This was only Palmer’s second climb after coming back from illness and his 2:17 effort took victory in the Veteran’s Championship from Veteran’s leader John Hines by three seconds as Palmer makes a late charge. The Bridgnorth CC rider bettered his 2020 climb by three seconds and knew all about this tricky to judge climb: “Having ridden the same event last year I knew what was coming – a very draggy climb with a deceiving long finish after the hairpin turn. I went for a different approach this year with a faster start, probably a bit too hard in hindsight but I managed a three second PB and was first Veteran. Great organisation again by Propel with so many welcoming faces”.

A strong 2:23 effort saw Oswestry Paragon CC’s Jack Young seal the Junior Hill Climb Series on his first sight of the hill. This was Young’s fourth victory, and with two runner-up spots to add to his tally his 116 points can no longer be beaten. He was pleased with his afternoon out stating: “A very good climb, really well organised by Propel. I didn’t expect to win the Junior Series and was really happy with the win”.

In the Women’s competition Hannah Lancaster was gaining her first sight of this hill as well, which has very different characteristics to the Ludlow climb she won four days earlier. The Loughborough Lightning rider stopped the watch on 2:40 to take the overall win, and he difference was reflected in her comments: “I hadn’t ridden this climb before. It was a short climb in comparison to the previous weeks and so it was over before I knew it! The steep section after the hairpin bend felt hard and so it was a relief the finish line was just around the corner! Thank you to Propel Cycling Club for organising the event and being so friendly and welcoming”.

Taking the County honours was Market Drayton CC’s Alison Dockney, clearly enjoying her first season hill climbing and sealing the Women’s Championship in the process with a 2:54 climb. Tiredness appeared to play a part in how the climb went, but there was no mistaking a show having to be put on at the hairpin: “My legs were very fatigued so I was lacking the high power needed for such a short climb. The time wasn’t what I hoped for, but I enjoyed the event, well organised by Propel and as always great support from other riders on the day! A fantastic strong ride from Hannah! You don’t know how deep you can go until you pin that number on and push through a hairpin ringing with cowbells and shouts of encouragement! It was pretty savage at times but I’m hooked now! It would be great to see more regular women’s competition in the SCCA, but a huge thanks to all host clubs and fellow riders for such a supportive atmosphere, it has been a lot of fun”.

Full result:

1David FellowsSolihull CCS1:58.
2Kirk VickersHolohan Coaching RTS2:1320
3John WoodwardUnattachedS2:16.
4Scott PalmerBridgnorth CCV2:1718
5John HinesNewport Shropshire CCV2:2016
6Tomos HalesWrekinsport CCS2:2114
7Jack YoungOswestry Paragon CCJ2:2312
8Matt BlytheNewport Shropshire CCV2:3310
9Chris RileyParamount CRTV2:358
10Hannah LancasterLoughborough LightningW2:40.
11Rob McGregorParamount CRTS2:456
12Ben ThompsonWrekinsport CCS2:504
13Alison DockneyMarket Drayton CCW2:542
14Neil ColesOswestry Paragon CCV2:562


Vets Pos’nNameClubCatTimeVets Points
1Scott PalmerBridgnorth CCV2:1720
2John HinesNewport Shropshire CCV2:2018
3Matt BlytheNewport Shropshire CCV2:3316
4Chris RileyParamount CRTV2:3514
5Neil ColesOswestry Paragon CCV2:5612


Women’s Pos’nNameClubCatTimeWomen’s Points
1Hannah LancasterLoughborough LightningW2:40.
2Alison DockneyMarket Drayton CCW2:5420


Junior Pos’nNameClubCatTimeJunior Points
1Jack YoungOswestry Paragon CCJ2:2320

Cumulative standings after eight rounds

Overall Top 10:

Position Name Club Cat Best 6
1 Kirk Vickers Holohan Coaching RT S 120
2 Tomos Hales Wrekinsport CC S 90
3 Jack Young Oswestry Paragon CC J 80
4 Robbie Disney Ludlow CC S 74
5 John Hines Newport Shropshire CC V 60
6 David Scott Mule CC S 56
7 Louis Lermite Mule CC J 50
8 Mason Durant Paramount CRT S 44
9 Scott Palmer Bridgnorth CC V 38
10 Adam Baker SCCA Private Member S 30

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 Rob McGregor Paramount CRT 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 114
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 80
2 Clare Cotterill Wrekinsport CC WV 18
2 Elizabeth Breeze Mule CC WV 18
4 Victoria Doran Wrekinsport CC WV 16