Coronavirus was the real winner as the last County race before the UK-wide shutdown of time trialling until at least 31st May was announced attracted just six riders to a normally bustling event. Despite that there was a tough battle for victory in North Shropshire Wheelers’ Hawkstone Hilly 19 as the SB Sports Injuries Series got underway for 2020. A tough two-lap technical circuit saw Nova Raiders’ Tim Beardmore battling it out with Revolutions Racing’s Henri Bedford. Bedford did his utmost to stay away, losing just 18 seconds at the end of the first lap, but Bedford proved a carrot for Beardmore who put in a strong finish near the end.

Beardmore posted an excellent time of 45 minutes 41 seconds, highlighting a promising start to the racing season and was enjoying the challenges posed by one of his favourite courses. Like most of the riders his comments reflected the closedown, announced just two days after the race: “Such a shame more people didn’t race, but these are strange times I guess. I love this course, demanding, technical and fast in places. My legs felt a bit heavy the day before, so I went out a bit tentatively, but felt good when I got into the race. The first lap descent from Marchamley wasn’t the best and cost me a little time, but I got right second time round. I knew Henri would push me close, so very happy to take the win. Massive thanks to North Shropshire Wheelers for organising, see everyone in June”! Beardmore also took the win in the SB Veteran’s Series too with a fine plus of 5:26. The margin of this victory was impressive given his nearest challenger was North Shropshire Wheelers’ Gino Trasatti with +0:40.

Bedford meanwhile went out hard and used the fact that Beardmore was on his tail as a spur, with his light weight an advantage up the gruelling climb into Weston and being used to good effect in his first attempt at this course that stretches riders and offers a very different challenge to most courses. The 16 year-old took the maximum 20 points on offer in the SB Junior Series as well as an impressive runners-up place with a fine 46:49, showing he has good form already. He stated: “It was nice to do a scenic time trial. Congratulations to Tim, although I tried hard to keep ahead. Thank you to North Shropshire Wheelers for hosting, well done to all riders. It’s sad to think that it might be the last one of the year”.

Taking the honours for the promoting club was James Neale, one of three North Shropshire Wheelers in competition and taking third spot in a solid 51:57 to see off club mate Gareth Brookes by 36 seconds. This was all the more notable for Brookes being ahead of Neale by 34 seconds at the end of lap 1 showing a marked difference in how the pair coped on the second lap. Neale stated: “I knew it was going to be bit of a struggle, the Hawkstone circuit is a course where you build momentum, and I messed up my pacing on quite a few sections and was not able to claw back time. Brilliant rides from Tim and Henri, but it’s sad to think might be last event for quite some time”.

With just one woman in competition new Oswestry Paragon member Leonie Keeling took an early lead in the SB Women’s Series, finishing in a good time of 57:25. Her lap 1 split indicates an even effort throughout as the Team GB triathlete made a rare appearance in a time trial that will hopefully see her come back and ride further events when the season break is over. She stated: “A very well organised and marshalled race. Tough conditions and a challenging course made for a good first race on my time trial bike. Thank you to everyone for their help and support to make this race possible”.

Full result:

Pos’nNameClubCatLap 1TimePoints
1Tim BeardmoreNova RaidersV22:4745:4120
2Henri BedfordRevolutions RacingJ23:0546:4918
3James NealeNorth Shropshire WheelersS25:3551:5716
4Gareth BrookesNorth Shropshire WheelersV25:0152:3314
5Gino TrasattiNorth Shropshire WheelersV27:0954:5712
6Leonie KeelingOswestry Paragon CCW28:0157:2510

Veteran’s result:

Vets Pos’nNameClubCatVet +/-Vets Points
1Tim BeardmoreNova RaidersV+5:2620
2Gino TrasattiNorth Shropshire WheelersV+0:4018
3Gareth BrookesNorth Shropshire WheelersV-0:5116

Women’s result:

Women’s Pos’nNameClubCatLap 1TimeWomen’s Points
1Leonie KeelingOswestry Paragon CCW28:0157:2520

Juniors result:

Junior Pos’nNameClubCatLap 1TimeJunior Points
1Henri BedfordRevolutions RacingJ23:0546:4920