Defending national champion Richard Bussell (AeroCoach) goes into Sunday’s 2016 National Hill-Climb Championship as the last man off in a top-class field of 240 riders for the event in Derbyshire.
Being hosted by Matlock CC, the event is using the longer 834-metre version of the Bank Road course in the centre of Matlock.
Most riders are off at 30-second intervals until the final 60 riders begin, when they revert to minute intervals with Bussell being last off at 2.30pm.
Many riders will fancy their chances of scuppering Bussell’s plans to defend his title, with several riders recording deserved victories at events across the country.
2014 National champion Dan Evans (Team Elite-Paul Bethell Electrical) starts at 2.20pm and will be hoping to take back the title he lost to Bussell last year, but Joe Clark (Envelopemaster-Giant Sheffield) is also in great form and starts on a ‘ten’ mark at 2.10pm.
2013 champion Tejvan Pettinger (Sri Chinmoy CT) – who has recovered from the injury which blighted him earlier in the season – could challenge for the podium when he starts at 1.50pm, while 2008 winner and reigning CTT champion of champions Matt Clinton is off at 1.40pm.
But a doubt for the national championships is Adam Kenway (Metaltek-Kuota) who was knocked off his bike last week and is having various hospital checks before deciding whether to ride.
Defending women’s champion Maryka Sennema (Paceline RT) is the last of the women to tackle the climb and starts at 1.30pm, while other names who could challenge for the win include Fiona Burnie (Bishop Auckland CC) who beat Sennema in last week’s Matlock CC event on the Bank Road course, albeit over a course which was 200 metres shorter.
Also faster than Sennema in last weeks’ Bank Road event was Emilie Verokken (Langsett Cycles RT), while other top names in the field include Alice Lethbridge (Starley Racing), Joanne Jago (performance Cycles), Lou Bates (Veloschils-Interbike) and Becky Lewis (Wrexham RC).
Away from the National Championships, Sussex Nomads are staging their traditional climb of Ditchling Beacon on Sunday morning.
Prolific time trial rider Mark Emsley (Team ASL360) is the last man off in Sussex
Among Emsley’s time trial results this season he has victories in the South Eastern RC 10 and the Eastbourne Rovers 10 back in August, and was second in the East Sussex CA 10 three weeks ago, as well as finishing runner-up in the Southdown Velo 25.
The field of 60 riders includes 10 women, with Debbie Percival (34 Nomads CC) the last to go, two minutes before Emsley at 9am. Also in the field are espoir Frances Bromley (Buxton CC) who was second female in the East Sussex CA hill-climb two weeks ago, as well as second in the Brighton Mitre climb the week before that.