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Graham Kemp and Christina Murray both broke competition records on their way to capturing 24-hour time-trial crowns on the roads of Cheshire on Saturday and Sunday.
It was Kemp’s first attempt at the 24-hour title and one that was a main priority after witnessing the race from the outside last season.
“I saw the crowds at the finish and I just had an instant love for it, so I started to plan with my dad and coach last year and I just had to have a go at it this year,” said Kemp.
The Team Bottrill rider was on course to push Andy Wilkinson’s previous competition record to the wire for much of the competition and despite a hairy spell around sixteen hours in, Kemp ploughed on to provisionally topple the previous record by around three miles.
Reigning champion Andy Jackson was in good form but had to be taken to hospital after a collision which left Kemp as arguably the lone contender as the hours went by, and he eventually amassed a provisional distance of 544.32 miles at the close of the 24 hours.
“The record wasn’t really an aim but my coach and I had worked out 22.9mph roughly worked out to 549 miles so I had a little clue and I’m just so pleased, I can’t really put it into words yet,” added Kemp.
Michael Broadwith (Arctic Aircon RT) finished second with a provisional distance of 533.99 miles with team-mate Nick Clarke finishing on 528.02.
Christina Murray (Army Cycling) was in supreme form herself and obliterated the previous course record set by Christine Roberts which had stood for 26 years.
“For the most part I didn’t really know what distance I would finish with until I crossed the line – Once I knew that the record was in sight, it spurred me on and I just raced the last two hours and put everything out there,” said Murray.
Murray competed in last season’s title race and faltered around the 18-hour mark, but this time she dug deep and found a way to continue, eventually racking up 478.42 miles provisionally – 17 miles more than Roberts’ previous record.
“I’ve got no words to be honest,” she said. “I’m always referred to as Keith Murray’s sister so I’m hoping from now on that he will now be Christina Murray’s brother – I’m shell-shocked!” she said.
The women’s category produced some strong times – in fact, Christine Roberts’ record set in 1993 was broken three times on the day as Pip Jenkins (Southborough & District Wheelers) clocked a provisional 463.80 miles to finish third before Crystal Spearman pipped her at the death with 464.70 miles to finish second.
* All reports are copyright of Cycling Time Trials/Snowdon Sports. Not to be used without permission. This report by Jack Cudworth.