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Former British MTB marathon champion Tom Bell (High North Performance) proved he is equally adept at shorter distances when he powered to victory in the Ilkeston CC hill-climb on Holly Lane in Ambergate, Derbyshire, on Sunday.
The 30-year-old professional rider and coach – who placed 14th and 16th respectively in the last two National Hill-Climb Championships - covered the 1.1-mile climb in 2-59.2, the only rider to go under the three-minute mark.
That gave him the victory by 3.7 seconds from three-time Holly Lane winner Adam Kenway (Vitus Pro Cycling), while Andy Nichols (Team Lifting Gear Products) was third, another 2.4 seconds back.
Meanwhile in the women’s event Yorkshire Road Club’s Mary Wilkinson took the win in 3-57.8, while Zoe Langham (Beeston CC) was second. Third in the National Championships last season, Rebecca Richardson (Team Brother UK) had to settle for third after struggling to clip in at the start.
This was the fourth time Holly Lane has been used for this event, and the first time it has been dry.
The fastest team of three riders was the Team Lifting Gear Products/Cycles in Motion trio of Andy Nichols, Calum Brown and Luke Hind, while the pick of the veteran riders was the promoting club’s own Darrell Clarke with 3-27.2.
Bell’s performance came as a shock to many in the hill-climb fraternity, but he will no doubt be a watched man in his next few performances. He has entered the East Lancashire Road Club two-stage hill-climb on September 20, as well as the Rutland CC climb of Mam Nick on October 10 and Matlock CC’s Riber climb the following weekend.
It remains to be seen whether he enters the National Championship!
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1. Tom Bell (High North Performance) 2-59.2
2. Adam Kenway (Vitus Pro Cycling) 3-02.9
3. Andy Nichols (Team Lifting Gear Products) 3-05.3
4. Kirk Vickers (Holohan Coaching) 3-13.2
5. Leon Wright (Race Hub) 3-14.6
6. Craig Rogers (Cambridge Univ CC) 3-15.8
7. Jonathan Morris (AeroCoach) 3-20.7
8. Calum Brown (Team Lifting Gear Products) 3-24.1
9. David Fellows (Solihull CC) 3-24.5
10. Luke Hind (Team Lifting Gear Products) 3-26.5
1. Mary Wilkinson (Yorkshire Road Club) 3-57.8
2. Zoe Langham (Beeston CC) 4-07.9
3. Rebecca Richardson (Team Brother UK) 4-08.0
Team: Team Lifting Gear Products (Nichols, Brown, Hind)
Veterans: Darrell Clarke (Ilkeston CC) 3-27.2