Patrick Clark (Team Lifting Gear Products/Cycles In Motion) and Hannah Farran (Team Boompods) took the opening victories of their hill climb season in the men’s and women’s categories in the North Tyneside Riders Hill Climb on Winter’s Gibbet.
Clark, who last tasted an open victory in 2017, took a win at the first time of asking in his 2020 campaign.
The Winter’s Gibbet climbs out from Elsdon in the Northumberland National Park and is 2.2 miles in length with a maximum gradient of 10 per cent at the bottom before levelling off with an average of four per cent.
It was a miserable start to the day for the opening hill climb of the 2020 season in the North East District and Winter's Gibbet was shrouded in low drizzly cloud cover.
However, for the last quarter of the field conditions brightened up and the previously greasy roads dried up nicely for the back markers with very little wind to challenge them.
Clark, aged 24, was scratch rider off and used the best of the conditions to clock a winning time of seven minutes and six seconds.
In a close battle for the podium positions Ben Granger (CCCR) finished just two seconds back in 7.08 and a further two seconds back was Marcus Cram (Blaydon CC) (7.10).
"We rode over to the event this morning and it was pretty grim, to the point that we were considering turning around, but thankfully the weather improved as the morning went on,” said Clark.
“The first bit of the climb is pretty steep, so once that was done, I put it into the big ring and powered over the draggy bits on the course.
“The course had dried up a fair bit by the time I started my ride, thankfully. Once I start, I tend not to get out of the saddle again when climbing.”
Farran, aged 26, was the last woman to start having won the event last season and tasted success once again in a time of 8-57.
Like the men’s race the women’s podium positions were also narrowly settled by a handful of seconds.
Just four seconds behind Farran was Jihanna Allard (PMRR) who clocked 9.01 while Joanne Rea (Blaydon CC) completed the podium places a further second back.
“I’m really happy to take the win today in the first race of the hill climb season, said Farran.
“Coming off the back of no racing, due to Covid-19, I wasn’t sure how it would go. I tried to pace it well and not go off too hard, as it’s a long one, and concentrate on power delivery with it being an undulating course.
“I’m looking forward to the rest of the season now! A big thank you goes to North Tyneside Riders and the timing officials for putting on a fantastic event.”
* All reports are copyright of Cycling Time Trials/Snowdon Sports. Not to be used without permission.
1 Patrick Clark (Team Lifting Gear Products/Cycles In Motion) 7.06
2 Ben Granger (CCCR) 7.08
3 Marcus Cram (Blaydon CC) 7.10
4 John Bowman (Muckle Cycle Club) 7.27
5 Lee Cuthbertson (Muckle Cycle Club) 7.30
=6 Colin Atkinson (Muckle Cycle Club) 7.34
=6 John Russell (Team Bikestop Tyrekey) 7.34
8 Adam Martin (Newcastle Cheviot CC) 7.44
9 Christopher Wilcock (Muckle Cycle Club) 7.47
10 Ben Flanagan (Derwentside CC) 7.52
1 Hannah Farran (Team Boompods) 8.57
2 Jihanna Allard (PMRR) 9.01
3 Joanne Rea (Blaydon CC) 9.02