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National Hill Climb Champion Andrew Feather (HuntBikeWheels.Com) started his season with victory in the Buxton CC/ Sett Valley Cycles hill climb on Bunsall Cob, while Joanna Blackburn (Team Bottrill) won the women’s event.
Feather, aged 36, had an unbeaten season in 2020 with 14 victories to his name including the national title.
On his first open hill climb appearance since winning the National Hill Climb Championships last October, Feather showed his early season form covering the course of 0.9 miles in three minutes and 55.4 seconds.
It was the first time the 0.9-mile climb has been used for an open event and some of the country’s best hill climbers were keen to test the course in the Goyt Valley.
Starting near the Errwood Reservoir the first part of the climb followed the route of the former railway line up the steep incline of 12 per cent towards Long Hill.
At the top of the incline the road flattened for a short 200-metre section before climbing steeply once more to the finish.
Tom Bell (High North Performance) finished runner-up just second behind Feather in the National Hill Climb Championships last season.
Bell came into the event full of confidence having got his season off to a perfect start by winning the Ilkeston Cycle Club HC last weekend.
However, he had to settle for the runners-up position finishing five seconds behind Feather clocking 4-00.5.
Jonathan Morris (AeroCoach) showed his improvement over the summer leading the battle for third finishing in 4-17.7 ahead of the returning Dan Evans (ASSOS Speed Club UK) who missed last season’s hill climb season.
Evans finished leading veteran in 4-22.4 ahead of Tony Cope (Leek CC - Den Engel Belgian Bar) in 5-00.5 and Jon Wild (Veloviewer) was third in the age category (5-03.5).
George Giffin (Innovation Racing) was the only junior boy competing covering the course in 5-49.7.
“It was a strong field and I think it will be similar to last year where the margins will be close at the top of the field,” said Feather.
“Even though I managed to do quite well I can’t rest on my laurels as it is all pretty tight. It was interesting to see where everybody is and good to do a new course.
“I like to ride new courses as I find it difficult to ride the same ones each year. The hill had a nice tailwind which made the middle section quite fast and I think I paced it well.
“Tom Bell is going well and I think he’s going to be my closest competitor this year I think. It’s quite early in the season but it was nice to get going.
“I’m a bit heavier than last year so I’ve got a couple of kilogrammes to lose.”
In the women’s event Blackburn, from Sheffield, continued her winning form clocking a time of five minutes and nine seconds.
Blackburn has also won the Team Bikestop Tyrekey HC, Sitwell CC HC and Yorkshire RC HC in recent weeks and added another win to her tally.
Rebecca Richardson (Team Brother UK) had to miss last year’s National Hill Climb Championships after finishing third in 2019.
She finished second behind Blackburn in the Yorkshire RC HC and had to settle for the runners-up position again finishing 11 seconds back in 5-20.7.
Leading veteran woman was Jessica Evans (ASSOS Speed Club UK) who finished third overall in 5-42 ahead of Sophie Yarwood (Macclesfield Wheelers) in 6-16 while Tracy Gregory (Buxton CC/Sett Valley Cycles) was third in the age category (9-27.1).
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1 Andrew Feather (HuntBikeWheels.Com) 3.55
2 Tom Bell (High North Performance) 4.00
3 Jonathan Morris (AeroCoach) 4.17
4 Dan Evans (ASSOS Speed Club UK) 4.22
5 Leon Wright (Race Hub) 4.28
6 Alex Raynard (Team Lifting Gear Products/Cycles In Motion) 4.28
Veteran: Dan Evans (ASSOS Speed Club UK) 4.22
Junior: George Giffin (Innovation Racing) 5.49
1 Joanna Blackburn (Team Bottrill) 5.09
2 Rebecca Richardson (Team Brother UK) 5.20
3 Jessica Evans (ASSOS Speed Club UK) 5.42
4 Sophie Yarwood (Macclesfield Wheelers) 6.16
5 Iona Sewell (Datalynx-Parenesis Cycling) 7.00
6 Nicola Soden (Datalynx-Parenesis Cycling) 7.16