Andrew Feather (HuntBikeWheels.com) came out on top in the Halifax Imperial Wheelers’ Ripponden Bank hill climb, while Mary Wilkinson (Yorkshire Road Club) was the fastest female.
Both riders beat the previous course records for their respective competitions.
36-year-old Feather was riding the course for the very first time and was able to put himself on top of the podium and break the course record, riding a time 7.5 seconds quicker than the previous best with 3:10.0.
Taking second was Tom Bell (High North Performance) with a time of 3:11.5 and in third, completing the podium was Jude Taylor (Crimson Orientation Marketing RT) he clocked in at 3:24.3.
Afterwards, reigning national champion Feather said: “You’ve really got to pick your line on that first bit as it’s quite a rough surface – again, everything comes down to fractions of a second. It was good to do today as it’s quite similar in length to the Nationals course.
“Tom and I are both neck and neck at the moment, you can see it on the data afterwards when we both upload our rides that we are literally within a second of each other. We were saying openly that next week can go either way. There’s the reassurance of the electronic timing chips, because it could be really, really close between us two.”
In the women’s event it was Mary Wilkinson that was victorious, completing the course in a time that saw her knock 17 seconds off the previous course record. The new women’s course record stands at 3:56.6.
Jo Blackburn (Team Bottrill) was the next quickest woman, 4:19.5 was her time. Jo Cebrat (Bury Clarion CC) occupied the final available spot on the women’s podium after riding a 5:39.9.
Wilkinson finished second in the Women’s National Hill Climb Championships last year, missing out on the top spot by three seconds. She will be looking to take the top spot this year and she has been in great form coming up to the Nationals.
Speaking after the event, Wilkinson said: “This isn’t a race I’ve done before so I’m feeling really good right now. I’ve never ridden the climb before today but managed to do a recce this morning.
“It’s steep but not ridiculously steep and I managed to get into a good rhythm and push on all of the way through. That’s me done racing now until the Nationals. I feel as though I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been and I’ve done everything I wanted to in the lead-up, so I can’t do any more now. What will be, will be, on the big day.”
* All reports are copyright of Cycling Time Trials/Snowdon Sports. Not to be used without permission. This report by Neral Buckley.