Updated: Friday, 17th November 2017 @ 12:59pm

Cycling competitors take on 'The Rake' at Lancashire Road Club Hill Climb

Cycling competitors take on 'The Rake' at Lancashire Road Club Hill Climb

By Carly Turner

Gritted teeth and iron-like thighs were staple requirements for competitors at the Lancashire Road Club Hill Climb in Ramsbottom on Sunday.

The cycling event is now in its twentieth year and next year the course will be the setting for the National Championship Hill Climb.

Seventy competitors took on The Rake, a 947 yard course which climbs 321 feet with an average gradient of 1 in 8.8, with the maximum being a gruelling 1 in 4.8.

Mayor of Bury, Councillor Yvonne Creswell, presented prizes to the winners after the race. She said: “Everybody has done a fantastic job. We are really pleased to host and support the event as it supports the town.”

Crowds lined the route to cheer on the contenders hoping to make it up the exhausting route, some of whom were looking to beat the course record of two minutes 14 seconds.

The race is organised by Lancashire Road Club and first to tackle the course was their club president, Michael Smith who set the bar at 4 minutes 8 seconds.

Other competitors were then set off at one minute intervals and included a father and daughter tandem team of Julian and Emma Monk and the oldest participant, 62-year-old Ken Roberts, who has taken on the course for the last 20 years.

The race was won by Jack Pullar racing for Vanilla Bikes in a time of two minutes 30 seconds. He was followed by five times National Hill Climb Champion and seven times winner of The Rake course, Jim Henderson, who completed the race in two minutes 41 seconds.

Mr Pullar stormed up the hill overtaking James Conway, who was riding for the Metropolitan Police Cycling Club, on his way to victory. 

The Rake’s current women’s record holder, Lynn Hamel who set the fastest women’s time in 2010 of three minutes 12 seconds was the fastest woman on the day and finished the course this year in three minutes 19 seconds.

Ms Hamel said: “It wasn’t a fast day today because the ground was wet and there was a bit of a headwind coming round one of the corners. I got here two hours before the start to prepare and rode the course to get a feel for it.

“I took the start slow to save my energy for the end and was really pleased with how I finished the race.”

Gwyn Lovibond, 16, had taken advantage of a teacher’s strike earlier in the year to practice the course and it paid off as he was the fastest juvenile finisher on the day in 3 minutes and 1 second.

Councillor Creswell said she had really enjoyed watching the event and was thrilled to see the hundreds that had turned out to show their support.

She added: “It was a great rehearsal for next year’s National Championships and I am hoping to see thousands here.”