The National Hill Climb Championships was held on a very technical and challenging course. It was the same hill used for the National in 1994, where Nick Despres had his best result of 10th overall. This year, Nick and his daughter, Heather, travelled up to compete against the best in the country.
The course was 0.9 miles long, with two hairpins of a 20% gradient to start, with a varying gradient thereafter, even with a small right angle downhill towards the finish. The average gradient of the climb was 11%, with the course rising 180m in total. Nick said, “Training for this kind of total ascent was challenging, as the furthest we climb in Guernsey over the same distance is only 90m!”
The weather was surprisingly good, with dry roads and only a minimal headwind on some parts of the course. A large number of spectators turned up to support the event, with the area of Huddersfield being rife with cycling clubs and enthusiasts for the sport.
Heather was competing as a junior girl, finishing 2nd overall in this category. This position, although not improving on last year’s result, was still pleasing, as she had come down with a heavy cold only the week before and was still suffering from it. Nick was competing in the 50-59 age category, which he won the year before. Unfortunately, he was unable to regain this title, frustratingly being beaten by only 0.2 of a second! Overall, the championship was a great event, with a spectacular turnout of hundreds of spectators cheering on the 240 competitors.
Photo courtesy of Nick Despres