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Hell of the North Cotswolds

07:10 28th October 2010 by Bikemagic
The HONC is a must do event

This popular classic event promoted jointly by Winchcombe CC and Cheltenham and County CC will be held on Sunday 10 April 2011 starting from the picturesque Cotswold Town of Winchcombe with a mass start of riders.

2011 is the 27th year of the event. The first event in 1984 was the brainchild of the late Pat Smith and Tim Groom who had ridden the Paris-Roubaix sportif and wanted to bring the flavour of that event to the Cotswolds.

The event has taken place in April each year except for two occasions. In 1986 it was abandoned due to deep snow, making it impossible to travel and so it was postponed to September. Also, in 2001, when we had the outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease, a similar postponement also occurred. Last year the event attracted over 1100 riders.


There will be a 100Km route for the really keen riders and a 50Km route for those who know how tough the off-road Cotswold Hills can be! The routes will be signed with direction arrows throughout, supplemented by a printed map and will also be available as a digital Tracklogs GPS route.

The event will use a classic route consisting of tarmac roads and bridleways including everything from technical rocky single track to rutted possibly muddy tracks and will offer a challenge to all levels of rider. Refreshments will be available at approximately half distance.

All riders must wear a Helmet whilst participating in the event. Riders will be identified by a self adhesive number that will be affixed to the helmet. A limit of 1200 entrants will be accepted and all entries must be made in advance.

Entry fees

Riders over 18 years of age £15.00 pre-entry only Youth Riders (under 18 years of age on 10/04/2011) £6.00 pre- entry only. Last year the organisers donated over £3000 to various charities including Cancer Research and the Air Ambulance.

Entering the event

Online entering will be available from 3rd January 2011, 10am onwards.

Go to the following website www.honc.org.uk for more info.

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HONC Junior Award – supported by Marin

Continuing the tradition of recent year’s awards, Marin will present a brand new bike to be drawn out of the hat for one lucky under 18 year old who completes the HONC course. This year, the model of bike is a Marin Shoreline Trail cross-country mountain bike with a lightweight double-butted 6061-T6 aluminium alloy frame, 100mm travel Suntour XCM V3 front suspension fork, Shimano 171 crankset, Shimano drivetrain and V- brakes, Geax Saguaro tyres. This bike retails at £399.


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Hell of the North Cotswolds

03:41 28th April 2005 by Bikemagic

1,000 riders file out from the start, heading for the first climb up Cleeve Hill

Following the very successful 21st running of the Hell of the North Cotswolds event in near perfect conditions, the organisers are already busy planning next year’s event that will take place on 9 April 2006 with a mass start at 9am.

The 2006 event will see the same format but will feature new 50km and 100km routes. Because the 2005 event was over-subscribed the organisers are planning to only accept the first 1,000 pre-entries and there will be NO entries accepted on the day. So make a note in your diary and make sure you get your entry in early to avoid disappointment!

Although the event is a reliability trial, not a race, some riders manage to complete the course faster than others. Riders worthy of note in 2005 were the fastest man to complete 100km, Richard Wood (4:09), fastest lady Helen Purdy (4:55), fastest man over 50km Ian Travis (2:40) and fastest lady Rebecca Jones (3:22). The team award was presented to Cheltenham and County Wheelers who had 25 riders.

Thanks to the continued help and support from Marin Mountain Bikes we were again able to award a Marin B17 Trail Hardtail bike to encourage more juniors to ride. This year the junior entries were up yet again and so the plan is working. This year’s winner of the Marin B17 was Mattew O’Murphy (15) from Wotten under Edge.

Every year, after the expenses for the event have been met, the remainder of the money collected is donated to a range of charities including Cancer Research UK, Air Ambulance, and St John Ambulance.
A big thank you to all who helped or participated in the 2005 HONC event making it the best so far and we look forward to seeing you all again on Sunday 9 April 2006.

Hell of the North Cotswolds

09:02 21st January 2004 by Bikemagic

Sunday 4 April will see the twentieth running of the legendary Hell of the North Cotswolds Reliability Trial over a 100km (or 50km for the sensible people) course starting from Winchcombe in the Cotswolds and comprising a mixture of Tarmac, rutted tracks and singletrack, a combination that’s probably most effectively tackled with three different bikes. But we digress.

The 2003 event attracted 950 riders, and there’s a limit of 1,000 entries so get in quick. As it’s the twentieth year there’ll be a commemorative finisher’s medal for everyone who, self-explanatorily, finishes.

And there’s an added incentive for younger riders. If you’re under 18, pre-enter the event and finish in one piece, you’ll go into the hat (not literally, it’d have to be a monster titfer) for a brand spanking new Marin B17 hardtail. Definitely worth showing up for…

Entry fees are a very reasonable £8 up front or a tenner on the day (a fiver or seven quid for the under-18s). Entry forms are available on the websites of the joint organising clubs, Cheltenham & County CC and Winchcombe CC. For further details email HONCWinchcombe@aol.com or call either Brain Hayward (01242 603418) or Pat Alexander (01242 528815).

Hell of the North Cotswolds

09:44 16th April 2003 by Bikemagic

Sunday 13 April saw the small Cotswold town of Winchcombe overrun by over 950 cyclists for the start of The 19th Hell of the North Cotswolds Event, organised jointly by Cheltenham and County and Winchcombe Cycling clubs.

As is now traditional the convoy of riders were lead through the centre of Winchcombe with a police escort and on as far as the first main junction where the riders were left to their own devices to navigate either a 50 or 100km route round the North Cotswold countryside. The initial pace was set very high by a tandem giving the police car a run for his money in the 30mph zone through Winchcombe. The police car managed to open up a noticeable gap once out of the speed restriction…

At the top of the first off road section and climb things had started to string out with a group of about 10 riders slowly pulling away from the main group, setting a good pace with the expert map reading skill of Steve Heading (Whyte Bikes) and a bit of local knowledge from Stuart Hopkins (FC Maestro, also on a Whyte PRST-4). The lead group arrived at the halfway halt still intact with just over two hours gone.

A very quick turn around saw a smaller group of five riders head off together for the second leg with Stuart Hopkins the first to drop off the back on the climb out of Guiting. Jonathan Edwards (also riding a Marin) was the next to crack on the climb out of Turkdean.

The remaining riders, Steve Heading, Nic Burridge (Marin) and Ben Davies (Cheltenham Cycles) worked well together over the remainder of the course, With Davies finally cracking within sight of the finish – the sting in the tail of Cleeve Common’s technical rocky tracks took its toll on Davies and his cyclo cross bike, a gutsy ride keeping up with the full suspension machines of the other two for a majority of the course.

The remaining two of Burridge and Heading cruised home completing the tough 97km course in a new record time of just over four hours (about a 15mph average), Davies coming a further 10 minutes back after an off on Cleeve common.

Many thanks to all the organisers and helpers from Cheltenham and County and Winchcombe cycling clubs for organising such an excellent and fun event.

Hell of the North Cotswolds

09:59 17th March 2003 by Bikemagic

Sunday 13 April sees a little race in France called the Paris-Roubaix. You might have heard of it. Large sections take place on rubbish old cobbled roads, giving the race a reputation for toughness and leading to its more familiar nickname of the Hell of the North.

Inspired by this race, the Winchcombe Cycling Club and Cheltenham and County Cycling Club have been running their Hell of the North Cotswolds “reliability trial” for 18 years. It’s a 100km route (with a 50km option) over a mixture of tarmac, “white” roads and bridleways – about 25% of it is “properly” off-road but a lot of the roads aren’t exactly smooth… The organisers have added more off-road for this year, and say that the route is “significantly more challenging”.

The HONC is held on the same day as the Paris-Roubaix, with the 19th running of the event therefore on Sunday 13 April at 9am. Last year over 900 riders took part, with the mixed terrain leading to a mixed bag of bikes from full-sus MTBs through cyclo-cross bikes to tourers…

Enter before April 1 and it’ll cost you a paltry six quid. You can download an entry form from the Cheltenham and County Cycling Club website. If you’d like to know more, contact Brian Hayward on 01242 603418 or Pat Alexander on 01242 535654 (weekdays). Or email honcwinchcombe@aol.com.


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Hell of the North Cotswolds

10:17 17th April 2002 by Bikemagic

The 18th Hell of the North Cotswolds (HONC) had a record turn out last weekend with a field of 903 riders, most of whom took on the longer route of 92km, with top slot finally going to Marin team rider Simon Richardson. Meanwhile the less experienced (or less fit) riders opted for the shorter, 52km distance.

In the shorter distance it was Rick Appleton from Cropthorne, Worcestershire, who romped home first in 3 hours. But the first rider back in the much longer distance was just 45 minutes behind him, putting in perspective the performance of the top riders. 18-year-old Richardson, from Leeds, was closely followed in second by local rider Duncan Jameson (Cheltenham & County). Behind them in third and fourth place respectively were Whyte team riders Steve Heading and Aiden Lehup.

Other notable rides were from Jezz Scarratt from Taunton who’s single leg didn’t stop him completing the long course and Leo White from Cheltenham who rode the short course on a uni-cycle. Juniors Andrew and James Cowan from Solihull were singled out by the organisers for a great time finish on the long course.

Of the 903 entrants, 746 completed the course within the time limit. And organisers estimate that together, riders in the event covered a whopping 70,800 km, that’s 43,700 miles, 40% of which was off road. Unsurprisingly, the detailed route sheets and coloured ordnance survey maps didn’t stop loads of people getting lost and adding a few more km to their tally.

Winchcombe Cycling Club and the Cheltenham and County Cycling Club jointly promoted the event, and by all accounts made it a stonking success that will probably attract even more riders next year.


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Hell of the North Cotswolds

11:33 3rd October 2001 by Bikemagic

Four hundred and eighty cyclists assembled at Winchcombe Community School to
start the 17th edition of this “classic” “Hell of the North Cotswolds Cycle
Reliability Trial”, at 9.00am on Sunday 16th September 2001.

The organisers had originally planned for April 8th to be the big day, but
the Foot & Mouth Crisis put paid to those intentions. Nevertheless, a new
date was set when it was hoped that the County’s bridlepaths would once again
be open and a great deal of publicity work was undertaken to inform the keen
cyclists of this change. Thankfully, together with a bright start to the
day, that encouraged greater numbers of riders to enter than had been
anticipated. One hundred and ninety six had entered in advance and two
hundred and eighty four entered on the day. There were entries from all over
the UK, plus one from Switzerland and two from Canada.

Prior to the start, all participants joined together in a minutes silence in
memory of the tragic events which had unfolded on the other side of the
Atlantic Ocean earlier this week. Then, en masse, the cyclists headed off
through Winchcombe behind a Police lead vehicle for the initial 5km. For the
ensuing 90 kilometres they were in for a 65%-35% mix of hilly road and
off-road riding, amongst of the best that the North Cotswolds could offer.
Picturesque villages such as Upper Slaughter and Guiting Power, plus some
magnificent views from the tops of the climbs, helped to take the riders
minds off the challenging task ahead. For those who couldn’t managed the
full ride distance, there was a shorter route available over 65km. This
became popular once cold showers replaced the bright sunny start to the

The first rider on the 95km route to arrive back at the headquarters was
James Richardson from Bristol. On the 65km route, it was Julian Lowther,
also from Bristol, who set the fastest pace in a time of 3 hours and 34
minutes. The Team Cup prize was awarded this year to Velo Club Ashby of
Leicestershire whilst the youngest rider to complete the course was aged

Part of the income of the entry fees and other donations will be forwarded to
the RNIB and PHAB charities. Special thanks go to the many helpers and
marshals from the two organising Clubs, Winchcombe Cycling Club and the
Cheltenham & County Cycling Club, without whom this event could not have
taken place.

Next year’s event, the 18th in succession, is scheduled to take place on
Sunday 14th April. Assuming that the Foot & Mouth crisis is then finally
defeated, this will directly restore the link to the classic continental
cycle race of Paris-Roubaix which is also to be held then and is always the
true inspiration for the HONC.

Hell of the North Cotswolds

11:04 21st December 2000 by Bikemagic

The now legendary Hell of the North Cotswolds Cycle Reliability Trial will take place on: Sunday, 8th April 2001 with a mass Start at 09:00am.

Originally inspired by the “Hell of the North” Paris-Roubaix race over miles of sketchy, smashed French cobbles the reliability trial starts and finishes in the picturesque town of Winchcombe. The routes are a combination of tarmac, “white” roads and bridleways. 100 km and 50 km route options are available for participants and a food stop at 40km is provided by the PHAB charity. The event regularly attracts an entry in excess of 500 riders, on everything from vintage bikes to full sus MTBs, with tourers, cyclo-cross bikes in between. The route is traditionally changed every year and you have to navigate by reading off of a route card.

It’s best to enter in advance and it’ll costs £6.00 for adults and £3.00 for under 18 year olds. Entries may be accepted on the day, but are subject to a surcharge of £1.00.

You can get your entry by sending a stamped, self-addressed envelope to

Brian Hayward, Event Secretary, Highwheeler House, Neata Farm, Greet, Glos. GL54 5BL.

Although it might be easier to e-mail the event secretary, ring 01242 603418, or check out the website: website.


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