Hell of the North Cotswolds

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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

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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
day.


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
12.


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

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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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