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.