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Kate Lucas wins East District Women’s Hill Climb Championship in a thriller

Women’s winner & EDCA Champion Kate Lucas (Norwich ABC) in action on Semer Hill. Picture: ROGER RUSH

Women’s winner & EDCA Champion Kate Lucas (Norwich ABC) in action on Semer Hill. Picture: ROGER RUSH


The East District Women’s Hill Climb Championship was decided by just two-tenths of a second with Kate Lucas of Norwich Amateur BC climbing Semer Hill in one minute and 3.1 seconds while Becky Ridge of Manningtree Wheelers went up in 1:03.3, writes Fergus Muir.

Chris Crabtree (Team LCUK) EDCA Men’s Champion on Semer Hill. Picture: ROGER RUSH Chris Crabtree (Team LCUK) EDCA Men’s Champion on Semer Hill. Picture: ROGER RUSH

Even this was not quite as close as 2016 when Lucas lost by one-tenth to Sandra Mackay, while this year’s silver medallist, Becky Ridge, was less than one second behind.

Third in 2017 was Rebecca Johnson (XRT/Elmy Cycles, 1:05.4) with Angela Lessie from promoting club CC Sudbury next in 1:13.1

Lucas came into cycling a few years ago to help recovery from surgery, eventually getting into time-trialling, and with the advent of WERL, the Women’s Eastern Racing League, into hill climbing, the social atmosphere of which she specially enjoyed.

Already course record-holder for the Norfolk climb from Stoke Holy Cross, after her championship win at Semer she told me:

“I’m the wrong side of 40, asthmatic, with two young kids and a job as a physiotherapist….so if I can do it anyone can!!”

Top man was Callum Brown who set a new course record of 39.9 seconds. However Brown is from Yorkshire team B38 so the East District Championship is retained by Chris Crabtree of Team LCUK who was just outside the old record for the climb, with 44.7.

A total of 68 competitors attacked the short, sharp, leaf-strewn climb just off the Hadleigh-Bildeston road, with Tommy Power, just promoted to Elite Category roadman, third in 46.7.

Fourth spot went to Matt Day (48.4) who took a big step up from 11th last year and led his Hadleigh-based TPH teammates Graham Collins (49.1) and Adam Chamberlain (51.5) to the team award.

The Ladies podium: L-R Rebecca Johnson, Kate Lucas, Becky Ridge. Picture: ROGER RUSH The Ladies podium: L-R Rebecca Johnson, Kate Lucas, Becky Ridge. Picture: ROGER RUSH

They just beat Stowmarket & District whose representatives were Alex Harrison (48.1 and also Junior winner), Veteran Paul Moss (49.5) and senior Gary Freeman (52.9).

This wide age-range is not untypical of hill-climbs – the youngest on Semer Hill this year was Abbey Thompson (8) of Ipswich Velo who went up in 1:46.

Winners in the Under 14s were Colchester rider Dexter Mansel-Thomas (51.3) and Isabella Johnson (CC Sudbury, 1:15.1).

With the National Championship on a mile-long hill in Northumberland only two weeks away Pedal Power Ipswich riders looked to longer hills.

Ross Fawcett was fastest overall in the Essex Roads event on the Edwins Hall climb near Woodham Ferrers, familiar to road race riders, in 2.08.4 while Rebecca Johnson (XRT/Elmy Cycles) was top woman in 2:32.3.

Travelling further afield, Josh Aiken, also of Pedal Power Ipswich, faced the fearsome 1487 yard Dovers Hill near Chipping Camden.

Four minutes and 13 seconds-worth of suffering won him second prize – and valuable experience for the Hedley-on-the-Hill ascent on 29th October.

Jason Bouttell from Newmarket tried the relatively new Cycling Time Trials Closed Circuit Championship on the Thruxton motorsport circuit taking third place from over 200 competitors.

Abbey Thompson (Ipswich Velo) was the youngest rider to tackle the climb on Semer Hill. Picture: ROGER RUSH Abbey Thompson (Ipswich Velo) was the youngest rider to tackle the climb on Semer Hill. Picture: ROGER RUSH

Bouttell covered the 11.8 miles in 23:02 (30.738 mph), compared to 22:48 from winner Paul Elcock (AS Test Team).

The Silly Suffolk 201 kilometre Audax riders enjoyed Indian Summer weather as they wended their way from Lowestoft to Framlingham, Bawsey and Orford, before returning via Dunwich and Wenhaston.

Andrew Taylor won the King’s Lynn CC Road Race after a six-man break got clear of the main field near Great Massingham on the second of the four fifteen mile laps.

DAP led an energetic chase, but Strada, who had Thomas Heal in the break, had no interest in helping and eventually a two minute gap opened.

Andrews (VC Norwich) won from Sam Barker (Cambridge CC) followed by Heal, Robin Hawes (Chelmer), Jack Taylor (St Ives) and Jack Ibbotson VC Norwich). Oli Wood of Strada took the bunch sprint for seventh.

In the Godric CC hill climb at Stoke Holy Cross there was a splendid turn-out from the Bungay club 19 of whom took part – providing exactly half the field.

Winners were Morris Bacon and Laura Gilbert.


CC SUDBURY HILL CLIMB (Inc EDCA Championship) Semer: Women 1 Kate Lucas (Norwich ABC, EDCA Champion) ) 1:03:1, 2 Becky Ridge (Manningtree Whs) 1:03.3, 2 Rebecca Johnson (XRT/Elmy) 1:05.4, A Lessie (CC Sudbury) 1:13.1, 5 S Bendall (Tri Sudbury) 1:14.9, 6 I Johnson (CC Sudbury) 1:15.1.

Men: 1 Calum Brown (B38/Underpin) 00:39.9, 2 Chris Crabtree (Team LCUK, EDCA Champion) 44.7, 3 Tommy Power (Pedal Revolution) 46.7, 4 M Day (TPH Racing) 48.4, 5 J Hazelton (Colchester Rovers) 48.5, 6 A Harrison (Stowmarket & District) 48.8.

GODRIC CC HILL CLIMB , Stoke Holy Cross (provisional) : 1 Morris Bacon (DAP CC) 2:16.3, 2 Jake Brockwell (UEA Tri) 2:20.0, 3 Liam Gentry (DAP CC) 2:20.3, 4 Harley Matthews (DAP CC) 2:22.3, 5 P Groombridge (Push Sport) 2:23.1, 6 M Richards (DAP CC) 2:24.5, 7 C Stowe (UEA Tri) 2:29.6, 8 M Curry (Godric CC) 2:32.1, 9= P Marler (Godric CC) and B Horne (Norwich ABC) 2:32.4, 11 J Corner (Diss CC) 2:34.2, 12 G Dilks (NABC) 2:34.5. Women: Laura Gilbert (Godric CC) 3:08.5.

KING’S LYNN CC ROAD RACE, Grimston: 1 Andrew Taylor (VC Norwich) 2h 15m 45, 2 Sam Barker (Cambridge CC), 3 Thomas Heal (Strada-Sport), 4 Robin Hawes (Chelmer CC), 5 Jack Taylor (St Ives CC), 6 Jack Ibbotson (VC Norwich) plus 1: 05, 7 Oli Wood (Strada-Sport) +2:12, 8 Stephen Messenger (East London Velo), 9 Alan Brophy (Peterborough CC), 10 Tiago Fougo (Strada Sport).

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