Sunday’s classic Monsal Hill Climb was won by Charles Taylor (South Pennine RC) and so added his name to some distinguished past winners of the event that includes Tom Simpson, Malcolm Elliott, Darryl Webster, Chris Walker, Dean Downing, Adam Blythe and Russell Downing.
The short 675 yard Peak District climb has a gradient of 1:6 and has been on the racing calendar since 1930. This year’s 79th anniversary event, sponsored by JE James Cycles, A4e and Science in Sport, was organised by Marc Etches of the Sheffrec CC and saw a big entry of 106 riders tackle the climb which benefited from total road closure for the first time.
Large crowds gathered at Monsal Head’s natural amphitheatre finish that gives this climb such a unique atmosphere. The hotel and cafes at the head of the climb did a roaring trade as the crowds ducked in between the rain showers.
A number of past winners were in the crowd and included past Milk Race winner Chris Walker and new Team Sky signing Russell Downing who was on hand to present the prizes afterwards. Downing, who told Cycling Weekly that he has not touched the bike since competing in the road Worlds in Switzerland, was warmly received and had plenty of fans come up to pass on their good wishes for next season.
Also there was two time winner and hill record holder Malcolm Elliott, who rode over from his Sheffield home to witness the last few riders come up the hill and then give a brief interview with race commentator Doug Bond. Elliott’s record time of 1min 14.2 seconds was set in 1981 with three time winner Russ Downing the only rider since who has come close to Elliott’s time in 2003 with a 1 minute 18.3 seconds.
The 2009 RTTC hill climb national championship takes place on October 25 on Pea Royd Lane, Stocksbridge, near Sheffield.
Monsal Hill Climb, October 11, 2009
1. Charles Taylor, South Pennine RC 01:28.9
2. Laurie Brooking, Buxton CC 01:30.6
3. Lee Baldwin, Buxton CC 01:32.5
4. Lee Tunnicliffe, Fit-For / Cycles Dauphin 01:32.4
5. James Allen, Sheffrec CC 01:33.3
6. Peter Johnson, Derby Mercury 01:34.3
7. Sam Clark, Buxton CC 01:35.8
8. Owain Lovell, Ashfield RC 01:36.3
9. Daniel Rimmer, Janus Road Club 01:36
10. Tom Bailey, Rutland CC 01:37.6
School Boy: Ashley Proctor Sheffrec CC 1.43.0
Vets: Neil Bentley Sheffrec CC 01:38.4
Junior: Laurie Brooking, Buxton CC 01:30.6
Women: Alex Deck, JE James RT 01:55.0
Team: Buxton CC
Crowds turned out in force to watch the hill climb action on the classic Peaks course
Vocal roadside support boosts the riders up the steep climb
Women’s winner Alex Deck
Second-placed (senior) and junior winner Laurie Brooking
No shortage of effort from Monsal 2009 winner Charles Taylor
Former winner Russell Downing was there to watch the action