Awards Presentation

After a long delay due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Rossendale Road Club’s 2020 awards ceremony finally took place at the weekend, with a garden party attended by members, family and friends. Steve Gregory won the Harry Law summer series TT award with Roy Flanagan in second and Mark Berry in third. Gregory has been absent from the series this year, concentrating on his exploits in longer distance triathlon events. Mark Berry also took the Crown point hill climb cup and The Bradshaw shield for the club’s best performance in a 50 mile TT.

Best rider overall though, was Patrick Hickey, taking the 10m and 25m TT awards, the President’s Cup for the Whalley – Settle event and the Ashworth & Hoyle trophy for the Roadman’s (Deerplay) hill climb, topped by the club’s most prestigious award – the David Cross Shield, voted by club members for Clubman of the Year.

Unfortunately, Hickey has since suffered an accident ending his racing for 2021, having been knocked off his bike in Edenfield during a training ride.

Further afield, Josh Whitehead, both a former Rossendale Harriers and Road Club member is now making a name for himself in the top class road racing in the UK, recently winning the Lancaster Grand Prix, against top professional riders in the British Cycling national series.

Bury Clarion visit for their 10 mile TT.

At the latest round of the Harry Law midweek time trial series on Tuesday, Bury Clarion club turned out in force for this event which was nominated as their 10 mile 2021 championship. Joe Cadwallader took top spot in their championship and was also the winner overall. Joe finished in an excellent time of 24:15 for the hilly 10 mile event. Second place was taken by Mark Jones, also of Bury, in a time of 24:39. Possibly more impressive though, was the third place of Alex Heyworth of Directions Racing. Paul finished in a time of 24:53 on a standard road bike. Best valley club member was Carl Moore in 7th in an excellent 26:07, followed by Paul Warrener in 26:31 and Roy Flanagan in 26:50.

Rossendale junior ladies have also been competing successfully recently. Eve Davies-Heywood of Crawshawbooth took the Junior Female Trophy in the recent NLTTA time trial championships on the L101 Garstang course. Eve finished in a time of 27.09 for the 10 mile circuit, an average of just over 22 mph. Elsie Haygarth of Helmshore was 2nd junior lady in the North of England MTB championships.

Patrick Hickey second to Mark Holton at Garstang.

Top Rossendale Road Club member Patrick Hickey continued his fine season of time trials at the North Lancs 10 mile championship on Saturday. He won with a superb time of 20:18m, an average speed of 29.6 mph. He adds this to his 25 mile crown which he won just a few weeks ago. In the Garstang event’s overall results, Hickey ran top national rider Mark Holton of the sponsored Drag2Zero team close, losing out by a mere 15 seconds.

Other valley club members were Roy Flanagan, continuing his come back after illness in 39th place in a time of 23:42, Chris Thomas, slightly disappointed with his 24:54 (59th) and super-vet John Leach in 28:37 (68th).

On the road racing scene, RRC’s club secretary Tony Bowler continued his progression in the ‘Crit’ series. He gained promotion to Category 2 in the British Cycling standings at the latest round at the Steve Burke centre in Barrowford.

There should be a good contest at the club’s weekly time trial at Hapton next Tuesday, when the Bury Clarion club will be challenging the valley club on their home circuit. Racing starts at 7pm and all are welcome, sign on from 6:30pm.

Whalley – Settle and Bolton by Bowland Time trials.

Last Tuesday, Rossendale Road Club hosted the President’s Cup. This is an annual 21 mile cycling time trial from Whalley to Settle. On a perfect summer evening, Bury Clarion brought along a strong squad to challenge the valley club. However they couldn’t match the outstanding performance from Patrick Hickey who not only won the event in a time of 44:01 min, but also set a new course record. Joe Cadwalleder was the best BC rider and pushed Rossendale’s Mark Berry back into 3rd place by just 10 seconds, 46:18 to Berry’s 46:28. Other valley member’s results were Tony Bowler 5th (48:21) and Roy Flanagan 9th (51:44).

In a recent new addition to the club’s activities, several members are now taking an interest in midweek ‘crit’ racing, run at Salt Ayre and the Steven Burke Hub at Barrowford. ‘Crit’, or criterium, racing is mass start road racing, generally held on short, traffic free circuits.These are ideal for novices and juniors, and there are plenty of options available in the North West. At the latest event at Barrowford, Tony Bowler finished a strong 8th in the 3rd/4th category race, with Mark Berry 19th and Iain Hazell 12th. Visit British Cycling website for more details.

On the social scene, club members and friends had a very pleasant ride through West Lancashire, taking in the dam top of Belmont Reservoir. All are welcome on these rides which take place every Thursday, leaving Kay St car park at 6:15pm . Rides take around 2 hours and the pace is set to suit everyone, with 2 groups being the norm, and all are welcome to join in.

Next Tuesday sees the return to Hapton for the evening 10 mile time trial. As before, all are welcome, enter on the line from 6:30pm with first rider off at 7pm.

Bolton by Bowland SPOCO

After 2 previous cancellations, Rossendale Road club’s time trial at Bolton by Bowland finally took place on Saturday afternoon, but only just – heavy rain in the morning stopped just before the 2pm start, allowing the event to go ahead safely. There were quite a few non-starters, due to Covid and the threatening weather, but the overall standard remained high, the overall winner being notable hill climber Dave Huck of Barrow Central Wheelers, posting a time of 24:28 for the 11 mile circuit.

On unfamiliar hilly ground, Patrick Hickey of the valley club couldn’t reproduce his NLTTA championship form of the previous week finishing in 18th place with 27:06, although he was riding on a standard road bike. Club colleague Tony Bowler had a storming ride to 11th in 26:47, and it was a welcome return to racing for Roy Flanagan after a long break through injury, recording 28:43 for his 25th spot.

On Tuesday next, 13th July, the club will be hosting the annual Whalley – Settle time trial, with sign-on from 6:30pm for a 7pm start at the lay-by on Clitheroe bypass. All welcome for this 21 mile event.

Mountain Bike Madness and Time Trialling news

On Wednesday last, the 2nd round of the 2021 Mountain Bike Madness mid-week series was held at Lee Quarry, hosted by Rossendale Road Club. The event attracted more than 100 MTB competitors from around the North West and West Yorkshire and the recent dry weather produced some fast and exciting racing, only slowed by the amount of climbing involved on the course set by organiser Dave Haygarth.

A single race is arranged with category groups setting off at timed intervals – the Senior Male racers off first, and the ‘Enthusiasts’ off last. In over an hour’s racing, the Elite men’s event was won by Paul Oldham of Hope Factory Racing, better known for his cyclo-cross prowess, but he was pushed close by Ramsbottom’s Lewis Craven, just over a minute behind. Other local riders included Phil Simcock, also from Ramsbottom, in 13th, Stacksteads Gaz Pemberton 29th and Helmshore’s Carl Nelson in 33rd.

Elsie Haygarth of Helmshore finished 3rd in the Juvenile Women’s category, with Iona Simcock 5th. The next event at Lee Quarry is on Wednesday 7th July.

RRC members have also been busy on the road, and club secretary Tony Bowler took his best result of the year with a fine 3rd place in the Category 3 road race on the Steven Burke circuit at Barrowford last Thursday.

On the time trial scene, Chris Thomas posted another 25 mph+ race for this year, with a time of 23:43 for the 10 mile charity event at Levens on Saturday, with John Leach finishing with 27:18.

At the same venue on Sunday, but this time extended to 25 miles, Patrick Hickey scored his first open event win of the year for the Eddie Howson Memorial Trophy, with a very fast time of 51:59, an average of almost 29 mph and a new PB for himself. Dave Haygarth showed he can also perform away from his normal off-road success in 23rd place, and dipped under the ‘hour’ with a time of 58:43

Patrick sets new 100 mile time trial club record.

Rossendale Road Club’s Patrick Hickey continued his stunning form at the weekend breaking Billy Rogers’ old club record for a 100 mile time trial, posting an impressive time of 3:47:20 for this demanding distance. Hickey smashed the record by some 5 minutes, finishing 4th overall in the NLTTA’s event on the A66 between Keswick and Cockermouth in Cumbria. This is just his 3rd season riding in time trials, shortened of course by the Covid pandemic, and more honours must surely be due when full racing returns in earnest.

Nearer to home, Paul Warrener was the leading local rider in the club’s 10 mile TT event at Hapton on Tuesday, finishing 3rd overall in a time of 26:48. The impressive winner was 15 year old Patrick Casey, posting a time of 24:30 on a standard road bike.

The series continues next Tuesday at Hapton, and all are welcome to come and give time trialling a go, sign on from 6:30pm at the entrance to Network 65.