SUNDERLAND Clarion’s Chris Barnard, Steve Gordon and Ingrid Shepherd faced two tough climbs in the Tyne Valley and in the Northumbria and Durham Hill Climb League.
Stage One saw riders take on the climb to Hedley on the Hill from New Ridley, which has been GS Metro’s course for many years.
Yet again, the fastest uphill of the trio was Gordon, clocking a 5:07.7 time which was enough to clinch 13th.
Barnard clocked 5:33.1, while Shepherd came in with 5:55.7 to take second lady on the stage behind Tyneside Vagabond Angela Hibbs (5:47.1).
The stage was won by Michael Jones (Derwentside CC) in 4:28.3, ahead of course record holder and last year’s victor Hetton Hawks’ Luke Mullen (4:37.3) in third and GS Metro’s favourite Carl Donaldson (4:36.3).
Stage Two had riders tackling the East Gate Bank which saw riders climb up from Mickley Square on a shorter and steeper climb.
This saw Ian Lee (RAF CA) win the stage in 3:06.8, ahead of Mullen (3:09.2) and Jones (3:09.4).
For the Clarion, Gordon conquered the slope in 3:36.7, with Barnard coming in with 3:52.4, while Sheperd was only a second off taking the stage as first lady in 4:08.1, while Hibbs came in with 4:07.2.
Overall, Jones’ performances saw him victorious in a combined time of 7:37.7, with Mullen second in 7:46.5. The podium was completed by Donaldson 7:50.1.
Shepherd’s 10:03.8 saw her finish as second lady behind Hibbs (9:54.3), while Gordon finished 14th with 8:44.4, and Barnard was 28th with 9:25.5.
Next up is the Sunderland Clarion event, the longest of the local climbs, with riders tackling the two-mile climb of Silverhills in the Team Valley tomorrow.
A number of Clarion riders will hope that they can put on a good show, with Shepherd hoping to take the spoils against Hibbs.
There will be a number of the Clarion riders hoping to take the Peter Foster Memorial Trophy, for fastest Clarion rider, as last year’s champion Craig Stephenson is absent.
A number of riders used the even longer Hartside Hill Climb as a tune-up, with Steve Gordon the first Clarion rider in 21:29.9, finishing 15th overall, and third in the 40-50 years age group.
Matt France was second of the Clarion riders home in 23:53.4.
Just behind France, and once again second to Vagabonds’ Hibbs, was Shepherd with 24:02.8, while Barnard clocked 24:18.5 on the climb out of Melmerby.
Also representing Clarion were Stephen Kerr (30:35.4) and Allan Smith (31:30.2), who finished 55th and 56th respectively in the field of 58.
H Houghton CC’s Mark Harrison competed in the GS Metro 2 stage Open Hill Climb at Hedley on the Hill, and finished fifth with a time of 7:58 seconds.
Top Placings: 1 Michael Jones (Derwentside CC) 7.37.7 Senior; 2 Luke Mullen (Hetton Hawks) 7.46.5 Senior; 3 Carl Donaldson (GS Metro) 7.50.1 Senior; 4 Ian Lee (RAF CC) 7.54.1 Senior; 5 Mark Harrison (Houghton CC) 7.58.6 Senior; 6 Michael Openshaw (Cestria CC) 7.59.5 Vet 40; 7 Jonathan Bayley (Gosforth RC) 8.04.0 Senior; 8 Stephen Lee (Derwentside CC) 8.08.0 Senior; 9 Ben Lane (GS Metro) 8.19.2 V40; 10 Thomas Hordon (Barnesbury CC) 8.19.6 U18.
On Sunday, CXNE Round three was promoted by Tyneside Vagabonds at Thorneyford Farm, Ponteland, with big fields of competitors.
In the Ladies race, Houghton CC were represented by Alison Raine, riding her first Cyclox event – and she did well to finish 14th.
Paul Whitehill and Colin Humphrey competed in the Vet 40 event which was won by Alan Nixon of Black Hawk Bikes.
The final event of the day was the Senior event which saw David Stevens representing Houghton.
Tony Fawcett (Pioneer Scott Synchros) won the senior event, to make it three out of three so far this season.
Adam Martin (Metaltek) came in second and James Edmond (Ferryhill Wheelers) was third unopposed. Steve Ward (MTS Cycle Sport) just beat off Simon Forster (Tyne & Wear Fire and Rescue) four fourth place.