Harrison’s king of the hill for Houghton hat-trick

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MARK Harrison crowned a magnificent season by securing victory in Houghton Cycling Club’s annual Hill Climb championship at Quarington Hill.

This was his third victory in succession in this event, and his most impressive victory to date.

He clocked two minutes on the nose, with a six-second advantage over his nearest rival, Benn Lane of GS Metro.

Houghton had 18 riders in a field of 42 for the open event which attracted the cream of the crop from top cycling clubs in the area.

Although Harrison stole the glory, the race for the other podium places was a closer affair.

Only five seconds separated second and fourth, with Jonathan Bayley (Gosforth RC) pipping Steve Gordon (Sunderland Clarion) for third place.

Paul Whitehill was the second fastest Houghton rider (2min 32sec), followed closely by Ray Robinson (2.35), who heads off to Sheffield tomorrow full of confidence for the National Hill Climb championship on Pea Royd Lane.

Gordon’s strong performance to take fourth overall in 2.11 also saw him take second in his age group.

It was a busy weekend for Houghton’s riders, with the climb being proceeded on by round seven of the Cyclocross North East League in Darlington.

It was another cracking turnout, with more than 280 riders competing in the various age categories, including 70 Under-12s, emphasising the growth of this very accessible form of cycle racing.

Houghton’s Paul Whitehill and Paul Robson both rode strong races to consolidate their league positions of in the V40-49 and V50+ respectively.

In only his second cross race, Steve Everett finished well in the V50. Unfortunately, Colin Humphrey and Peter Searle were not so lucky as both succumbed to early punctures.

Blackhawk Bikes’ Alan Nixon held the lead over Darren Gee (Teesdale CRC).

In the seniors event, Houghton’s Dave Stevens continued his strong season to finish 22nd from 53 riders in a race won by Tony Fawcett (Pioneer Scott Syncross).