This weekend saw the largest road bike sportive to hit the Lake District with 1,000 riders taking part in the annual Fred Whitton Challenge on Sunday May 11.
Riders headed out from the start in Coniston between 6am and 9am to tackle the infamous 112-mile course taking in the Lake District?s toughest passes of Kirkstone, Hostister, Newlands, Whinlatter, Cold Fell, Hardknott and Wrynose.
Team Wheelbase.co.uk rider Rob Jebb – a hardened Whitton competitor and local lad – set a new course record of 5 hours 40 minutes in sweltering conditions with UK National Hill Climb Champion James Dobbin. Taking five minutes off last year’s record of 5 hours 45 min set by Stuart Reid and Lewis Craven, who both also ride for Wheelbase.co.uk.
This year, Wheelbase.co.uk riders Craven, Ian Palmer, Paul Trott, Paul Troughton and Dave Haygarth worked hard pulling a fast bunch of Elite riders over Kirkstone, down the A66 towards Keswick before the hammer was put down by Jebb on Honister.
UK National Hill Climb Champion James Dobbin, Arctic Premier RT, jumped on the wheel of Jebb and the pair battled it out over the remaining 66 miles at an average speed of in excess of 20mph to cross the line together in joint first place.
Participation in cyclo-sportive events has risen massively, with British Cycling reporting a 35 per cent increase over 2007 and the Fred Whitton has been no exception with the 1,000 places selling out within three days of the event opening.
Rob Jebb leads James Dobbin on Hardknott Pass
FRED WHITTON CHALLENGE 2008: RESULTS
=1 Robert Jebb (Wheelbase.co.uk) 5:40:40
=1 James Dobbin (Arctic Premier RT) 5:40:40
3 Ben Bardsley (Keswick Mountain Bikes) 5:53:55
4 Barrie Clarke (Lakes Road Club) 5:55:26
5 Bryan Pool (Anderson Racing) 5:58:14
6 Stephen Bottomley (Crosstrax) 6:04:11
7 Andrew Howdon (Millom) 6:06:39
8 Jason Hemsley (Crosstrax) 6:07:51
9 Joe Skipper (VD Baraccmi) 6:10:22
10 Paul Trott (Wheelbase.co.uk) 6:10:46