EXPECTED National Hill-Climb championship contenders James Dobbin, Jim Henderson and David Clarke scrapped for the main honours when Halifax Racing Club promoted their two-stage event on the mile-long Stocks Lane and Halifax Lane courses at Luddenden, West Yorkshire, on Saturday (October 21).
Henderson, the Southport CC rider from Formby, Merseyside, who will be chasing his sixth title in nine years in Devon on October 29, opened with a win on Stocks Lane but was just three fifths of a second clear of Dobbin, with Clarke (Team Nippo-KFS) a huge 21 seconds back.
Dobbin, a member of the winning Arctic-Shorter Rochford RT team in the last three national championships, made no mistake on adjacent Halifax Lane, finishing nearly 12 seconds ahead of Clarke as Henderson slumped to third place, a further three seconds off the pace.
Overall, it was Dobbin from Henderson and Clarke.
In the South, meanwhile, Richard Pettinger (Sri Chinmoy CT) was overall winner of Brighton Mitre CC?s two-stage event on the Steyning Bostal and Mill Hill (Shoreham) courses in West Sussex, also on Saturday.
In the first of four legs of the South-East hill-climb weekend, which was continuing with the classic Catford CC and Bec CC events on Sunday, Pettinger had to settle for second place to Danny Axford (Arctic-Shorter Rochford RT) on the 1,672-yard Steyning course. Axford covered the distance in 4-04.58 to beat Pettinger by more than 13 seconds.
But Axford was pushed back to third place on the 2.66-mile Shoreham climb where Pettinger triumphed by two and a half seconds from David McGaw (Oxford University CC), a favourite for the British Universities SA championship on October 28, with Axford a further six seconds down.
Pettinger won on points from Axford and McGaw.
Halifax RC Two-Stage hill-climb
Stage 1 (Stocks Lane, Luddenden, 1 mile).-
Jim Henderson (Southport CC) 5-36.0
J. Dobbin (Arctic-Shorter Rochford RT) 5-36.6
D. Clarke (Team Nippo-KFS) 5-57.9
C. Helliwell (Blackburn & Dist CTC) 6-06.3
D. Shand (West Pennine RC) 6-08.4
I. Stott (Blackburn & Dist CTC) 6-15.3
Stage 2 (Halifax Lane, 1 mile).-
James Dobbin 5-29.3
D. Clarke 5-42.1
J. Henderson 5-45.3
D. Shand 5-51.3
C. Helliwell 6-07.5
I. Stott 6-09.4
James Dobbin 11-05.9
J. Henderson 11-21.3
D. Clarke 11-40.0
D. Shand 11-59.7
C. Helliwell 12-13.8
I. Stott 12-24.7
Team.- Blackburn & Dist CTC (Carl Helliwell, Ian Stott, Adam Pinder 13-07.1) 37-45.6. Veterans.- John Hey (West Pennine RC) 12-49.5. Juniors.- Adam Pinder. Women.- Alexandra Zebedee (Solihull CC) 17-48.4
Brighton Mitre CC Two-Stage hill-climb
Stage 1 (Steyning Bostal, West Sussex, 1,672 yards).-
Danny Axford (Arctic Shorter Rochford) 4-04.58
R. Pettinger (Sri Chinmoy CT) 4-17.98
D. McGaw (Oxford Univ CC) 4-21.29
N. Dawes (Farnborough & Camberley CC) 4-23.16
I. Burdeau (Brighton Mitre CC) 4-24.39
K. Coffey (Bec CC) 4-30.80
Stage 2 (Mill Hill, Shoreham, 2.66 miles).-
Richard Pettinger 7-21.39
D. McGaw 7-23.86
D. Axford 7-29.73
N. Dawes 7-43.98
I. Burdeau 7-53.61
A. Sherwood (Farnborough & Camberley CC) 7-55.26
Overall.- Richard Pettinger 99 pts; 2, D. Axford 98; 3, D. McGaw 97. Women.- Ann Bath (Kingston Phoenix). Veterans on target time.- Ben Fielden (Rother Valley CC).