Andy Wilkinson broke his own 13-year-old competition record with a superb winning ride in the National 12-Hour Championship at Prees, Shropshire, on Sunday.
Wilkinson looked every inch as good as he did in 1996, when he was virtually unstoppable and held the national 50, 100, 12-hour, 24-hour and Best All-Rounder titles in the same season.
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Despite blustery winds, he managed to cover 302.46 miles on Sunday, winning the event by 18.68 miles and slicing 2.19 off his own 1996 mark.
“I had scheduled for 290 miles because that’s what I felt was necessary to be sure of winning the event,” he said. “But it had not really crossed my mind that the competition record was possible on that course, especially with the wind.
“I didn’t really know much about the other riders, with the exception of Andy Bason. He’s a fast rider, and it was always in the back of my mind what he was doing. I thought the end result would’ve been a lot closer.
“I was up on him from the start, and kept gaining slightly and relaxed a bit, but I doubted myself slightly and was worried that I had gone out too fast and that Bason would catch me later on.”
With the help of Wilkinson, Port Sunlight Wheelers took the team prize, while Christine McLean (Shetland Wheelers) made the trip from the Outer Hebrides worthwhile as fastest woman with 236.86 miles.
National 12-Hour Championship (Prees, Shropshire) – Provisional result
1 Andrew Wilkinson (Port Sunlight Wheelers) 302.46 miles
2 Andrew Bason (Wrekinsport CC) 283.78
3 Julian Jenkinson (UTAG Yamaha.com) 282.81
4 Carlos Riise (Shetland Wheelers) 275.84
5 Andrew Allan (New Brighton CC) 272.97
6 Neil Skellern (Congleton CC) 272.33
7 Jose Pinon-Shaw (Pro Bike Kit) 268.22
8 Brian Walker (Team Swift) 267.29
9 Colin Hayes (Liverpool Century RC) 263.93
10 Gordon Leicester (Warrington RC) 255.83
Team.- Port Sunlight Wheelers (Andy Wilkinson, Roy Sumner 250.5 Terry Hughes 216.5) 769.46 miles. Women.- Christine McLean (Shetland Wheelers) 236.85.