After nine years of trying, Tejvan Pettinger (Sri Chinmoy CT) finally secured the National Hill-Climb Championship title with a superb performance on the 2.33-mile climb of The Stang in North Yorkshire on Sunday.
Despite notching up dozens of victories in climbs across the country the 36-year-old Oxford rider has never made it onto the podium before, his previous best finish being in 2010 when he was fourth.
But he finally made it onto the podium – and the top step at that – when he was fastest by 2.1sec up the climb near Langthwaite in 7-57.7, with James Gullen (Hope Factory Racing) taking second and former winner Matt Clinton (Mike Vaughan Cycles) third, 10.4sec off Pettinger’s pace.
“I’m really happy,” said Pettinger. “I’ve been trying for quite a few years and I’ve done a lot of open events and broken quite a few course records but I’ve never been able to get on the p[odium at the National Champs.
“I knew this year was a really good chance because the hill suits me and I knew I was in good form.”
London’s Maryka Sennema (Kingston Wheelers) was crowned women’s champion, the 39-year-old beating defending champ Lynn Hamel (Herbalife-Leisure Lakes) by 17.4sec.
“I rode the Nationals in 2010, but I mis-timed my pregnancy and I was already two months pregnant by the time it rolled around so I didn’t do very well that year,” said Senneka. “But it was nice to come back and make good on that because I was really disappointed.”
There was an impressive performance too from James Knox (Champion System) who was fastest junior by 17 seconds and eighth overall, faster even than defending men’s title holder Jack Pullar (Madison Genesis) who had to settle for 12th on a hill that was too long for his liking.
The previous day the British Universities and College Sport held their National Championships on the one-mile climb of Curbar Gap in Derbyshire.
Manchester Met student Alex Welburn took the honours in the men’s event, covering the climb in 5-41.5 to win by just 0.2sec from University of Birmingham’s Will Vousden, while Mark Bleakley (Bath) was just 0.6sec down in third spot in a close finish.
Team honours went to Bath with James Whatley and Liam Glen joining Bleakley in the winning trio, with Leeds close behind.
In the women’s event, Cambridge’s Hayley Simmonds took the win by 7.3sec, and also led Cambridge to the team prize with Cassie McGoldrick making up the victorious duo which was around 30sec ahead of Leeds Met in second.
Elsewhere, 50-year-old veteran Steve Dennis (East Grinstead CC) won the Brighton Mitre CC Gerry Jackson Memorial 25 at Steyning in West Sussex.
He clocked 56-30 to win by just four seconds from another vet, 46-year-old Richard Prebble (Node 4-Giordana), while Pete Morris (Lewes Wanderers) was third.
Lizzy Brama of the promoting club was fastest female, clocking 1-04-22 to win by just over five minutes.