Tom Bell and Bithja Jones come out on top in British National Hill Climb Championships 2021

The riders had to take on the brutal climb of Winnats Pass in the Peak District in appalling weather

Tom Bell riding the British National Hill Climb Championships 2021 on Winnats Pass, Derbyshire
(Image credit: Andy Jones)

The British Hill Climb Championships took place over the weekend at the gruelling and famous Peak District climb of Winnats Pass, with Tom Bell and Bithja Jones coming out on top in the men's and women's races.

The weather was almost as brutal as the climb itself on the day of competition, making the racing even harder than it already was going to be. 

In the men's race, Bell, who rides for High North Performance, put in a powerful ride to win with a time of 3-01.6, beating second-place rider Andrew Feather (HuntBikeWheels.com) by just under seven seconds. 

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Andy Nichols rounded out the podium for Team Lifting Gear Products/Cycles In Motion a further three seconds back.

Bithja Jones on the way to winning the women's National Hill Climb Championships 2021

(Image credit: Andy Jones)

In the women's event, Jones (Pankhurst Cycles) won by a much tighter margin, with just 1.4 seconds between her time of 4-00.4 and second place Mary Wilkinson (Yorkshire Road Club) with a 4-01.8.

Third place on the day went to Team Brother UK's Rebecca Richardson who put in a time of 4-13.5 just pipping CAMS-Basso rider, Illi Gardner by just over a second.

Rebecca Richardson

(Image credit: Andy Jones)

In the junior events, the junior men's title was taken by Tomos Pattinson of Halesowen A&CC with a time of 3-26.6 over the shorter distance of 900.6 metres on Winnats Pass.

The podium was rounded out by Tom Williams (Webbs 1902 CC) who finished with a time of 3-31.3 and James Hartley (JRC Shutt Ridley RT) in third with a 3-32.2.

In the women's juniors it was Sannah Zaman (Bigfoot CC) who took the win with a time of 4-44.1 beating Amelia Cebak (Team Milton Keynes) by a large margin, with Cebak finishing with a 5-21.9. Third place was taken by Ellie Mitchinson (CC Ashwell) with a 5-31.0.

Dan Evans

(Image credit: Andy Jones)

In the veteran race, the riders took part in the senior events, with Dan Evans (Assos Speed Club UK), who finished 10th overall, taking the title for the men and Bithja Jones adding the veteran title to her senior title as she won both.

Winnats Pass, Peak District

(Image credit: Andy Jones)

Winnats Pass rises out of Hope Valley in Derbyshire shortly after leaving the village of Castleton. Starting at the Speedwell Cavern, the climb quickly rises to brutal gradients with the average being 12.1 per cent, peaking at 17.4 per cent on the 1.5km ascent.

Taking in just two corners, there is little to no respite on the rough terrain and heavy asphalt, not to mention to cattle grids at the top and bottom. With amphitheater-like cliffs

It tops out very close to another Hill Climb favourite of Mam Tor, which has also been used in the nationals before as well as the British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) Hill Climb Championships.

Winnats itself has hosted the national event 11 times now with the last before this year being in 1977 and the first in 1947.

British Hill Climb Championships 2021 Men, Winnats Pass (1.5km)

Men's podium

(Image credit: Andy Jones)

1. Tom Bell (High North Performance), in 3-01.6
2. Andrew Feather (HuntBikeWheels.com), in 3-08.5
3. Andy Nichols (Team Lifting Gear Products/Cycles in Motion), in 3-11.6
4. Cameron Biddle (Stolen Goat Race Team), in 3-21.4
5. Leon Wright (Race Hub), in 3-24.0
6. David Fellows (Solihull CC), in 3-24.8
7. Kieran Wynne-Cattanach (Team Lifting Gear Products/Cycles in Motion), in 3-24.9
8. Harvey Weinberger (AS Test Team), at same time
9. Ed Laverack (Backpedal), in 3-28.1
10. Dan Evans (Assos Speed Club UK), in 3-29.3

British Hill Climb Championships 2021 Women, Winnats Pass (1.5km)

Women's podium

(Image credit: Andy Jones)

1. Bithja Jones (Pankhurst Cycles), in 4-00.4
2. Mary Wilkinson (Yorkshire Road Club), in 4-01.8
3. Rebecca Richardson (Team Brother UK), in 4-13.5
4. Illi Gardner (CAMS Racing), in 4-14.1
5. Frances Owen (Fibrax Wrexham RC), in 4-24.3
6. Joanna Blackburn (Team Bottrill), in 4-28.1
7. Zoe Langham (Beeston Cycling Club), in 4-36.1
8. Jessica Evans (Assos Speed Club UK), in 4-42.5
9. Kate MacTear (Bristol South Cycling Club), 4-43.3
10. Hannah Bayes (Liv-AWOL), 4-45.4

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