The 56th Tyneside Vagabonds Mountain Time Trial saw a worthy winner in Andrew Wilkinson (Port Sunlight Wheelers), who pushed Richard Handley (Team Raleigh) into second place by just 22 seconds over a revised 45 mile course based on Rothbury in Northumberland, to win the £300 first prize courtesy of Wellstream International.
Read on for a video of riders climbing Garleigh with 1 mile to go below, followed by report of the race.
With roadworks planned for the bridge in Rothbury, the start and finish were moved from Belsay to Rothbury to allow the classic course to be used. This meant the usual largely downhill run to the finish was replaced by one of the toughest sections of the course, with a number of climbs before a kick up to the finish line. Cool and damp conditions, together with a westerly wind gusting to 30mph, made for a tough day on an already hard course, and making the exceptionally fast times set by the leading riders even more impressive.
The event promised an interesting competition between long-distance record holder Andrew Wilkinson, 11 times BBAR winner Kevin Dawson (Sportscover.com), Team Raleigh professional Richard Handley, and top local rider and former event winner John Tuckett (Active Cycles), and it didn't disappoint.
By the timed climb at Bilsmoor after just 8 miles, Richard Handley was leading by 12 seconds from Andrew Wilkinson as he shared the hill climb prize with Alistair Robinson (Team Leslie Bike Shop), and only John Tuckett was within a minute of them. A fast wind-assisted descent of the Gibbett followed, and the two leaders pulled away to complete the course 3 minutes clear of John Tuckett, as he lead Activ Cycles to the team prize with team members John Sturman and Ian Norris.
Fastest lady was Dawn Sherrin of G.S Metro who finished 3 minutes clear of Heather Tuffs (Clifton C.C.), whilst Andrew Wilkinson also took the Veterans prize.