Rollings on a roll in Lewes Wanderers' hill climb

Lewes Wanderers’ annual Hill Climb should have attracted 20 competitors who had pre-entered via the club’s website, but only 18 turned up.

Graham Fautless rode well
Graham Fautless rode well

Thirteen were representing the host club. For once the sun was out and more importantly the wind was favourable for an ascent of the vicious slopes of Firle Beacon.

But with sections of greater than ten per cent, racing was still far from easy.

Behind two guest riders the fastest Wanderer on the night was Rob Rollings, who crested the summit after 4min 42.75sec of all-out effort. It needed to be as Dan Street (4:50.31) and Richard Burchett (4:57.83) weren’t far behind. Just outside five minutes were sixth-placed Paul Fletcher (5:08.04), Brad Dickinson (7th in 5:11.53), Alex Seaton (8th, 5:12.68) and the only female competitor and ninth overall Kate Parrish (5:14.95).

Just like Dickinson, club chairman Dom Lowden was ten seconds quicker than in 2019, but in his case found himself five places further down the leaderboard in 12th with 5:31.69.

Also breaking the six-minute barrier were 13th-placed Neil Edwards (5:40.04), 15th Peter Baker (5:43.15) and Graham Faultless in 16th with 5:49.22.

Alan Lester fell agonisingly 1.98 seconds outside that mark while John Mankelow stopped the watch after 7:08.57.

Rollings had clearly rested well as just the previous morning he had participated in the Sussex Cyclists Association 50-mile time trial.

Not only that, but he went straight on at one of the numerous roundabouts on the course and by the time he had realised and turned around he had ridden an extra couple of miles.

Otherwise he was almost certainly on course to break two hours. As it was he had to settle for 33rd place from the 53 finishers in a time of 2.07.55.

Eight places behind was clubmate Peter Baker in 2:09:46.

Back on July 26, Sally Turner (representing trainSharp) had taken part in the a3crg Glorious Goodwood time-trial when her time over five laps of the motor-racing circuit of 27.14 had left her fifth of the 19 female competitors.

She returned the following Sunday for another round of the same, improved by over half-a-minute to 26:43 and this time took the spoils ahead of ten other racers.