Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Eastbourne, Open Penny Farthing Championship & Beachy Head Hill Climb World Championship

How Do All,

On the weekend of the 27th to 29th of July 2019 I attended the Beachy Head Hill Climb World Championship & Eastbourne Open Penny Farthing Championship, the former hosted by Matthew, Keith and Jane Trott of the Ordinary Bicycle Company in Horam, East Sussex, and the latter hosted by the Eastborne Cycling festival.

Photo: Alan Fraser

The Beachy Head Hill Climb, World Campionship.

Friday evening after setting up our tents at Stream Farm and reassembling our bikes, we headed off to Eastbourne to do the Beachy Head Hill Climb, I have never done this before and also did not get a practice at it, only viewing the course as we drove down to Eastbourne. 

There were 13 of us taking part in the Hill Climb and I set off second in line, 1 minute behind the first rider, I had no plan and was not even sure if I would make it or not. I felt like I set of too fast and worried about burning out on the hill, but I just kept going in any case, on the first part of the climb I  caught up with the first rider and overtook him, I then just kept plugging away making sure he got further and further behind me. 
by the time I reached the top of the climb I still had a ways to go to the finish on a flatter section, so I gave it all I had left, I was so focused on getting to the line that I did not see it and kept on riding straight past the finish and did not stop until I realised I was going down hill again, when I figured I'd better turn back!
Much to my surprise I won the hill climb by nearly 3 minutes over the second place rider, what a result considering this was my first time trying it.

The Results from the Hill Climb
Photo: Mathew Trott

The 13 Hill Climb competitors plus one extra, a new rider (Alex Garrod) that only learned to ride the penny  jut before this photo was taken, and though he never competed in the Hill Climb he rode down the hill on the way back to Eastbourne. more about this dark horse later.
Photo: ?

The Saturday Social Ride.
After the hill climb on Friday evening it started raining cats and dogs, and carried on almost till midday on Saturday. Our planned social ride / pub crawl thus started at the first pub a few miles into the route instead, where we had a nice lunch, assembled the bikes and checked out some of the artistic installations in the pub.
we then had a nice afternoon ride in the East Sussex countryside taking in a few nice pubs on the way before heading back the the Ordinary Bicycle Company's HQ for an awesome barbecue accompanied by two large helpings of Gateaux.
I did not take many pictures but here a few I did take on the Saturday:  

Waiting for the rain to pass at the Ordinary Bicycle Company HQ.
Les in a Fez 

The most excellent urinals at the Roebuck Inn.
Just don't get too close or they'll have your pecker for lunch! 

People emerging from the comfort of the pub ready for a slightly damp start.

My mount ready and primed.

Detail of John Gray's bearing clamp in the rain

One of John's Hubs.

Hub cap cover Turtle on the roof of the pub.

Ed Knight and Andres Pastor trotting along behind.

The front of the Pack.

My favourite porcelain sign in the Six Bells, this pub is filled from floor to ceiling with Signage and other memorabilia.

The Eastbourne Open Penny Farthing Championship.

Sunday was a beautiful day, if a little windy, but no one was going to complain about a little wind after the heavy rain on Friday night / Saturday morning.

The course suited me well and non of the corners were too tight so I was able to take them confidently at speed. the wind was blowing fairly hard from west, down the start / finish straight which made for quite hard going along the prom, but gave a good rest on the return leg.

The start was a paced lap behind the obligatory open top car and a Harley Davidson police motorcycle, all a sirens wailing and lights flashing. in the last corner before the start / finish straight the pace vehicles sped off and in a split second decision I decided to to just go for it and try and take the race from the start.
I led from the gun to the flag so to speak, but it was quite an effort to keep a good pace and distance myself from the chasing pack!
on the final lap I thought I heard the commentator saying that the chasing riders were just behind, and I gave it one last mad push just in case they caught me. luckily for me they were further back than I thought and I took the win by a good 44 seconds! 
The two chasing riders Will Lawrie and Alex Garrod were working together to try and catch me, and they rode hard into to the wind as that is where they would be able to make the most time up knowing that I was riding into the wind by myself.

Alex Garrod by the way had only just had his first go on an penny farthing on the Friday evening of the Hill Climb, so that taken into account he put in an amazing performance! in his favour though he is a pretty decent triathlon competitor, so I am going to have to watch my back at the next race as I am sure he will be one to watch!

Pictures from the Penny farthing Open Championship Race.
Sprinting off away from the others riders at the start.
 A risky split second decision at the start, but one that paid off! 
Photo: Alan Fraser

Peter Semler leading Paul Gwyther, Graham Wood and Thomas Duyck.
Photo: Alan Fraser

Thomas Duyck.
Photo: Alan Fraser

Me heading into the first corner and making my getaway!
Photo: Alan Fraser

Les New.
Photo: Alan Fraser

Michael Sansom, a great first race!
Photo: Alan Fraser

Photo: Alan Fraser

Michele Hooper.
Photo: Alan Fraser

Hear Me Roar! and I hadn't even won yet!
Matt Tester not sure what to make of the idiot in front!
Photo: Alan Fraser

Andres Pastor, The Mexican Champion ;-)
Photo: Alan Fraser

Andres Pastor, The Mexican Champion ;-)
Photo: Alan Fraser

Head down and lapping Thomas Duyck.
Photo: ?

Raymond Konyn
Photo: Alan Fraser

Me yet again!

Smiles all around. Michele Hooper.
Photo: Alan Fraser

1st place and absolutely bloody elated!
Photo: Sharon Webster

One of my trophies and other winnings,
The Hill Climb trophy is to follow shortly!

Look at my Trott and Son's T-shirt! ;-)
Photo: Mathew Trott

The Results from the Eastbourne Open Penny Farthing Championship.
Photo: Mathew Trott

Thank you for looking.
Take care,
Barry, The Knotty Bear.

Photo Credits: Alan Fraser, Sharon Webster, Mathew Trott &?