Left, winner Ben Johnson (53 on front of bike) in the centre, Stewart Holloway, left, and James Windley, right. Picture by Jennifer Burton.
CYCLISTS with staying power found the going tough at the inaugural Chevy Chase endurance event at Cheverton Farm last weekend.
A gruelling 2.7-mile course greeted the competitors, who competed either as individuals, pairs or teams of three or more, and the idea of the event was to complete as many laps within a six-hour time period, as possible.
The results, particularly in the individual category was impressive, given they rode almost as many laps as the teams.
Winning the solo category, and completing 22 laps, was Wight Mountain team member Ben Johnson. Second, on 19 laps was Keith Morey, with Ross Haydon third, on 18.
Teams from West Drayton Mountain Bike Club came first and third in the pairs’ category, riding 25 and 22 laps respectively, with Wightlink RT team James Ebdon and Sam Baker second, with 23 laps.
In the team event, a team called Bumblebee came first with 22 laps, with three teams from the West Wight Gentleman’s Club coming joint second on 21 laps. Wight Mountain’s staff team came third, with 20 laps.
Ben, 35, of Wroxall, said: "I felt surprisingly good afterwards, it was about 63 miles all in and although I was tired, I wasn’t aching at all. I’ve won the 14 hills killer for the last four years, and I do a lot of endurance racing on the mainland but this event was just brilliant and I was so proud to win.
"The course was incredible and the atmosphere every time you went through the checkpoint and pit lane was amazing, with everyone cheering you on. It was great for the Island and great for cycling."
Ben said he was particularly pleased to win in front of his parents and thanked his support crew of brother, Tom, and girlfriend Kelleigh Holbrook, for helping for the entire six hours.
Russ Newnham, co-owner of Wight Mountain, which organised the event with the help of the IW Council, and thanks to land provided by Andrew Hodgson, said: "We’re really happy with the amount of entries. Initially we had hoped for around 150 and we are close to that, despite the fact we had to postpone it to this weekend.
"The course is challenging but can be tackled by cyclists of all abilities. We had a guy from British Cycling come over to take a look at the course and he said it was one of the best he’d seen."
Andrew, who tried the course out before the start of the event, said: "It’s usually quiet around here so it’s nice to see it busy with people enjoying themselves, and it doesn’t affect the farm."
The course is being kept open throughout the year, though fees will be charge to help with its maintenance. Anyone wishing to find out more can call Russ at Wight Mountain on 01983 520530.
Russ said: "The course is designed for Islanders, and this race is our little way of celebrating it."
Video of the Chevy Chase endurance event by www.wightproductions.co.uk