Oct 092017
Neil Swithenbank ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester The Rake Hill Climb 2017

Neil Swithenbank demonstrating how to look classy while on the limit – take note Mr Aru! (photo Nick Holmes)

Ben and Neil at the Rake Hill Climb 2017

Pain-fest fanciers Neil Swithenbank and Ben Whitehead lined up for ABC Centreville at the famous/infamous Rake Hill climb in Ramsbottom on Sunday. This 875m course ramps up to 22% and gives you a fair kicking if you attack it properly. Judging by the race-face contortions on show it could easily be doubled up with the Lancashire gurning championships. Despite having been used several times for the national hill climb championships and the Tour of Britain, (according to this nice post on the race ) it has longstanding record of 2.16.9 ridden by Jeff Wright in 1993.


Ben Whitehead in the hurt locker: “Shut up legs!” (photo nick Holmes)

Neil rode 3.15 this year, and Ben rode 3.17, beating his time from last year by 1 second. I’ll amend this post when the results are out to include the winners. Several Centreville members took the more sensible but less praiseworthy option of watching. Don’t tell Neil but the social group missed his ride despite arriving early, as our breakfasts were late due to a rush in the cafe – well what can you do? We were thinking of you Neil, honest. When you think about it, we were probably eating our breakfast just at the time you felt like up-chucking yours; funny that. We met Centreville legends Gordon and Margaret Perry, whose house was the unofficial club hut for years and who looked after and nurtured some very strong riders indeed as they headed for the chain gang on the East Lancs Road in the 80’s and 90’s. Then we had to leave before Ben rode, so as cheerleaders we were pretty damn duff, good job the green barmy army were at the top all afternoon!

Gordon and Margaret Perry_ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester The Rake Hill Climb 2017

Gordon Perry in the middle and Margaret on the right watched the Rake from outside the pub, with son Craig in the sunglasses


Neil Swithenbank_ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester The Rake Hill Climb 2017

Neil with the finish and Holcombe Tower in sight on the crowd-lined finale (photo Nick Holmes)

Ben Whitehead_ABC Centreville Cycling Club Manchester The Rake Hill Climb 2017

Ben prepping his proper climber’s legs before his start, with a nice thousand yard stare going on. Ah, the smell of liniment!

Ben Whitehead 3_ABC Centreville Cycling Club_The Rake Hill Climb 2017

It just looks like a track stand – Ben was still moving, I’m almost sure… (photo John Drake)

Results to follow when available.


Other Centreville Hill climb reports here

Why not come and suffer….I mean ride with Centreville. You are very welcome to race with us or just ride for fun – get in touch

 October 9, 2017  Posted by at 7:59 pm Events, Hill climbs  Add comments

  3 Responses to “The Rake Hill Climb 2017”

  1. Great write up Geoff it was a great afternoons entertainment. Thanks Neil and Ben.

  2. Great effort for the rides Neil and Ben

    Good spectator turn out and exceptional weather especially so considering the two days before – probably helped by washing all the leaves off the climb

  3. Hi, will there be a rack hill climb event in 2018?

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