As the hill climb season neared its conclusion, it was tradition that it finished with the biggest and most prestigious race of the year, the National Championships. The current reigning National Champion and Team Hunt rider, Andy Feather, made the journey from where he lives in Bath to Hunt’s back garden in Sussex to hone his form for the upcoming Nationals and ride a couple of hill climbs that he hasn't ridden before.
The ESCA (East Sussex Cycling Association) event on Firle Beacon was in the morning, and the Beachy Head CC event on Butts Lane was in the afternoon. Being very close to each other geographically meant it was easy to do both on the same day. The National Champs was held on Winnats Pass this year, which is a similar duration to ride as both Firle and Butts Lane (at about 4 minutes for the fastest), they were great events for Andy to polish his already very shiny form.
Until recently, Andy had enjoyed a 22 race winning streak, often setting course records along the way, however the previous week, Andy and Tom Bell clashed in a 2-stage hill climb. Tom is his nearest challenger for the title and finished second at the Nationals last year. Andy won the 1st stage and Tom won the second, but Tom won overall on cumulative time, so Andy was keen to get back into winning ways.