Southend Wheelers held their 2023 hill climb championships on Sunday, October the 15th. In the process they recreated a little history as they came to the close of their centenary year.
In 1923 the club held its first hill climb up Church Hill in Hockley, then in 1924 it moved to Vicarage Hill in Benfleet, which became the spiritual home of their club hill climb, where it remained until 2004.
On Sunday morning, in perfect autumn weather, 17 club riders took on the challenge of Vicarage Hill. For many it was a new experience and while the course is only 660 yards or 603.5 metres in length, it would still prove to test the riders. Many gasped for air and could feel their legs get heavier by the second.
The winner on the day, Charles Langford, completed the climb in a rapid 1 minute and 14 seconds to take the senior championships. Jan Harvey-Burns took the women’s title in 2 minutes 12 seconds. Both joined the long list of winners names that appear in the club’s record books.
Following the event, it was time to recreate another piece of club history. A group photo took place at the same spot where 99 years earlier the pioneers of Southend Wheelers gathered in their tweeds, fixed wheel cycles and for some smoking pipes on display.
The above report is based on an article that appeared in the Echo News of October 24th, 2023.