Every month we will try to publish moments in our club history – this
month we take a back look at the month of October.
October really sees the end to the racing calendar, that is unless you like Cyclo-Cross (in which case your season is possibly just starting), or Hill Climbs.
Southend Wheelers held their first hill climb in 1923 on Church Hill, Hockley. In 1924 the event moved to Vicarage Hill, Benfleet (the spiritual home of our hill climb), where it remained for the next 80 years before moving to North Hill, Little Baddow in 2005.
During the years at Vicarage Hill, Colin Lander became ‘Mr Hill Climb’ winning this event for 10 consecutive years with three further wins in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. 1981 being the year he set the club record of 1 min 7.92 secs for the 660yd climb, which still stands today.
North Hill, Little Baddow, a much longer climb than Vicarage Hill, requires the rider to use gears rather than a fixed wheel, which was the norm for Vicarage Hill. The current record for North Hill is shared by James Jenkins (2015) and Robert Staines (2018), both recording a time of 1 min 36 secs.
As you can see from several of these images the club Hill Climb Championships always drew a large number of spectators, which is what you need, especially in those last few metres as you gasp for oxygen. Take a look through the attached pics and you'll see a very young Denise Kemp with mum and dad, Bob Barber, Pat Silvey, The Connelly Brothers, Chris Smith, Ron Douce to mention a few, and of course the power of Colin Lander (some of you would have met him at the club track day).
Maybe we should look to return to Vicarage Hill for our 100th anniversary in 2023 and see how times of past riders compare to those of today?
Hill Climb Hall of Fame