Report: Bidlake Memorial Time Trial

Chris Bartley sets a completely new standard of 1.20.07 for this tough Cotswold circuit used for the Bidlake Memorial Time Trial – Harriet English first woman

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Report: Bidlake Memorial Time Trial

by Chris Lovibond | 37 miles, 9th September

On a windy day three riders broke course record, with a brilliant ride from Chris Bartley (AS Test Team) setting a completely new standard of 1.20.07 for this tough Cotswold circuit.

Chris Bartley and organiser Peter Whitfield

The course is the opposite of a drag strip – its two laps start from Charlbury and a climb over four hundred feet on a country lane to the highest point near Chipping Norton, so an average speed of 28.5 mph is a spectacular result. It’s worth noting that when this event started in 2008, a special prize was offered to anyone beating 1 hour 30 minutes.

Chris Bartley is more than a bit special as a rider: a former World Rowing Champion, he is only in his second time trial season, but it has been a remarkable one. The CTT website shows that out of eleven events completed this year, he has won nine and come second in the other two, one of these being the National 25 Championship. Not unnaturally, his next target is the 50 Championship at the end of this month.

So far he has avoided the longer distances and the BBAR, but this has often been the pattern of great champions in the past. Second placed Richard Gildea (Didcot Phoenix, 1.23.04) is also a relative newcomer, having started in 2015, nevertheless he took the Bronze Medal in this year’s 12 Hour Championship. He recently turned his attention to road racing and has achieved two victories so far this year – his weekly diet of 300 miles seems to suit him.

Dean Robson (Northover VT), narrowly pushed into third place with 1.23.18, was the 2016 winner when he exactly equalled to existing course record of 1.24.27. Although less successful this time, his performance was excellent considering his season has been disrupted by a move to Jersey.

The event promoter, Peter Whitfield, is a cycling historian and the inclusion of the Bidlake name in the title suggests an element of nostalgia, and Peter had always hoped to find some one sufficiently courageous to attempt a fixed wheel ride (and record). Step forward Peter Oliver (Fairly United CT) who managed to force his 110 inch gear up to Chipping Norton and create a formidable fixed record of 1.38.03 – over three and a half minutes better than he managed in 2015 on gears!

The best woman’s performance came from Harriet English (Oxonian) who recorded 2.01.18.

Sadly this was Peter Whitfield’s last promotion since he is about to move to Italy. At the prize giving Martyn Roach (right), a former leading time trial champion, gave a speech of thanks to Peter, praising the good work he has selflessly put into this event and the sport generally.

The Bidlake Memorial TT combined many of the elements which often seem lacking from modern time trial riding with its obsession for superfast courses; it deserved to become a classic, but perhaps it arrived too long after time trialling’s golden age. Let us hope a new organiser can be found for 2019.

1 Chris Bartley  AS Test Team 01:20:07
2 Richard Gildea  Didcot Phoenix   1:23:04
3 Dean Robson  Northover VT   1:23:18
4 Dave Dent  GS Stella 01:30:06
5 Dan Ryan  North Road CC 01:32:15
6 Ross Gore       Mickey Cranks 01:32:44
7 Pete Oliver     Fairly United CT   1:38:27
8 James Illman  Mickey Cranks 01:43:49
9 Mike Hicks  Banbury Star   1:47:55
10 Tim Hiscocks  Shutt Ridley RT 01:48:24
11 Geoff Hewett  Banbury Star   1:48:35
12 Mike Murkin  Swindon Rc 01:53:51
13 Matt Chambers  Didcot Phoenix 01:57:25
14 Sam Wootton  Banbury Star 01:58:50
15 Harriet English  Oxonian CC 02:01:18
16 Jeff King  Oxonian CC 02:01:59
17 Peter Whitfield   Bidlake CC 02:05:27




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