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ESCA reliability trial

Although Lewes Wanderers produced a few surprise on the line entries they were unable to overcome Eastbourne Rovers and the result was a dead heat of 15 riders each; here’s hoping for a more conclusive result next year.

I hope you all enjoyed the course, I tried to use the best bits of various rides in the area to make a scenic and challenging ride. All being well we will be organising the event again in 2008


Lewes Wanderers CC 17 riders
M Levett, M Read, P King, R Meade, P Limpus, P Price,
A Lloyd, I McGuckin, A Herbert, T Gale, R Coleman (2nd claim), I Burgess (DNF), P Baker, P Barling, G Jeffs, J Landless, J Coe (DNF)

Eastbourne Rovers CC 15 riders
R Thomas, A Symonds, D Dunbar, A Ford, A Seviour, J Seviour,
N Abbott, T Abbott, D Cox, R Norman, C Jones, L Jones, S Medhurst, A Parsons, T Murphy

East Grinstead CC 12 riders
C Duke, D Duke, M Siwicki (2nd claim), D Keneway (2nd claim),
S Dennis, M Anton, M Malins, P Harris, P Winkley, B Hardisty, R Woodward, R Dickson

Crawley Wheelers CC 7 riders
S Harrison, R Griffin, B Flint, P Smith, D Fox, A Taylor, R Anderson

Horsham Cycling 5 riders
S Forbes, P Golding, K Russell, A Bristow, D Galle

21st Century Airports CC 2 riders
T Brown, A Brown

Sussex Nomads CC 2 riders
A Fadero, G Smith

Brighton Excelsior CC 1 rider
E Scott

Steyning AC 1 rider
J Brook

Unattached (BCF)
I Matthews


Mike Anton writes…

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the various RR’s that I’ve done though I was a tad concerned about the route for this year’s event.

I decided to check out the Groombridge – Kings Standing climb on Friday afternoon on the way home from work.

It was even more of a detour than my usual commutes and having finally dragged myself to the top, I got a bit concerned that I wouldn’t be able to complete the 48 miles in the allocated 3 hours on Sunday.

Arriving at Horsted Keynes the start was a bit of a scrum and I think Martin was a bit overwhelmed at the amount of entries on the line. Still, everyone got away OK off into the chilly morning air.

Being in the last group off I was glad Geoff Smith of Sussex Nomads decided to join us, as I had someone else on their clunker winter bike to ride with.

Fortunately there were no icy patches and we made pretty good time to Groombridge. As is usually the case, as soon as the road started to go up Mr Dennis was off away into the distance. I decided to take it easy and caught up with the rest of the Grinnies going through Lye Green.

After a brief chat and some abuse from Mr Woodward about taking our time catching up, I was off after Mr Harris who was steam training up the hill. We got to the top at a cracking pace, which was good as I didn’t relish this climb at all.

A quick breather at the top saw things start to go pear shape. Two of our group shot off down the hill and Mr D went off with Mr Siwicki. Merek shot past Nursery lane after the other two which left Steve, Geoff and myself to do the rest of the course on our own.

The ups and downs of the A272 saw Steve disappearing off into the distance with Geoff and I struggling to keep up. The run off to Blackboys wasn’t as bad as I thought, as I fully expected two or three escarpments to climb!

The rolling route to the next stop at Bentley was bright and sunny and not too painful on the legs. We were closing on the 3.5 hour group but nature called and we lost the momentum.

The run through to Fletching passed without incident though we were all surprised to get across the A272 junction without stopping for traffic.

The final leg saw me trying to stealthily hang onto Steve’s wheel. Unfortunately both of my pedals were badly creaking so he knew exactly where I was. The final run up Treemans road run saw Geoff and I grinding up the hill with Steve dancing off into the distance (as usual).

Our final time was 2:52 though Steve would have easily taken 10 – 15 minutes off of this if he didn’t have any baggage in the form or Messrs Anton and Smith to contend with.

The rest of the 3 hour group arrived some 8 minutes later though I didn’t hang around to see how the rest of Grinstead faired. (they stopped off at Isfield tea rooms !)

All in all a good ride and see you all at the Lewes and Crawley RR’s in the new year?


Martin Malins writes…

I rode (and organised) this ride today. The ESCA reliability trial has a long history, and a reputation for being hilly and arduous. It was organised by Charles Robson of Eastbourne Rovers for many years and the Rovers have a tradition of winning the event (which is won by having the most riders in one club complete the course in their chosen time).

After Charles pulled out the event was organised by Lewes Wanderers and Southborough and District Wheelers, although on one occasion it did not run due to having no organiser. I stepped in to fill the gap this year as this ride is one of my favourites and regularly sees several dozen riders en masse through the lanes and up the hills of East Sussex.
Several rides, including the Mid Sussex Hilly and the CTC Southern Challenge feature this terrain so I decided to combine the best bits of all the rides in one 48 mile course. I reverted to a single starting place this year, Horsted Keynes.

In order to get all the riders signed in on the day I awoke at 0630 and donned several layers of clothing and two pairs of gloves for the ride in sub-zero conditions over from East Grinstead. With an hour to go to the start I had several riders lining up to enter, and after Richard arrived (the timekeeper for the day) we quickly organised the extra riders into groups to depart at 3 minute intervals.

A slightly late start had the first group of mostly Rovers set off , and before long it was the EGCC middle time group’s turn to go. After a flat ride out from the start we very soon found ourselves on the stiff climb up to Wych Cross via Twyford. A lovely descent off Ashdown Forest was followed by a stretch to Groombridge where we turned right (noting an information control to ensure we stuck to the course) up to the Forest. Friars gate up to Kings Standing seems to go on forever, but the sun was now shining brightly and we saw most of the other riders strung out up the hill.

Steve Dennis and the other 3 hour riders eased past us on the hill (“hup, hup, hup”), but at least one of his group ended up in the main field. Back on narrow lanes in Maresfield there was large group of riders, and this continued through Hadlow Down and Blackboys to the control near Ringmer, where Charles looked on approvingly.

As we were making good time we stopped at the Isfield station tea rooms before the last leg, which rolled through Fletching and Freshfield. And all too soon we were on the last hill back up to Horsted Keynes. All the riders who entered made their selected time band, but in a surprise move Lewes took the trophy by two riders. East Grinstead were third placed.

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