1st Sea Lord James Gomm and Rear Admiral Nick Hickman turned out of their hammocks at o-crow-double-o on Sunday 29th March to set sail on the high seas in stormy weather for an Open Hilly event – 7.17 nautical leagues around the Chilterns (or 21.3 miles in old money).
This was the second of the London North Millennium Trophy Series, the first (North Road Hard Riders) having been cancelled due to icebergs on the course. Both left their Fast Attack Boats at the quay side. Gomm cast off first in his Carbon Fibre Frigate and was safely back in port after 01:05:48 (39th of 55 starters). Hickman slipped his moorings a little while later, piloting his Steel Tug Boat. He was back on dry land in 01:08:12 (45thplace).
Hickman and Gomm on the climb up Ivinghoe Beacon
As well as Bison Hill and Ivinghoe Beacon, the course featured some deep flooding and stretches with a “failed road surface” according to the Highways Agency signage. The Hemel Hempstead Coast Guard was out in force to marshal the vessels and there was good support from cheering land lubbers on the shore side.
The event was won by Tejvan Pettinger (2013 National Hill Climb Champion) in 00:51:25; edging out last year’s victor Michael Broadwith by just 7 seconds and taking the ‘Sid Latchford Memorial’ silverware home.