Nova in Sportive Action

Whilst most of the Harrogate Nova contingent were enjoying the amazing Tour De Yorkshire weekend, three Nova members headed North to Kilmarnock in Scotland for a 70 mile timed UCI Tour of Ayrshire sportive on closed roads. All riders were placed into age groups and set off in 5 minute intervals, with the start comprising of a long uphill drag into a cold crosswind which soon split the groups, making for a long and tough ride. The challenging conditions were tamed by the fantastic support on the streets creating a great atmosphere with lots of cheering & ringing of cowbells. Jeremy Elder rode very strongly finishing in 3 hours and 20 minutes, placing him 15th out of 129 entrants in his age group and Paul Lehan and Matthew Newton finishing in 3.26 & 3.31 placing them 15th and 22nd out of 173 in their age groups respectively. All three rider’s times qualify them for the World UCI Gran Fondo in France this year.

Last weekend, a number of Nova riders took to the very challenging roads of the Lake District, competing in the infamous Fred Whitton challenge, possibly one of the most iconic and difficult sportives on the calendar, comprising of 110 miles and circa 12,000 feet of ascent!. Together with some 2000 other riders, with an early start and cold conditions, most of the Nova riders decided to set off together at least to the foot of the first major climb, Kirkstone Pass. Inevitably, the gradient and length of climb took its toll and very quickly various sub groups formed. Leading the way were experienced sportive Nova riders, Ben Hotham, Andy Baker, Mike Worden and Simon Ketteringham together with local rider Paul Shears. Usually the terrain and distance take their toll, but this group managed to work and stay together for 95 miles until the foot of the dreaded Hard Knott pass where the severity of the gradient meant it was every man for himself!

Ben Hotham was obviously in the best shape from the Nova contingent , managing to ride away from the others finishing in an outstanding and fastest ever Nova time of 6 hours and 4 minutes, 12th fastest overall. He was closely followed by Andy Baker, just a minute behind in 6 hours 5 minutes (14th place), Simon Ketteringham in 6.08 (16th), Mike Worden in 6.20,  Paul Lehan in 6.29, Andrew Stringer in 6.34, Derek Irving in 6.38, John Reid in 6.58, Richard Salden in 7.14 and Tony Bradley, all the way from France, in 7:24. Full results, photos and information available from the Fred Whitton website.

The Fred Whitton Challenge is a fantastically organised event, having raised over £1,000,000 for charity over the last 16 years. Harrogate Nova would like to extend their thanks for the amazing work provided by all the volunteers and to the very vocal support from all those cheering the many riders on.

Please send reports to Please keep them brief, around a paragraph. It would be good to have something about the Ilkley 2 stage race.