CHAMPION BEN TAKES THE HIGH ROAD TO SUCCESS:
Penzance motorcyclist Ben Wilkins has become British hill climb champion — following in the footsteps of his father who held the same title some 44 years ago.
Ben, 40, raced his customised lightweight 1000cc Aprilia Falco to victory in a series of events held all over the country by the National Hill Climb Association.
The former editor of Motorcycle Mechanics magazine, Ben clinched the national title on the penultimate event of the year at Shelsley Walsh in Worcestershire.
He said: "I did 14 rounds this year and of those the best 10 runs counted towards the overall championship.
As well as taking the overall title I got 13 class records on 13 different hills.
He said his dad Robin had been pleased to hear he'd taken the title. "When I phoned home on the Saturday evening he did seem like he had a lump in his throat," he said.
"I was always very proud of the fact that my dad was British champion when I was a kid. It was always something where I thought 'I'd like to do that'.
"I did do four or five hill climbs when one was 16. My dad and I prepared a bike and we went and did a few — there's not a lot of opportunity for speed motorsport in Cornwall where I grew up. Most of the racing people did was on coned off sections of airfields."
Ben said that his early racing career come to on end when he joined the British Army.
He added: "Work got in the way for the next 20 odd years. But I'd always thought that some day I wanted to do hill climbs like my dad did.
"Then in 2010, I took my Aprilia road bike and entered it in the road legal championship. I won. I thought 'I'm enjoying this, maybe I should do some more'.
"In 2011, I came third in the outright championship and won the 1300cc championship with a bike I had built over the previous winter.
"It was another Aprilia I'd bought online. I'd got it running and stripped 60kg of weight off it. I put very sticky tyres on it too. The process took most of the winter.
"This year I did a few bits to it – I lengthened the swingarm to stop it wheelieing and shaved a little more weight off."
Ben explained that the veteran hill climb riders had welcomed his achievements.
"They like it," he said. "New people coming in and doing well makes people up their game."
In addition to his championship title, Ben also now holds the outright motorcycle record for three historic venues including the Shelsley Walsh climb, the oldest motorsport event to have been continuously staged on its original course in Britain. "No motorcycle has ever been up there faster," he said.
Since his success at the hill climb Ben has become editor of another motorcycle magazine in Auckland, New Zealand.
En route he will be spending a few months in the resort of La Plague in the Alps acting as 'maintenance man' while at the same time indulging his passion for winter sports.
On his last day at Mortons, Ben was presented with gifts of a feather duster (to make chalet cleaning a breeze), a framed cover of CMM magazine and euros by publisher Steve Rose on behalf of all his colleagues.
HARRIERS MEMBERS GET INTO THE FESTIVE SPIRIT:
There was another brilliant turnout for Mounts Bay Harriers' annual Christmas Lights Run to Mousehole.
Runners dressed in a variety of fancy dress with santas, penguins, elves, fairies, reindeers and lots of flashing lights. Everyone made an effort to get in the Christmas spirit and even the dogs had tinsel round their necks.
The 10k run followed a route from the Yacht Inn to Mousehole to see the Christmas lights and returned the same way.
One Santa, Jenny Orpwood, who did not feel that she could complete the whole run, caught the bus to Mousehole and ran back. She said she got a few strange looks on the bus, but it was all in a good cause.
A number of runners who have just completed the 10-week beginners' course ran the whole way there and back and felt very pleased with their achievement.
Many thanks to everyone who turned up and supported the run, not just from Mounts Bay Harriers but also from clubs including Tri Logic, Carn Runners, Truro Running Club, Falmouth Road Runners, Cornwall AC and Newquay Road Runners.
Mounts Bay Harriers will be starting a new beginners group on Monday January 7. Run off the Christmas pudding, gain extra fitness or set a running goal the club has a complete range of leaders and coaches to help you.
The course is free to all who wish to join. For details, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, call 07854 982191 or just turn up at 7pm at Mounts Bay School.
MAGPIES LOOKING FORWARD TO SUCCESSFUL 2013:
Penzance Ladies FC are now almost at the end of their first league season, with only one Cornwall League Division 2 game still to play, at home to St Teath on January 20, where one point will guarantee a third place finish.
Although the league programme is almost at an end, there is still a lot of football to be played, with opportunities for everyone to be involved.
On January 6, the Magpies hope to play a friendly match in preparation for the following week's Cornwall County Cup second round game at St Agnes.
Success in this game would book what is likely to be a testing quarter-final tie against strong opposition. The team also have the St Austell Trophies League Cup semi-final to look forward to, plus the Divisional Cup competition.
On top of this, there is the possibility of a women's small sided league being established before we again get into the summer tournaments, with the club perhaps returning to hosting their own event.
Even at this early stage, the club are looking forward to next season and would be pleased to hear from any unsigned players who would like to join the club for the 2013-14 campaign. The same goes for any girls who will turn 16 before September 2013, who would like to become involved with the squad.
Next season, Penzance Ladies will be looking to develop further and so previous experience of playing in a competitive league is desirable, although newcomers to the game are more than welcome to train with the team. If interested, call Scott on 07708 292347.
CHALLENGING TIMES FOR MOUNTS BAY CLUB:
Mounts Bay Badminton Club were under considerable pressure as the busy season neared the half way stage.
The large club, based in Penwith College, Penzance is fielding an unprecedented 11 competitive teams this season, but even with their good membership numbers were tested when they were scheduled to play one combination and two mixed matches in the same evening, committing 18 players at once.
This challenge was particularly hard as owing to the time of year, there were several men and at least six ladies unavailable to play. However, thanks to the hard work of the captains, three full teams were fielded and all had great games.
The new and inexperienced combination C team, captained by Chris Nicholls, travelled to the University side in Penryn, hoping to atone for a 9-0 whitewash by the students the previous week.
With two brand new players they fought valiantly, and young captain Sam Laity took their men's match comfortably, eventually losing 8-1.
Playing at home, the new Mixed B team had their hands full with the reigning champions, Tecans Mixed A team. However, despite the ferocious attack from the Pool-based side the Mounts Bay underdogs overcame the odds in one rubber with Andrew Morrison and Wendy Smith accounting for their opponents. The score finishing 8-1 to Tecans.
On the final two courts saw a battle royale between Mounts Bay Mixed A team and their friendly rivals, the Camborne-based First Edition Mixed A. Both sides had a couple of players away, but the standard remained high with energy sapping rallies and long three-end matches going to the wire. All three Mounts Bay pairs won rubbers and despite No1 pair Cath Bick and Trevelyan Searle managing to just edge out the First Edition No1 pair late into the evening, the tie had already been decided with a 5-4 win for First Edition that was a fair reflection of the close match.
The club still lead the standings in two of the leagues and look forward to pressing home their advantage if they can in 2013.
The West Cornwall Badminton League always welcome new members and teams, and for all details on Mounts Bay Badminton Club or any competitive or social opportunities throughout West Cornwall contact Trevelyan Searle tel: 07842959231 or visit mountsbaybadmintonclub.co.uk
NEWS FROM MOUNTS BAY ANGLING SOCIETY:
With only four days to go before the end of the year there is still time to try to get a best of species, writes David Cains.
Flounder and Dab are at the moment the main target fish but it is possible to get others at this time of the year.
Best of Species (Shore): bass – 6.11.4 – Mervyn Brown; bull huss – 13.2.7 – Peter Maddern; gilthead bream – 5.10.4 – Mark Willey; cuckoo wrasse – 0.15.4 – Tim Gerrard; coalfish – 1.11.12 – Liam Faisey; cod –2.10.10 – Peter Maddern; dab – 1.0.10 – Paul Robinson; lesser spotted dogfish – 3.2.14 – Paul Robinson; flounder – 2.6.7 – Paul Robinson; garfish – 1.6.12 – Will Harvey; red gurnard – 0.12.4 – Paul Jenkins; mackerel – 1.6.3 – Steve Butler; golden grey mullet – 2.4.1 – Rex Thomas; thick lip mullet – 5.5.5 – Keith Gilbert; plaice – 2.14.2 – Peter Maddern; pollack – 6.10.4 – Tim Gerrard; small eyed ray – 9.7.7 – Paul Robinson; shore rockling – 0.11.12 – Paul Robinson; three bearded rockling – 2.0.11 – Paul Robinson; dover sole – Peter Kessell – 1.6.0; turbot – Rob Chapman – 1.8.4; whiting – Paul Robinson – 1.1.0; ballan wrasse – 6.0.12 – Kieren Faisey; corkwing wrasse – 0.10.12 – Liam Faisey.
Best of Species (Boat): bass – 9.4.0 – Rob Chapman; couch's bream – 4.14.4 – Liam Faisey; brill – 6-6-10 – Sam Narbett; bullhuss – 10-15-14 – Sam Narbett; cod – 8.13.0 – Sam Narbett; conger – 38.4.2 – Andy Richards; dab – 1.2.13 – Sam Narbett; lesser spotted dogfish – 2.15.5 – Andy Richards; garfish – 2.3.14 – Mel Brewer; grey gurnard – 0.13.12 – Sam Narbett; red gurnard – 1.14.0 – Jackie Morse; tub gurnard – 1.4.15 – Sam Narbett; haddock – 3.0.4 – Andy Richards; ling – 14.13.10 – Anthony Blewett; mackerel – 1.10.8 – Sam Narbett; megrim – 1.12.10 – Andy Richards; thick lip mullet – 5.1.10 – Rob Chapman; plaice – 2.5.4 – Paul Kneebone; pollack – 15.6.15 – Andy Richards; pouting – 3.5.12 – Paul Kneebone; blonde ray – 13.4.2 – Sam Narbett; small eyed ray – 13.5.2 – Rob Chapman; scad – 1.1.6 – Andy Richards; turbot – 3.5.6 – Sam Narbett; greater weever – 1.11.6 – Andy Richards; whiting – 3.4.1 – Martin Nicholls; cuckoo wrasse – 1.10.10 – Sam Narbett.
All junior and senior members, are reminded that the Christmas Competition is this Sunday December 30. Sign-on at Newtown and West Cornwall Angling Centres 9am to 9.30am.
LOCAL CLUBS' ROUND-UP:
There is an exciting line-up for the Cornwall and Devon Golf Development Conference at Trethorne GC on Wednesday, January 16, says county golf development officer Simon Wood.
The conference will focus on key areas for future golf club development and brings together some of the 'best practice' examples from the last four years across the two counties.
There will be nine different speakers covering a range of topics, but the keynote speaker will be England Golf's director of coaching and four-time Walker Cup player Nigel Edwards.
Wood said: "Each topic at the conference has been carefully chosen to add value to clubs, with all speakers having many years' experience in a variety of golf performance and development scenarios.
"The conference is suitable for club secretaries and managers, club captains, PGA professionals, committee members and junior organisers."
To book a place at the conference, which starts at 9am, or for more information please contact Simon Wood on 07971 624313.
The competitions at Praa Sands for the Ladies on Saturday and the Men on Sunday were both cancelled and the course was closed following the prolonged torrential rain.
Next week the Ladies play on Saturday and the Men play a Stableford on Sunday.
On New Year's Day there will be the traditional Putters off the Tee at noon, followed by the Triathlon, and these competitions are open to all playing members.
Next week the Ladies play on Wednesday morning, and the Ogres meet on Wednesday afternoon.
Adam Curtis (Bude and North Cornwall) was named as the County junior captain for the forthcoming year at the CGU Junior Section annual meeting held at Newquay recently.
Adam, who is already a two handicap player, has impressed with his consistent golf over the past year, during which he finished runner-up in the Junior Order of Merit. Adam is one of a trio of brothers, with elder brother Ryan, also a two handicapper, at the North Cornwall club.
CGU junior president Phil Linaker welcomed Adam to the role and at the same time thanked the outgoing junior captain Justin Barnard (Tehidy Park) for his efforts. Justin was presented with a small memento in recognition of his time as captain by Under-18 team manager Antony Richards.
Launceston's Jan Harrison took over the reins as Cornwall Ladies' captain from Jean Reed at the CLCGA's annual meeting held at Killiow last week.
Harrison, who plays off a low single figure handicap and has been a regular member of the county first team, had been vice-captain for the past two years.
Other new officers elected at the meeting were Tehidy Park's Nikki Hodge as vice-captain, Sara Taylor as competitions secretary and Margaret Swayne as treasurer. In addition Jacqueline Wheeler will continue as junior organiser for another year, while a raffle raised more than £200 for county funds.