Gibbs back in form to land Lanequest opener
THE heavens opened and the wind blew for the opening event of the 2017 Lakeland Lanequest summer series.
But with conditions more akin to winter, a turnout of 51 hardy souls braved the elements to tackle a rain-soaked course laid out around Hawkshead.
Only one rider, Backbarrow's Tom Gibbs, back to fitness after injury, managed to clear the course and reach all 30 checkpoints within the two hour time limit, finishing with a few minutes to spare.
Not far behind was last year's solo runner up David Heffernan, from Ulverston, who looks set to be challenging for the honours once again.
Behind these two, competition among the lower ranks was fierce, and there were stories to tell of streaming wet roads and missed controls in the pub afterwards.
The organisers laid a course that tempted slower riders into the trap of heading too far south to Graythwaite before turning north along Windermere to Sawrey via High Cunsey.
For faster riders however, this was part of the route that wound its way north to Clappersgate before heading for home – but not before visiting a few controls by Coniston Water, then over Hawkshead Hill.
The two leading ladies in the 2016 solo women's series were at it again.
This time it was Jo Cleary pipping Helen Jackson by a single point, the latter visiting an extra control but suffering time penalties.
First home in the generation pairs were Sharon and Briege Hutchinson, while the winners of the adult pairs/threes were Barrow teacher Ben Procter and his older brother Lee, who flew round to pip second-placed Robin Everingham and Tim Seddon by 10 points.
The second round of competition takes place from the Royal Oak, Spark Bridge, on Tuesday.