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Wheelbase Struggle Hillclimb


Wheelbase were proud sponsors of the recent National Hillclimb Championships which took place on the fearsome Struggle, just a short ride from Wheelbase HQ in the Lake District. The event saw over 400 riders take on this iconic climb out of Ambleside with huge crowds of supporters positioned higher up the course, lining the roadside with cowbells and Wheelbase Vuvuzelas. With a real party atmosphere the mists eventually cleared as fans in some pretty questionable fancy dress helped entertain spectators and racers alike!

Watch all the race action from the 2023 National Hillclimb Championships on the Struggle!

Video by Badger Productions Ltd


There were some truly outstanding performances throughout all of the race categories, with a broad spread of ages represented from 14 up to 74 and some incredibly impressive times including a new course record of 11 minutes and 48 seconds for defending National Champion Andrew Feather. Roadside pundits were shocked to see someone go under 12 minutes for the first time on the Struggle, with Ed Laverack not far behind in a time of 12 minutes and 6 seconds for 2nd place. Perhaps even more notable was the stunning time from junior rider Harry Hudson who equalled the 3rd placed senior man Paddy Clark in an amazing time of 13 minutes and 5 seconds. In the senior female category Illi Gardner took the win with an impressive time of 15 minutes and 3 seconds, bettering 2nd placed rider Lizi Brooke by almost a minute, with 3rd placed Abi Plowman finishing just one second behind Lizi in a time of 16 minutes and 3 seconds.

Wheelbase Struggle Hillclimb

Andrew Feather retained his National Champion title AND set a new course record of 11.48 on the Struggle!


Wheelbase Struggle Hillclimb

Illi Gardner took the senior female win to take the National Champion title in a time of 15 minutes and 3 seconds.


Senior Male
1st Andrew Feather 00:11:48
2nd Ed Laverack 00:12:06
3rd Paddy Clark 00:13:05
Note: Junior rider Harry Hudson (13:05) was equal 3rd overall

Wheelbase Cabtech Castelli Riders
12th Lee Rosie 13:50.0 (U23)
14th Andy Cunningham 13:51.0
40th Thomas Armstrong 14:41.0

Senior Female
1st Illi Gardner 00:15:03
2nd Lizi Brooke 00:16:02
3rd Abi Plowman 00:16:03


Scroll down to see a full set of race results for each category as well as an awesome photo gallery by James Vincent…


Age 14
1st. Isabel Beale 00:22:02

Age 15
1st. Ruby Isaac 00:18:21
2nd. Maia Howell 00:20:21
3rd. Megan Hughes 00:20:57

Age 16
1st Ella Tandy 00:18:25

Ages 17
1st Millie Jenkins 00:20:34
2nd Sophie Heighton 00:24:15

Ages 40 – 44
1st Gemma Sargent 00:18:55
2nd Hayley Mcewan 00:20:13
3rd Kamila Leska 00:22:09

Ages 45 – 49
1st Helen Jackson 00:17:43
2nd Victoria Wilkinson 00:18:13
3rd Celia Brown 00:19:15

Ages 50 – 54
1st Sarah Wilkinson 00:17:55
2nd Sarah Harrison 00:20:09
3rd Louise Johnson 00:21:38

Ages 55 – 59
1st Wiebke Rietz 00:21:45
2nd Sally Maitland 00:22:01
3rd Susie Kirkham 00:24:15

Ages 60 – 64
1st Janet Le Luan 00:22:32
2nd Deborah John 00:25:45

Ages 65 – 69
1st Sally Cunliffe 00:23:19

Ages 70 – 74
1st Margaret Docking 00:29:39


Age 12
1 Finn Miller 00:23:41

Ages 13
1st Ezra Bateman 00:16:50
2nd  Brodie Johnson 00:17:08
3rd Jamie Brough 00:19:39

Ages 14
1st Finley Hudson 00:16:02
2nd Roch Morgan 00:16:04

Ages 15
1st Finn Obrien 00:14:22
2nd Harley Widdowson 00:14:35
3rd Charlie Brennan 00:15:28

Ages 16
1st Harry Hudson 00:13:05 (3RD OVERALL)
2nd Louis Herring 00:14:45
3rd Ethan Squires 00:15:13

Ages 17
1st Joe Watkins-Wilson 00:14:04
2nd George Mahon 00:14:27
3rd Ahron Dick 00:14:32

Ages 18
1st Maxwell Hereward 00:13:19
2nd George Stephen 00:14:28
3rd Cai Curtis-Roberts 00:14:40

Ages 40 – 44
1st Leon Wright 00:14:20
2nd John Bowman 00:14:21
3rd Laurie Lambeth 00:14:47

Ages 45 – 49
1st Phil Stonelake 00:14:45
2nd Andy Pearson 00:15:02
3rd Steven Prince 00:15:47

Ages 50 – 54
1st Andrew Metherell 00:15:59
2nd Karl Norris 00:16:26
3rd Simon Warren 00:16:26

Ages 55 – 59
1st Colin Atkinson 00:15:12
2nd Chris Myhill 00:15:39
3rd Steve Thomas 00:16:19

Ages 60 – 64
1st Martin Shaw 00:16:46
2nd John Flanagan 00:17:03
3rd Bryan Pool 00:17:18

Ages 65 – 69
1st John Raftery 00:18:31
2nd Bob Atkinson 00:18:33
3rd Gordon Simpson 00:18:58
3rd Hilton Armstrong 00:18:58

Ages 70 – 74
1st Martin Bullen 00:21:00

As well as standing at the roadside, cheering on the racers and helping to capture all of the action, we sent our race reporter Johnny Dodgin out to pre-ride the course, giving us the lowdown on this infamous climb…

‘The Struggle hill climb ramps straight up from Ambleside, with no chance for competitors to ease in before they immediately hit the 18-20% gradients and the lung-busting effort begins. It’s very easy to go too deep too soon here, breathing so hard that racers go into anaerobic threshold and never really recover for the remaining length of the climb.

After negotiating these steep lower slopes, which are hemmed in with dry stone walls, the odd tree and a series of tight bends, the terrain opens out in front of riders and the climb becomes a little more forgiving with gradients shallowing to around 8-10%. It’s hard to manage your rhythm here as you encounter a series of false flats with small portions of descent thrown in which have racers questioning their pacing strategy for the overall climb.

There’s a reason that this climb has been named ‘The Struggle’. As the elevation increases and competitors glance upwards they’ll see the very top of the climb ramping up dramatically for the final 200-300 metres. Riders need to dig deep for one final lung-busting effort up the remaining 20% gradients featuring two difficult hairpins and a more unpredictable road surface.

The only redeeming feature of this final kick to the top is the large crowds of supporters at the roadside, shouting encouragement and ringing their cow bells, willing each and every rider on to the finish line where the pain will finally cease and the inevitable wave of relief washes over them as they begin to recover and wait to find out their time and overall position in the race.’

The Struggle – Fast Facts…

Total Elevation: 403m
Maximum Gradient : 24%
Total Distance : 2.67 miles / 4.8 km
Avg Grade : 8.2%

 Check out our Struggle National Hillclimb Championships course preview…

Video by Badger Productions Ltd



Photos by James  Vincent 

Written by Johnny Dodgin

Video by Badger Productions & Johnny Dodgin


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