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Bailey wins Kilnsey Crag thriller
11:42am Thursday 5th September 2013 in Sport
Widely recognised as the most spectacular fell-race classic in the country, the famous Kilnsey Crag Race lived up to its billing once again on Tuesday.
Indeed the event provided one of the most thrilling show-pieces for years with victory finally going to the reigning England champion Simon Bailey, following a mighty confrontation with Appletreewick farmer Ted Mason.
Bailey, a Staffordshire sheep-farmer thus completed a Bank Holiday winning treble of historic annual events in Upper Wharfedale, having already triumphed at Burnsall Sports on the previous Saturday, and at Hebden Sports the following Monday.
These have been added to his impressive conquest earlier in the summer in Buckden Pike fell-race which itself represented a round of British Fell Championship series.
A record total of eighty-three runners set off at Kilnsey, but all the big players were soon at the front and as the leaders heaved their way up the shifting treadmill of scree towards the first sky-line flag, Bailey forged a slender lead over the nine-times Kilnsey winner and defending crag-race champion, Rob Hope.
Mason and Settle’s Mark McGoldrick, were in close pursuit.
Bailey duly held his ground along the sky-line and capably negotiated the precarious descent from the crag-end down towards the top of Kilnsey’s notorious chimney, albeit with fellow England international Hope matching him stride for stride.
Mason was third at that point but his descent from the top was extra-special – indeed some might say almost suicidal – but he managed to stay upright and crashed past Hope and on to Bailey’s shoulder at the entrance to the chimney.
Bailey managed to keep his adversary at bay down that next sheer drop where one slip would prove costly.
On the lower scree slope, “Typhoon Ted” came again and flew past his rival down the last steep embankment to lead the way into the showfield.
Both runners were almost out on their feet but one last dig into his reserves showed just why Bailey is the England champion and won in a speedy 8 minutes 5 seconds, ahead of the gallant Mason who recorded a personal best for the course, 8.09.
Close behind this duo came Hope who produced yet another fine effort for third, McGoldrick ran an absolute blinder for fourth.
The former junior international star, James Hall of Riddlesden, finished fifth.
Mason from Appletreewick duly won the top local award ahead of Burnsall’s Fred Bosomworth himself performing particularly admirably to finish 12th overall.
There was sound competition too for the top female honours with victory finally being achieved by Wetherby’s Caroline Lambert in 11.06 ahead of Otley’s Gill Myers and Threshfield’s Kirsty Hall, herself finishing top local for good measure.
Star of the under-17 race was Silsden’s Harry Muir who won handsomely in a time of 9.06.
Muir finished ahead of fellow Cobbydaler John Lockwood, with Menston’s James Turland in third.
Kilnsey’s Adam Hollings took the top local award.
Ilkley’s Lucy Haines (10.38) wonthe girls race in style at the expense of Hannah Newbould from Ingleton and Polly Spence from Guildford, Surrey.
Running the same course as the under-17’s, Thomas Nelson (9.21) from Mytholmroyd beat Eastburn’s Charlie Lowrie with Robbie Johnstone from Black Lane Ends finishing third Skipton’s Joe Hudson – son of former senior crag race winner, Robert – finished fourth, and sixth placed Alex Ashby from Grassington topped the local honours.
Also from Grassington, rising football starlet, Shona Hastings (12.12) finished ahead of Mytholm- royd’s Keera Nelson and Giggles- wick’s Eve Hutchinson led the way home amongst the girls. Hastings collected the local trophy for good measure.
The top local award winner was James Patchett from Hawkswick, while Gargrave’s Charlotte Barrett was inches ahead of Rossendale’s Lauren Grieg with Silsden’s Lucy Fryers not too far adrift either as they took the one, two, three respectively amongst the girls.
It capped another great afternoon of fell running which delighted an enthralled crowd.
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