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Air ambulance called to Fred Whitton incident on Hardknott Pass

Police and the event organisers confirmed the injuries were not as bad as first feared, with a rider kept in hospital overnight

An air ambulance was called to an incident on the infamous Hardknott Pass during Sunday's Fred Whitton, the iconic Lake District sportive that takes in all the area's toughest climbs and is regarded as one of, if not the toughest event for amateur riders in the UK.

Cumbria Police and the event organisers confirmed to road.cc that a female participant had been taken to hospital by North West Ambulance Service and was kept in overnight, but the ultimately minor injuries were "not as serious as first thought".

The air ambulance attended an incident near the fearsome upper slopes of Hardknott Pass. A YouTube video by one participant, mille2k, showed riders waiting patiently behind as the helicopter left the scene.

Later in the video riders are seen waiting again as emergency services attend to a crash on the next climb — Wyrnose Pass.

Fred Whitton crash Wrynose Pass (mile2k/YouTube)

"Not as serious as first thought the cyclist suffered minor injuries and was taken to hospital by North West Ambulance Service," Cumbria Police told road.cc about the Hardknott incident, the event's organisers confirming "nothing too serious, only one rider kept overnight in hospital".

The 112-mile (180km) event, sponsored by Wheelbase, includes 3,600m (11,811ft) of climbing over Kirkstone Pass, Honister Pass, Newlands Pass, Whinlatter, Hardknott and Wrynose, and is named after Fred Whitton, a member of the Lakes Road Club who died in 1998.

This year's edition also saw the course record broken as 17-year-old Finlay Hawker set a quite incredible time of 5:26 at an average speed of 33.5km/h (20.8mph).

Smashing KOMs as he went, Hawker had a normalised power of 257w for the day, still flying up the slopes of the final climb of Blea Tarn at 22km/h after five hours of brutal Lake District climbing.

 

That's surely deserving of some kudos... 

Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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11 comments

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Miller | 9 months ago
1 like

Fred Whitton Part 2, from 1st feed to finish. But mainly about Hardknott.

https://youtu.be/BV2DCfiVSG0

Avatar
Secret_squirrel | 9 months ago
1 like

Random question anyone done both the Fred and the 130mi version of the Dragon Ride?  How do they compare?

My brain says they are roughly equivalent?  I've done the Welsh one.

Avatar
Miller replied to Secret_squirrel | 9 months ago
8 likes

I can help you out on this having done the 216km Dragon Ride last year and the FW two days ago. Some bare statistics recorded by me:

Dragon ride: 216km, 3310m elevation, 9hr01min moving time

Fred Whitton: 180km, 3580m elevation, 8hr23min moving time

Both rides were in good weather. On the face of it, pretty even with the DR shading it for time and distance. However the FW contains numerous savage ramps you have to haul your sorry arse up: Honister, Hardknott and Wrynose being the worst but far from the only. Those 25%+ ramps really bite. In terms of a feeling of achievement, I therefore hand the award to the Fred Whitton. And although Wales is lovely, the Lake District in good weather is unbelievably pretty.

As for being on Hardknott on Sunday, I would absolutely, no question, have cleaned the ascent if it hadn't been for Mountain Rescue  parked and attending the casualty on the most difficult corner. Well, maybe. Their Landie did finally force me off. I was ahead of the road closure although it couldn't have been by much, I saw the helo hovering about. There was also a man down and not looking great on the descent of Wrynose. Ambulance in attendance. 

My commiserations to the victims, get well soon, but the FW was a fabulous day out. I can say that Hardknott completely deserves its reputation. 

 

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Secret_squirrel replied to Miller | 9 months ago
4 likes

I did Dragon in 9h54 in 2021, and the hills broke me mentally as much as physically - the long leg sapping drags almost more than the ramps.  I'll take this and the above as guidance that Im not ready for the FW!

My local hills (Chilterns) are nearly all sharp and spikey (Streatley, Whiteleaf) compared to the Welsh/Northern ones, so good hill time is a problem too.

Thanks!

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quiff replied to Miller | 9 months ago
0 likes

I'd agree. Did them in consecutive years in 2017/18. Dragon took me 8hr 57m, Fred was 7hr 51m. Definitely suffered more on the Fred - I still have unfinished business on the Hardknott and Wrynose passes. 

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Gasman Jim replied to Secret_squirrel | 9 months ago
2 likes

I rode the Dragon in 2014 and have ridden the Fred 5 times since 2015.

I found the Dragon a bit tedious; it's a big day out but it lacks the savage climbs & spectacular scenery of the Fred.

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Miller replied to Secret_squirrel | 9 months ago
2 likes

Here's my Part 1 video of the FW, takes you from the start to the first feed. No talking heads, just cycling. 

https://youtu.be/dFTGC7MZfU4

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quiff replied to Miller | 9 months ago
1 like

Watching your footage of Honister is one of the horrors I remember most about the ride - the difficulty of not only getting up the gradients, but doing so while trying to co-ordinate your side to side weaving with everyone else around you!     

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Miller replied to quiff | 9 months ago
0 likes

That opening ramp on Honister is savage, not a surprise that people were weaving. The descent on t'other side was glorious though and the view was stunning.
More FW tomorrow.

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NotNigel replied to Miller | 9 months ago
1 like

Great video, thanks for sharing.  The other side of Honister, going towards Buttermere always blows me away, view wise.

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wtjs replied to Miller | 9 months ago
2 likes

Here's my Part 1 video of the FW

Extremely excellent, even though that's grammatically incorrect! Brings back memories. I've only done it once, on a hard weekend with the Keswick to Barrow on the Saturday, and the FW on Sunday. Car to Coniston cottage on Friday to deposit gear, drive down to Barrow, leave car and cycle back to cottage. Walk into Coniston to join friends for a lift up to the K to B start. Finish K to B, drive to Coniston. Cycle down into Coniston for FW, had to walk on both Hardknott and Wrynose, drive back home.

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