Reports have been reaching Venta Towers all morning of an Elf and a Christmas Pudding seen cycling in or near South Wonston today.
It could only be the 2023 Velo Club Venta Christmas Pudding Time Trial.
Weather conditions allowed for on-road and off-road courses this year with South Wonston Pavilion once again providing the headquarters.
The Christmas Pudding Time Trial does not reward the fastest rider, but instead entrants are asked to predict the time that it will take for them to complete either the road course or alternatively one or two laps of the off road course. The winner is the rider who finishes closest to their predicted time.
Fancy dress was encouraged but maybe it was the unseasonal balmy weather that saw lycra more prominent than tinsel. Chapeau Amy and Phil Thorpe in particular for embracing the festive theme and creating a talking point on the trails round South Wonston as the Christmas Pudding and the Elf passed by.
The road category saw an unbelievably close contest over an undulating 13.95 mile course with six riders completing the course within a minute of their estimated time. Fran Benoist took victory completing her ride just three seconds outside of her estimated time with Andy Moores in second place only five seconds away from his prediction.
The off-road category saw less accurate predictions, perhaps due to the heavy conditions (but more probably due to a slight course adjustment reducing the distance). The result sheet will show Malcolm Cross as the winner, however, this was actually his second one lap effort riding with ten year old Alexander Dibben after they smashed the predicted time on their first effort by more than seventeen minutes. Consequently the organiser has decided that the second effort was ineligible for the coveted Christmas pudding which was awarded to Ed and Elliot Gurney.
The ethos of the Christmas Pudding TT is that it is a fun all inclusive event that anybody can win, not limited to the racing snakes. It was really fantastic to see thirty seven members out this morning comprising youth, junior and senior members with the ladies out in strength.
Huge thanks to all of the helpers, Lydia Gould, Malcolm Cross and Toby Leyland for planning and setting up the off-road course. Tracy Gilmour and Catherine Murphy for refreshments and to Rebecca Gilmour for assistance with starting and time-keeping.
A payment of £72.20 has been sent to Hampshire and IoW Air Ambulance from the donations received.
Thanks to Ellen Bryson for the photos.