HOPES are high that spectators will turn out in force when a major national sporting event is held in Denbighshire later this month.

For the first time in more than four decades, the British National Hill Climb Championship will be taking place in the Llangollen area.

This year's event is being jointly organised by Velotik and Wrexham Roads Club, with the race running along the old Horseshoe Pass, from Pentredwr, on Sunday, October 30.

Organiser David Williams is urging spectators to turn out in force for the event.

"It is generally well supported," he said.

"Last year, at Winnats Pass, there were rucks of people there in driving rain!

"I hope it's a success and a good day for supporters, marshals and riders."

Entries have now closed for this year's championships, with hundreds of cyclists set to take part.

Mr Williams added: "We've had 440 entries in all, from 11-year-old juveniles to 70-plus year old veterans.

"We are pretty happy with that.

"There's a record number of entries for women in a national championship event of 74 including the current national hillclimb champion Bithja Jones.

"The men's field is huge, with seven former national hillclimb champions entering."

It won't be an easy route for the competitors on the day and gradients will hit an eye-watering 25 per cent, with an average of 12 per cent on the climb.

As for the potential champions - and winning times - Mr Williams said: "It's up in the air!

"The fastest time on Strava up that climb is 5.55 and it was set by the reigning champion Tom Bell.

"It's hard to see who is going to take it.

"Andrew Feather, the 2020 champion, is going extremely well.

"He's won the Wrexham hillclimb championship on the normal Horseshoe Pass."

Riders will be setting off at 30-second intervals on the day and for spectators and supporters, there will be a bike expo with companies and sponsors in the tented area at the pavilion in Llangollen.

The championships were first staged in Kent in 1944 and the list of former winners reads as a who's who of British cycling.

Brian Robinson, the first British winner of a Tour de France stage, triumphed in 1952, while Olympic gold medalist and Tour de France yellow jersey wearer Chris Boardman won the event for four successive years, between 1988 and 1991.

Potential volunteers who would be able to help out on the day are also being asked to get in touch with organisers.

"We are still recruiting at the moment," said Mr Williams

"We are aiming for 40 volunteers, from car park attendants to people at the start and finish line.

"And people to catch riders at the finishing line, to make sure they don't fall in a heap!"

Anyone wishing to volunteer can e-mail David Williams via boonenbeagle79@yahoo.co.uk for more information.