Gas Hill Gasp gets Norwich’s Lord Mayor’s Celebrations under way

The Gas Hill Gasp drew a large number of competitors and spectators. Picture: Denise Bradley

The Gas Hill Gasp drew a large number of competitors and spectators. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

It is the ultimate slog on two wheels as dozens of riders burst their lungs trying to climb Gas Hill.

The Gas Hill Gasp drew a large number of competitors and spectators. Picture: Denise Bradley

The Gas Hill Gasp drew a large number of competitors and spectators. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

As the sun slowly set on Norwich, it felt like the perfect start to a weekend of festivities.

The smell of barbecue wafted through the air as spectators, cowbells and clappers in hand, lined the city's steepest hill in the sun for a sporting favourite – the Gas Hill Gasp.

While it only takes a matter of seconds to reach the summit, with gradients reaching angles of up to 20pc at its steepest it is not a challenge for the faint-hearted.

Riders include road, BMX, MTB, fixed and cycle speedway disciplines, competing for top spot in each category.

And while adults make up a good proportion of the entrants, some noticeably smaller cyclists also took on the challenge.

The race was established in the 1950s as a time-trial cycling race and its existence, in varying formats, continued for many decades.

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Tim Bonnett, the organiser from Push Sport Ltd, has conquered the Gasp before, and says riders are spurred on by the crowds every time.

'It is fantastic to see the crowds of spectators turning out to watch and cheer the riders up the hill,' he said.

'What we did when we took over the event was to introduce it to BMX riders, and we have a huge diversity of different types of riders.

'When you tell anyone you are doing a hill climb in Norwich everyone tends to laugh at you, but that subsides when people actually see Gas Hill.

'When you are going up it is a real wall, but in terms of the event we have started it a little higher up so it is not as bad as it initially seems.

'Having hundreds of people lining the streets cheering you on certainly helps. It is a great spectacle and we have all sorts of bikes going up there.

'Some are made for the race and some are less so. Last year we had a BMX going up with a side cart carrying someone.

'There is that competitive element between the riders, but overall it is just a really fun event for everyone.'

• Look out for our 28-page preview of the celebrations in Saturday's Evening News and a 12-page souvenir supplement in Monday's Evening News brought to you in association with Potters Resort

• Tweet us your photos and videos from the weekend using the hashtag #LMC16

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