NATIONAL hill climb champion Dan Evans narrowly missed out on victory in the Ramsbottom Rake on Sunday - but has already declared his intention to return for 2016.

Evans was last man off in the annual race up the 875 metre hill but he was beaten by less than a second as Lee Baldwin retained his title.

The Team Elite/Paul Bethall Electrical rider crossed the line in 2minutes 27.1seconds but it wasn’t enough to overhaul Baldwin, who started a minute ahead, as the Champion System man raced to victory in 2mins 26.4secs.

And Lancashire Road Club secretary Duncan Smith revealed that Evans had already inked next year’s race into his calendar.

“Dan lost by such a narrow margin that I think he wants to come back to try and win it,” said Smith.

“He came up to us afterwards and said he really enjoyed it and that he would be back.

“It was a really close race and Lee Baldwin did well to get the win. He has won it two years in a row now so I am sure he will back next year to defend his title.”

Smith also thanked the supporters who came out to cheer the near 70 riders in action.

“We had a really good turnout,” said Smith. “There were plenty of people supporting the riders and we were really pleased with how the race went. We are already looking forward to next year’s event.”

Following Baldwin and Evans home was Wheelbase Altura’s Ben Davis who clocked a fine 2mins 28.4secs for third spot and the final podium place.

The gruelling climb has sections of 25 per cent gradient with a testing 12 per cent average.

There was home joy for the organising Lancashire Road Club as they took the team title awarded for the best team of three. Ben Huddart, Sam Holden and Matt Doheny’s efforts were enough to earn the host club victory in that competition while Claire Munton was the fastest female up the climb as she took victory in 3mins 45.3secs.

Jim Henderson (Southport CC) took the first veteran prize while the first junior was Kieran Wynne-Cattanach. Henry Cash (Holmfirth) won the juvenile prize.