The Pendle and Bur-nley Grand Prix has opened with victories for Gary Shaw and Mollie Ralphson at the Great Hameldon Hill Fell Race in Accrington.

Clayton’s Shaw was the only athlete to break 40 minutes for the six miles as he won with half a minute in hand over Rossendale veteran Steve Clawson, and there was a fine fourth place for the Darwen based Graham Schofield who won the over 50s.

Kieran Horrigan, the second over 50, won the prize for the first local while two Clayton juniors, Carl Steele and Aidan Holgate were eighth and thirteenth respectively.

Carl was even a counter in the Clayton team, backing Shaw and Andrew Orr in seventh, but Rossendale still beat them by three points with Clawson, Andy Preedy (fifth) and Gareth Jackson (sixth).

There were 11 different winners in the 11 Grand Prix events in 2009 with Shaw clinching the series by taking the final race, so by those stand-ards his two consecutive wins constitute a winning streak.

Amy Green won eight times last year to take the women’s Grand Prix for the third time in her career, but it is rumoured that the Keighley and Craven club runner will not defend her title so the women could enjoy a closely fought season.

The early action appeared to reinforce that suspicion as Traw-den AC’s Ralphson and Clayton’s Katie Tricket fought out a sprint finish with Mollie taking victory by five seconds in 46:51.

Jackie Redmayne, of Chorley Harriers, completed a local clean sweep.

Ralphson won the over 35 age band, Redmayne the over 40s and Jean Rawlinson was the winning over 55 veteran for Clayton Harr-iers as Trickett, Rawlinson and Carol Life (eighth) made sure the hosts took women’s title. The field was mainly a local one with a few visitors diverted to the English Championship at Coniston, but the numbers were only 20 down on last year at 150 and around a third were Clayton-le-Moors Harriers, lending their support as the organising club.