Sunday 28th August was forecasted to be dry and sunny but with some light showers, the organisers of the Lichfield City Centre Cycle and Athletic races were therefore hopeful of some reasonable weather. Riders from all over the country had entered the events in advance including riders from the Channel Isle of Jersey.
As it turned out the short bursts of rain were insignificant and did nothing to dampen the sprits of the riders who had turned up to participate in the day of sport taking place in the heart of the city.
In the 20 minute under 8’s event local riders emerged victorious with a win for Connor Smith for the boys and Erin Staite in the Girls for Lichfield City Cycling Club. Both of the riders also claimed the title of Regional Champion in the process. The Under 10’s also raced for 20 minutes Ava Oxley from Wakefield tri Club won the girls race, with Lorna Sharples taking second spot, as Ava lives outside of the West Midlands the regional Champion title was awarded to Lorna from the Halesowen club. In the boys race, Lichfield riders dominated and took the first 3 positions. Lewis Askey was crowned regional Champiuon with Will Staite and Daniel Barnes taking second and third respectively.
The next race of the day was an entry level race for opver 16’s, it’s a race for those new to the sport of cycle racing. The Lichfield Club has experienced a growth in membership and 8 members of the club had entered this race. This domination in numbers was perhaps giving an indication of the top 3 positions as Alex Large won the event, followed by Scott Barnes and Adrian Hatton.
Each race allows a maximum of 40 riders to take place and in the Under 12’s race there were 30 riders on the start line. This race was of a 25 minute duration and the riders completed 15 laps of the 1kilometre circuit in this time. Local expectations were high and were not disappointed as Harry Yates from the Lichfield took the win and the regional title for the Boys. In the girls event Georgia Hilleard from Wolverhampton Wheelers took the win and title followed in second place by Amy Selibas of Lichfield.
In the Women’s only event there were 15 entrants, an excellent turnout for this increasingly popular aspect of the sport. The leaders of the race completed an impressive 30 laps of the circuit in the 50 minute event. Jessie Walker from RST Racing team Trigon took the win ahead of Martine Verweij of Team Jewson and Alison Holmes of the Lichfield Club.
A break from the cycling over the lunchtime period provided the opportunity for runners to take to the traffic free closed roads of the city centre. Entries to this event were made on the day and thanks go out to the running event organisers, Chaserace, who stepped in at the last minute to run the event. Entrants from children to adults lined up on the start line and were required to run 1, 2 or 3 laps. Elliot Waters won the 1 lap race in 4 minutes 5 seconds, ahead of Connor Smith (2nd) and Ben Askey (3rd) who clearly hadn’t had enough competition during the day as they had all competed in the cycling events earlier. In the 2 lap race, Ben’s brother, newly crowned regional Champion Lewis Askey took the win in 8mins 33 seconds. In the 3 lap adult race it was a head to head battle of the sexes. Sarah Cox with a last minute lunge for the line took the win ahead of Matt Williams.
The cycle racing resumed with the 35 minute Under 14’s race, the 23 entrants completed 23 laps of the circuit. Joey Walker from RST Racing Team Trigon took first place ahead of Oliver Lowthorpe from Jersey. 3rd place Joshua Waters of Plan B racing however was the rider able to claim the Regional Champions Jersey. Meanwhile in the girls race Lucy Shaw from Solihull CC took the win and regional title ahead of Paige Millward from Lyme RC and Sophie Capewell of Lichfield City CC.
As the afternoon continued a steady stream of riders were turning up for the Category 3 and 4 race. This race is aimed at the club riders and usually attracts a large number of riders. Riders can enter in advance for races as well as just turn up on the day, but by the morning of the race there were just 5 places out of the 40 available left, with a further 13 riders turning up many of them were to be disappointed although some could ride the next adult race instead. Riders had come from all 4 corners of the country including London, Leeds, Nottingham, Manchester as well as more local riders. This race was of 50 minutes duration and the riders completed 28 laps. The event was won by last years Under 16’s winner in a fine display of fitness and bike handling skills, Alex Welburn from Yoxall of team CycleShack/Forme racing finished ahead of Ben Eedy of Team Empella and Phil Wilkins of Team Jewson
The final youth race of the day was for the under 16’s and there were a number of riders capable of taking the title of race winner and regional champion. 27 riders took to the start line for this 40 minute , 26 lap race. Afst start to the race soon started to split the field with a group of 8 soon moving clear of the other riders. Local favourite Jacob Kelly who won last years Under 14’s event was among these riders and so expectation was growing amongst spectators. As the last lap started Kelly was sitting comfortably in 3rd spot ready to make his move when he was brought down in a crash on the last lap scuppering his chances and the local expectations. An equally strong ride from his rivals did ensure that Adam Lewis fro Wolverhampton took the win and title ahead of Joe Evans fro Velocity and Danny Fox from Solihull CC. In the girls race Annasley park from Climb on Bikes rode stongly to take the girls win and regional title ahead of Paige Coope fro Sherwood Pines and Charlotte Turner from Jersey.
The final race of the day was a National B race, a race for the top level cyclists with over 20 riders participating this event would also be a crowd pleaser. Lichfield riders were among the pre race favourites with Will Penn of Mammoth Lifestyle, Matt Gee from Team Raleigh and James Newey of Maxgear RT . The hour long race was certainly fast paced and the top 7 riders, including the local favourites all broke clear and lapped the rest of the field. On the last lap though it turned out to be a win for Mike Smith followed by Ian Knight to take the top 2 slots for Team Corley Cycles, Will Penn took 3rd for Mammoth lifestyle with Gee and Newey taking 5th and 7th respectively.
The event organiser Phil Kelly, would also like to remind people that amateur and professional photographers of any age are invited to submit their photographs taken at the event on either or both of the themes “city centre cycle racing” and/ or “city centre athletics”
Entries for the competition need to be submitted by Thursday 1st September to Phil. For more information and details visit www.lichfielddc.gov.uk/citycyclerace
The support of the Lichfield Heritage Centre and Lichfield Police is also gratefully acknowledged. The final thanks are to the 3rd Battalion the Mercian Regiment, who were raising money on the day, through a street collection, to support injured soldiers and their families in time of need on the day. The Battalion helped to organise the day and marshal the route, in addition to that Brigadier Williams officially opened the event and presented prizes to the winners of the morning races.
Organisers are intending to run the event next year and many of the sponsors have already indicated that they wish to be involved once again.
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