If you want to watch a potential future Olympic cycling Champion there’s no better place than the Mildenhall Cycling Rally.
The cycling festival will, as usual, take place over the August Bank Holiday weekend (Saturday 25th – Monday 27th August 2012) at Riverside Middle School, who’s playing fields will become a temporary campsite for around 400 caravan and camping pitches.
“The Rally is known throughout the Great British cycling community as one of the best all-round cycling weekends that appeals to cyclists of all ages and especially families” said Mark Burchett the chairman of the organising club, Mildenhall Cycling Club.
It can boast among its many thousands of competitors over the years such stars as Nicole Cook, Ben Swift and of course Victoria Pendleton, who was a member of the Mildenhall club when she was growing up. It’s grass-tracks like this where these young riders cut their teeth and there can be no denying that the skills they learnt have stood them in very good stead on the top International tracks around the world.
The Rally hasn’t had any major changes to the tried and tested line-up of events over the three days, but as Mark Burchett explained, “we are planning to celebrate the fact that the Olympics are being held in London, something that’s very unlikely to be repeated within most of our lifetimes.” Now in its 26th year, the 2012 Mildenhall Cycling Rally will be held between the Olympics and the Paralympics.
“We cannot let the moment pass us by without celebrating the career of Victoria Pendleton. The Rally Programme will feature a special front cover to commemorate her achievements, with her career lasting from 1997 when she won her first National Grass-Track Championship medal to the London Olympics in 2012, where she won Silver in the Olympic Women’s Sprint which was to be her last competitive event.” said Mark Burchett.
“Victoria was an active member of our Club as she was growing up and was made an Honorary member on 1/5/2005 until 6/10/08 when in recognition of winning the Gold medal in Women’s Sprint at the Beijing Olympics, she was made an Honorary Golden Member of Mildenhall Cycling Club. This was a special category created to recognise the outstanding international achievements and unprecedented success that both her and Paralympian Mark Bristow reached.
The grass-track will as ever form the centrepiece of the Rally, with a full supporting list of grass-track events everyday from 12 noon. Such is the popularity from juvenile riders (under 16) that the Saturday’s track programme is devoted solely to them. The seniors, including nearly 20 women, will contest the racing on the Sunday and Monday.
The highlight of these will be the National 800m Championship. The entries received so far, include Ben Elliott (a current World Masters Champion & former National 8km Champion), Neil Withington, Dave Heald (an ex-National Squad member) Lewis Meadows, John McClelland and Andrew Leverton (who is the current National 400m Grass-Track Champion and leader of the National Short-Distance League)
The medal winners are likely to come from that select group of riders!
Other competitive events will include a Madison Cyclo-Cross and especially for the under 17’s there will be the ever-popular Children’s Duathlon and for the under 16’s the Go-Ride Skilful Riding.
On the touring front, C.T.C. (Cyclists Touring Club) Suffolk will be organising 57, 100, 200 & 300km Audax Rides on the Saturday. For those that want something more relaxing, Mildenhall Cycling Club will have their range of touring leaflets, offering a variety of scenery of varying distances.
There will be a two-day Trade Show (Sunday and Monday) open to the public, where especially in the current tough economic climate, there’s sure to be plenty of bargains to be had, from components to complete machines.
Other attractions will include the ever-popular Cycle Jumble and Quiz Nights. Like the camping, booking for the Jumble has sold out before the event.
The Rally is an ideal day-out for families, whether you’re from a cycling background or not. Every day there will be the Children’s Sports, while on the Sunday and Monday there will be the bouncy castle and face painter. Additionally on the Sunday there will be a circus skills-workshop and on the Monday, Adam Strange with his Magic and Puppet Shows! All of these attractions for the children are completely free of charge. In addition to this there is free day parking and free entry to the Rally site.
Full details of everything happening and when it takes place at the Rally can be found at www.mildenhallrally.org.uk
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