Report: Sheffield Grand Prix

In front of 10,000 people, Graham Briggs (Raleigh GAC) had perhaps his biggest win in the series, beating Russell Downing (Endura Racing)  in a race that both really wanted to win!

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South Yorkshire, a breeding ground for so many world class cyclists, was the venue for two high profile circuit races in the town centre and it was a local lad who won the Men’s race from fellow local Russell Downing with Kiwi Rico Rogers (Node 4) in third.

Graham Briggs (Raleigh GAC): “It was really tough out there and there were a few moments when I was hanging on so to get the win and beat Russell was good. The team rode awesomely tonight. They seem to get better and better each time we do that leadout and they delivered me perfectly. I couldn’t really let them down.”

“It was quite tough to get away tonight. It was really fast and I had a few digs but nothing was getting away so I did my best to save the legs and see what I could do in the sprint.”

“I knew Russell was going to be up for it tonight and was one of the fastest guys so knew I had to get the jump on him and the guys set me up right to do that. This win is really good and a shame that the series wasn’t as well supported as here but great to finish on a high and to win the overall.”

Having won the series already, Graham added it was good to come to Sheffield with no pressure. “I didn’t want to be coming here with the pressure of trying to win the race as well as the overall and in the end, finished it off well.”

Graham explained that he’s now got a four day break coming up to refresh the batteries after all the crits which have been pretty full on but after next week, its fully focused on the Tour of Britain.

Russell Downing: “It was a pretty quick race tonight” said the Endura Racing rider who was many people’s favourite who could see how much he wanted it from his place in the string each lap they came round.

“It was well controlled by Raleigh GAC and Rapha so I had to sit top 10 all race and then I sat in the middle of the Raleigh train. Graham jumped into the last corner and I went to go under him and Bernie (Sulzberger) never opened the door for me and I got a bit gapped out of the corner and I wasn’t going to catch Briggsy.”

“Myself and Graham are pretty similar speed wise so if you get a jump on the other like that, you’re not going to catch them. I was glad it was Graham though – happy for me, Graham or Dean (older brother) to be on the podium. Graham is flying this year. He’s lost his national title but stepped up to the plate and done himself proud.”

“I think next year he wants to move on and do some more road racing and I think he has the potential . He’s the man on the form and showed that tonight – he deserved that win.”

Russell now has some racing in Europe, Paris-Corrèze next week and then some stage racing to build up for the Tour of Britain and then hopefully get a stage or two there.

Rico Rogers (Node 4): Unhappy with the final sprint and crossing the line in third with arm raised, the New Zealander explained after the podium presentation “The sprint was not such a straight sprint and little frustrating.”

Rico has been consistently on the podium in crits lately but says “I still prefer road racing. I went to France last weekend and won a UCI 1.2 which was great. It was a good cobbled North of France type race near Lille and so happy to get that win.”

“The win helped make things sweeter after a tough year when at times I’ve been ready to throw it in but to get that win Sunday and this here and I think I finished second overall in the series here is good. I think if I continued to race here, I’d get more consistent and higher. I have good sprint legs at the moment although these crits are like a leadout for a sprint for an hour and then a slight kick. I’m enjoying it though!”

The Photo Report

Raleigh GAC rider Graham Briggs wins the Sheffield Grand Prix in front of 10,000 fans, many of them screaming for him and just as many for Russell Downing in second. Superb photo from

Raleigh GAC riders celebrate the success of their team captain Graham Briggs whilst Rico Rogers is not happy that sprint wasn’t ‘straight’. Rico by the way won a UCI 1.2 race in France last weekend. Details to come. Superb photo from

With darkness descending on Sheffield, the race gets underway. 

Home straight was packed with spectators as were other parts of the course.

Final bend before the finish in front of the Town Hall.

New Zealand Circuit Race champion Mike Northey (Node 4-Giordana) escaped with two Australians, Bernie Sulzberger (Raleigh GAC) and Ben Grenda (Rapha Condor sharp). Endura Racing’s Rob Partridge saw to it that the break did not succeed.

The Raleigh-GAC leadout started with at 6 or 7 laps to go

Evan Oliphant gives it full gas for his team Raleigh GAC  with Endura Racing’s Russell Downing tucked on his wheel.

Top 3 in the race, Russell Downing, Graham Briggs and Rico Rogers.

Russell Downing soaks everyone with champagne …

Kit Gilham was seen at the front quite a lot in the event sponsored by Onimpex Bioracer among others.  Onimpex Bioracer also provide Kit’s team’s clothing.

Graham Briggs is in super form and wants to take it from the crits and onto the road and the Tour of Britain.

Bronze medallist in the MTB Nationals last weekend, Oli Beckingsale (Endura) was one of the 80 or so entries.

Russell Downing had a few digs and got stuck in for the sprint but when Briggs launched his sprint, Downing found some Raleigh obstacles in his way.

… and finally but no means least, a rider who had a lot of success in the Sheffield crits, Chris Walker, had his own team in the race, RST Trigon Bikes as well as his daughter Jessie in the Women’s event.

Men’s Elite Circuit Series

1. Graham Briggs, Raleigh GAC
2. Russell Downing, Endura Racing
3. Rico Rogers, Node 4 Giordana
4. Bernie Sulzberger, Raleigh GAC
5. Tobyn Horton, Raleigh GAC
6. Dean Downing, Rapha Condor Sharp
7. James McCallum, Rapha Condor Sharp @ 2 secs
8. Ben Grenda, Rapha Condor Sharp
9. Tom Murray, IG Sigma Sport @ 4 secs
10. Mike Northey, Node 4 Giordana
11. Richard Lang, Rapha Condor Sharp
12. Kit Gilham, herbalife leisurelakes
13. Will Bjergfelt, Cycle Premier Kovert
14. Richard Hepworth, Cycle Premier Kovert
15. Steve Lampier, IG Sigma Sport @ 13 secs
16. Matt Jones, Corley Cycles
17. Stuart Reid, Wheelbase
18. Lewis Craven, Wheelbase
19. Dave Clarke, NOde 4 Giordana
20. Paul Oldham, Hope Factory RT
21. Matt Sumpton, RST Clothing/Trigin Bikes
22. Rob Partridge, Endura Racing
23. Luke Grivell-Mellor, Rapha Condor Sharp
24. Matt Higgins, Node 4 Giordana
25. Jake Hales, IG Sigma Sport @ 24 secs
26. Matt Williams, Hope Factory Racing
27. Tom Stewart, RST Clothing/Trigin Bikes
28. Andrew Griffiths, IG Sigma Sport @ 29 seconds
29. Simon Richardson, IG Sigma Sport
30. Richard Handley, Rapha Condor Sharp @31 secs
31. Matt Cronshaw, Node 4 Giordana
32. Evan Oliphant, Raleigh GAC @ 40 secs
33. Jamie Shirlaw, herbalife leisurelakes
34. Russell Hampton, Raleigh GAC
35. Matt Holmes, Raleigh GAC @ 1.45

Lapped rider group sprint
Jacob Scott, Planetx
Tom Barras, Metaltek Scott
Dan Booth, Hope Factory RT
William Penn, wheelbase
Liam Glen, Wheelbase
Mark Baines, Spirit RT
Andrew Hastings, Metaltek Scott
James Gullen, Metaltek Scott
Harry Tanfield, Wallis CHH





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