This weekend: Road Race Returns

In the Mendips area of the country on Sunday sees something we on the UK mainland haven’t had the pleasure of seeing for over a year – a road race! We talk to the organiser Felix Young

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This weekend: Road Race Returns

In the Mendips area of the country on Sunday sees something we on the UK mainland haven’t had the pleasure of seeing for over a year – a road race! We talk to the organiser Felix Young who says after so long away the sport of road racing, it will be a case of everyone involved in the race, riders and officials alike, all getting used to all the intricacies of putting on a road race after over a year since the last one.

The race will see 45 category 2/3/4 riders who all live within 20 miles of the races headquarters race around the circuit in the Mendips for 51km. It is a test event and as the first road race back after so long, it carries with it a lot of prestige and history. Felix says of it “a huge amount of credit has to go to the region because they have put a huge amount of energy and expertise behind making sure we could do this.”

“We started liaising with the Avon Somerset police back in January just as things started to turn around with the case numbers (Covid). After that, we just wanted to make sure we were ready as soon as possible when it was safe and we are really fortunate that the local clubs that organise road races in this area have built up great relationship and the RCA has worked with the police to make sure that they were involved in it”.

“So it has taken several months to get things lined up and after so many false dawns, it is nice to be a few days away from it actually happening.”

The road race will certainly be a lot different to the road races we are used to pre Covid pandemic. When asked was it more difficult to organise than others he has done, Felix replied “organising any road race is a complicated thing to bring to life and even before Covid, it was always a challenge.”

“Hence why it has taken longer than some of the other events that have been able to be brought back. There are all kinds of hurdles to overcome to put something like this on, dealing with local authorities, parish councils, police and so on, and hopefully once we can show we can deliver an event, it can reassure everyone it can be done safely and it will make it easier for event organisers to bring more events to life.”

“It will be a very short road race because we are working within Sport England guidance so it won’t be what we are used to but over the coming months, as things progress, we can gradually return to what would resemble more of a typical road race. There will also be a lot of Covid safe protocols around the HQ and stuff we have learnt from other events.”

“The briefings will be delivered online on Friday evening to minimise the amount of conversations that need to be had with the riders and the time spent at the HQ. The course was chosen because it’s very rural in the Mendips, a beautiful part of the country. There are no villages, just a few houses on the course.”

“Being the first event, British Cycling have been very conscious of the need to protect the long time future of road racing and the public perception of it. So the course was chosen partly because of the relationship with the police in the area and the also the nature of the course. The sporting elements have had to come second to the practicalities of the Covid world but as we know, the riders make the race not the course and we’re expecting them to put on a show. “

Hopefully, says Felix, the race will give everyone a taste of what is to come in the coming weeks and months. It is though a big responsibility for those involved. “Not just for myself but all the riders and everyone on the event, there is a huge responsibility to get it right on Sunday” Felix explained, adding “because hopefully it will trail blaze the rest of the season. We are confident can get it right.”

And organising this event, and others on Good Friday, isn’t the last one for Felix as he’s also putting on a Nat B race (men) and women’s Regional B on the 23rd May so look out for them on the calendar. We wish Felix and his team lots of luck on Sunday as we welcome road racing back to the UK mainland.

Mendips Test Road Race

When: April 18
Distance: 51km

1. Conor Chandler
2. Will Duffy
3. Sam Duffy
4. Darren Gardner
5. Chris Owram
6. Gary Sheppard
7. David Stoyle
8. Tom Williams
9. Josh Griffiths
10. Chris Roxburgh
11. Matthew Smart
12. Archie Cross
13. Matthew Franklin
14. Aaron Lee
15. Daniel nash
16. John Russell
17. Neil White
18. Oliver Rayner
19. Euan Taylor
20. William Jewitt
21. Joseph Taylor
22. Harvey Lawson
23. Charlie Parry
24. Cameron Preece
25. Conor McGoldrick
26. Liam Cahill
27. Thomas Price
28. Joe Twelvetrees
29. Steven Whitehurst
30. James Williams
31. Daniel Soltys
32. Joshua Price
33. Matt Lelliott
34. Steve Thomas
35. Charlie Beake
36. Joshua Croxton
37. Ben Millar
38. Charlie Revell
39. Joe Griffiths
40. Carl Jolly
41. Jack Thompson
42. George Bazley
43. Matthew Britton
44. Jos Kertsman
45. Llewellyn Holmes

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