Berkhamsted Cycling Club held the region’s first full-capacity cycling road race to take place since first lockdowns began, and Marine Guerin and Craig Condie beat more than 60 and 80 riders respectively to finish first in the women’s and men’s categories.
The two races took place on Sunday 25 July, with both men and women completing 12 laps of a 4.2 mile circuit in Mentmore, Buckinghamshire.
Marine, an investment professional from London, riding for Team Watto LDN, triumphed amid a high-level women’s field, including ‘elite’ category racers (racers who compete one level below the professional ranks). The women’s competition formed part of the country-wide British Women’s Team Cup Series, and was the first Team Cup race to take place at full capacity since the start of the pandemic.
The race itself was very competitive, with women completing laps of the course in times between nine and 12 minutes.
Meanwhile Craig Condie, who rides for Bristol South CC, triumphed in the men’s race. The competition began at a furious pace, and by half way a third of the riders were either out of the race or had been lapped by the leaders. At the end of the men’s race, prizes were given out by Martin Tett, leader of Bucks County Council.
The men’s race was also notable for a team of amateurs entered by broadcaster Global Cycling Network and coached by Tom Southam, a sports director at top professional team EF Education Nippo. Their performance will form part of a forthcoming documentary about grassroots racing to be shown on Global Cycling Network.
Julian Ormerod, chair of Berkhamsted Cycling Club said: ‘It was hugely exciting for spectators to see such high-level racing. Although for the racers themselves I’m sure the experience was a lot more stressful!
‘The race was a huge achievement and a huge relief. It’s our club’s largest annual event but because of Covid we have not been able to put in on for the past year. That piled pressure on our return to racing, and thanks to a huge effort behind the scenes, and our amazing team of volunteers on the day, we were able to go ahead. I’m so glad we did – it is great to see exciting, friendly and competitive grassroots road racing again.’
Image credit: Trevor Hill