After its absence last year, due to COVID-19, the club’s annual road races return again on Sunday 23rd May. This year’s event will be one of the first cycle races to be held in the country as lockdown eases, permitting certain sporting events to recommence. In fact, British Cycling are using our races as a “test event”, supplying the club with a team of accredited marshals, but also restricting the entry of both the men’s and women’s race to 60 riders, rather than the normally allowed 80.
The 45 mile three-lap course, to the north-west of Banbury, is still the same as in previous years. Taking in the challenge of three ascents of Edgehill, which has a maximum gradient of 16 per cent, the course finishes after a short climb out of Horley.
The men’s race starts at 9.30am. For Category 3 and 4 riders, the entry was very quickly over-subscribed, following the 60-rider cap. Three Banbury Star riders are entered; Richard Baker, Graham Martin and at just 17, Louis Bushby, probably the youngest rider in the men’s field. It’s always extremely difficult to pick a winner for this race, particularly this time with such a long gap in the racing calendar. However, David Fellows (Solihull CC) could be a good outside bet as he was the winner, by a big margin, of last year’s Hardriders TT, so he’s clearly fast and likes hills.
2019 Women’s race peloton
The women’s race starts at 1.30pm. As in previous years this race is a round of British Cycling’s Women’s Team Cup. This would normally be a 9-round series, but the three opening rounds were cancelled, so the club’s event is now the first round of six.
Again, this event has a maximum 60 rider entry, which comprises a total of 17 teams. Most of these teams are funded and supported by trade related sponsors, but it’s good to welcome nearby Cowley Road Conders as a club entry. The race allows Elite and Category 1, 2 and 3 riders, so attracts some of the country’s best up and coming young women, a large number of whom will be hoping for a full professional career in the years ahead.
Of club interest we have local girl and second claim club member, Lydia Watts, riding for the Awol Team.