By Liam Moakes 05/07 Updated: 05/07 15:36
TOWN centre road races organised by the town's cycling club returned to Redditch Town Centre for the first time since the 1960s on Saturday evening and proved a resounding success.
Held in conjunction with Redditch Borough Council and Redditch Road & Path Cycling Club, the event started with a family ride around the 1km circuit which was open to all and, with over 100 riders, was a great opportunity to ride Redditch roads and paths without pedestrian or road traffic.
The youngest rider was Lauren Oldfield from the Redditch club who, at just three years of age, managed a whole lap without any assistance at all.
There were urban sprint races for U12s, U10s and U8s straight up the hill of Church Green East from the Town Hall start point and finishing by the bandstand, in which 28 riders took part.
There were four races in total, with the U12s winner being Jacob Knight. Second was Harrison Knight and the Redditch club's Fraser Salkeld was third.
The U10s race was won by Edward Woodward, Luke Simmons was second and the Redditch club's Georgina Davis was third.
The Redditch club had a winner in the U8s race as Luke Richardson triumphed. Christian Owners was second and Ben Parr third.
The adult racing proved to be fast and furious even in the novice 4th Category race. The sprint prizes - sponsored by local bike shop Cult Racing Cycles and local health clinic G D Health Ltd - were all won by youth rider Fraser Martin who was pipped at the post by 4th Cat rider Mark Brown.
There was a large field in this race of mixed abilities and a lot of first time racers, but it was great to see everyone try their hardest and it was an achievement for all who finished.
The final race of the day was the 3rd Category race for which Solihull youth rider Dan Fox received dispensation to ride against older more experienced opponents.
It was Fox who took the initiative in sprinting from the start to stretch the field. Phil Blacker of Jewson-Thule managed to take the first two intermediate sprints, sponsored by local bike shop Echelon Cycles.
Fox took the final sprint, sponsored by local insurance broker BWA (Commercial) Ltd. The final few laps then became a game of cat and mouse with the top ten riders all testing the legs of the others to see if they could break away for the win.
With the bunch still together, Blacker put the hammer down on the back straight down Archer Road, but Fox hung on and made an audacious inside move on the final two corners to beat Blacker by half a bike length, with Sean Mungovan (Beacon RCC) third.
Redditch Road & Path Cycling Club would like to thank their sponsors Echelon Cycles, Cult Racing Cycles, G D Health Ltd and BWA (Commercial) Ltd and all the many volunteers, marshals, the council and British Cycling, who all pulled together to create a memorable event.
Thanks also to Pam Yates who was the chief organiser of the whole event and Gordon Cogswell who took on the dubious task of dealing with track safety.
Riders met again on Monday night for the British Schools Cycling Association Regional Hill Climb Race.
Each rider had to race up the length of Gorcott Hill from the very bottom to the Hollybush pub. Just getting up the hill is a feat for most riders, but local riders were racing as fast as they could for their schools and clubs.
Around 20 riders from local schools took part, with a good turnout from Redditch Road & Path Cycling Club.
Luca Palmeri was sixth in the 11-13 age group, Gareth Richardson was third in the 11-13 age group, Scott Matthews was third in the 9-11 age group and Fraser Salkeld a close second, missing out on first place by just one second.
Chloe Ralph became girls regional champion in her age group and in a hotly-contested 7-9 age group Luke Richardson was third and Sam Wainwright second.
In the U7 age group Sullivan Berry became regional champion as he sprinted up the hill in a personal best time of 2 mins, 57 seconds.
This was a great event despite the weather and thanks to Ian Billington and family for organising it.
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