The inaugural running of the Brian Robinson Challenge Ride saw an increase in the number of riders taking part, the event having been staged for the previous two years as the Kirklees Sportive and good weather favouring participants for the day.
Over 400 riders travelled from across the country to pit themselves against the Pennines on a course covering 77 miles and about 8,000ft of climbing.
Although no formal timing was undertaken this year (an issue the oragnisers say is being looked into for the future) the first riders back stormed around in a stunning four hours 15 minutes, whilst many more were content to ‘get value for money’ and arrive back at the ride HQ in over seven hours.
The event is run to encourage cycling and also raise money for charity, drawing on volunteer support where possible and ride organiser Martyn Bolt paid tribute to all the volunteers and supporters, “We hope to have raised over £7,000 for good causes this year, which is more than the previous two years’ totals combined. That is due to having an event which riders respect, support from motorcycle marshals, caterers, Trycycling mechanical help and the generosity of Huddersfield Rugby Club for the HQ venue.”
Riders were given personalised event numbers, an information pack containing route details and all contact numbers for the day, together with info on the ride supporters and beneficiaries when they signed on the day, all in a reusable plastic bag useful for other rides and events. GPS data had been offered to the riders who preregistered for the event.
The riders had the rare pleasure of a mass start for the event, as Bolt had secured a road closure for the initial section to allow riders to get away swiftly. Once on the road the terrain soon strung the field and riders found their own natural pace.
Probably the hardest climb came early with the climb from Meltham to Wessenden Head after only four miles, Bolt said: “Holme Moss is an iconic climb but this event shows why people like Brian who have grown up riding around here were able to enjoy success in cycling. If you can ride here you can ride anywhere!”
Brian Robinson chats to British Cycling’s Peter King
Brian Robinson himself was present throughout the day, at the start greeting people and manning an information stand for the Dave Rayner Fund, of which he is President (seen above talking to Peter King of British Cycling). Robinson officially started the event before turning up at the first feeder station to help refuel riders and then back to base to welcome all riders back to Huddersfield.
The riders were asked to compete feedback forms when they were presented with their ride completion certificate and the majority rated the ride as being excellent for facilities, route direction and feed stations.
It is hoped that the event will become an annual fixture on the last Sunday in April, and that the route and HQ can be retained. Riders should be ready though, as it is expected that the field may well be capped at 500 next year as being a manageable field for the road closure and for safety on the roads.
The beneficiaries from this year’s event will be the Dave Rayner Fund, Jane Tomlinson Charity, CTC’s Cyclists Defence Fund and the national Association for Bikers with Disability.