DOWNING READY AHEAD OF HILLINGDON GP

Reigning national circuit race champion, Dean Downing, will head to Hillingdon this Sunday, for the first round of the Elite Circuit Race Series.

?I?ve just had a week?s rest,? said Downing. ?It was my first rest for a while as I was really tired after the Lincoln Grand Prix.

?I?m feeling a bit fresher now but I needed a rest after doing eight weeks of solid training. I?ve really put pressure on myself to get back into form.

?I?m coming back into shape quickly and I?ll be doing all of the criteriums this year. I?ll be focusing on June and July, there are a lot of races up for grabs and I?ve got to hit it hard.?

Downing enjoyed an impressive 2008 season and is already looking forward to some strong results this season, including the national championships.

As for Hillingdon, ?it?s a big strong field. Hillingdon is a strange circuit, it’s flowing and fast. It depends on the weather, if it turns and gets windy anything can happen. We’ll see how it pans out on the day, though”.

As the reigning national circuit race champion, Downing is targeting the criteriums this years but also aims to do well in the Premier Calendar events.

?The Premier Calendar events are spread out quite well so I?m aiming to go well in them as well,? said Downing.

Full 2009 circuit race preview>>>


UNLICENSED KILLER ESCAPES PRISON

CTC has condemned a judge?s decision to reduce the sentence handed down to a driver because the cyclist he killed wasn?t wearing a helmet.

Denis Moore, 50, collided with cyclist James Jorgensen, 55, last September on a roundabout in Seaham, County Durham. Jorgensen died eight days later of severe head injuries. Although the court was told that Moore was only driving at around 20mph, Moore?s solicitor acknowledged that his client had suffered a ?momentary lapse of concentration?.

At Durham Crown Court last Friday, Judge Richard Lowden gave Moore a 24-week suspended prison sentence. He said the fact that Jorgensen had not been wearing a helmet was a ?mitigating factor? and Moore?s sentence would be reduced accordingly.

The judge reached this decision without hearing any evidence about the effectiveness of helmets, or whether a helmet would have made any difference to Jorgensen?s injuries.

?My first thoughts are for Mr Jorgensen?s family. I cannot imagine how they must be feeling,? said CTC?s Campaigns & Policy Manager, Roger Geffen said.

?If bereavement wasn?t enough, they now have a judge effectively saying Jorgensen himself was partly to blame for his own death, simply because he wasn?t wearing a helmet.

“There are still serious doubts about the effectiveness of cycle helmets, particularly in preventing serious or fatal injuries, and there is no law requiring cyclists to wear them. This sentence is an extraordinary example of a judge blaming the victim for his own death?.

The decision comes just over 100 days after a civil law case where High Court Judge Griffith Williams gave his opinion that in principle, cyclists without helmets could face reduced damages if it were shown that a helmet would have prevented or reduced their injuries.

In the case he was considering, however, he concluded that a helmet would not have prevented the serious injuries suffered by a cyclist in a collision with a motorcyclist.

The Government is currently reassessing the evidence on cycle helmets as part of a wider study on cyclists? safety, in a tacit acknowledgement that the evidence about their effectiveness is still far from clear. The interim findings of the helmet part of the study are expected next month, with a final report due out by the end of the year.


NATION-WIDE QUEST FOR ROLLAPALUZA ROYALTY

After kick-starting the roller-racing resurgence in recent years, Rollapaluza has launched a nation-wide quest to find Britain?s ?King of Spin? and ?Queen of Cadence?.

The series will comprise of stand-alone regional events, each one identical to the Rollapaluza nights.

These regional events will also act as qualifiers for a ?Grand Finale? in London, with huge crowds and great prizes promised.

The regions will be:

Scotland

Wales

North and Midlands

South West

London and East

South

There will also be a national youth competition, with the younger competitors taking part in the afternoon, before the evening event commences.

After refurbishing four vintage rigs Rollapaluza now manufacture its own Roller race rigs all of which are produced to be identical. This means that for possibly the first time ever roller-racers can be assured that they are competing on a nation-wide level playing field and as Rollapaluza are now opening up international franchises with these same rigs there is even potential for future world-wide challenges.

There will also be a special prize to the rider who sets the fastest time of the series and a bonus if that time is a new record. The current 500m record is held by Matt Crampton at a staggering 17.9 seconds.

Craig McClean, the erstwhile holder of Crampton?s record, will be in Edinburgh on Monday for a photo shoot with several rugby stars but will also attempt to take back the record of the fastest man on rollers.

See www.rollapaluza.com/nationals for more.


CRITERIUM EVENTS FOR DUMFRIES AND GALLOWAY

Criterium action returns to Scotland to Dumfries and Galloway on the weekend of May 23-24 for this year?s ScottishPower Renewables Criterium Series, which boasts an impressive £2,000 overall prize fund.

The Castle Douglas events on Saturday, May 23, feature racing for all categories with the afternoon’s highlight being the two Elite races, which will feature the best riders from Scotland and the north of England battling it out.

Racing moves to Dumfries on Sunday for a programme of town centre criteriums.

The series also features events in Aberdeen (June 4) and Hawick (August 16), Bellahouston (August 22) and Marymass in Irvine (August 23).

For entry details of the opening races, go to www.scottishcycling.org.uk.

RELATED LINKS

Wednesday?s British news round-up

Monday?s British news round-up