A test for the best: Taking on the roads of the Archer Grand Prix

In the latest in our series looking back at the roads of classic races, Simon Warren explores the Chiltern roads of the Archer Grand Prix

(Daniel Gould)

The list of past winners of the Archer Grand Prix reads like a who’s who of British domestic racing over the second half of the 20th century into the dawn of the 21st. Hugh Porter, Paul Sherwen, Paul Curran, Chris Walker, Roger Hammond, the list goes on. And then there was Mr Archer Grand Prix Steve Farrell, who between 1987 and 1991 took an unprecedented four wins in this now sadly lost classic British race. Run by north London’s Archer Road Club and orchestrated by the late Stuart Benstead, the race first appeared on the calendar in 1956 and was a mainstay of the domestic scene until its demise in 2007. 

We are here to get a feel for the roads that made the race, to see where the attacks were launched and the hurt dished out over the years. The first editions of the Grand Prix departed the London Borough of Hillingdon and ventured up and down the A40, but even with 1950s levels of traffic this soon became unfeasible, so after a couple of years it relocated to the Chiltern Hills. Utilising the lanes and indeed the main roads between Beaconsfield and Amersham, a 12-mile circuit was plotted in this famously lumpy part of Britain and the race had its home. 

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Simon Warren

Simon has been riding for over 30 years and has a long connection with Cycling Weekly, he was once a designer on the magazine and has been a regular contributor for many years. Arguably, though, he is best known as the author of Cycling Climbs series of books. Staring with 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs in 2010, Simon has set out to chronicle and, of course, ride the toughest cycling climbs across the UK and Europe. Since that first book, he's added 11 more, as well Ride Britain which showcases 40 inspirational road cycling routes. Based in Sheffield, Yorkshire, Simon continues to keep riding his bike uphill and guides rides, hosts events and gives talks on climbing hills on bikes!