Eddie Soens back on after being saved at the eleventh hour by new organiser

The season opener has been saved thanks to a new organiser and sponsor

A new organiser and sponsor has stepped in to save the Eddie Soens Memorial Cycle Race after it was announced last week the event was to close due to a lack of funds.

The British Cycling website lists Brian Rigby as the new event organiser, with the race set to go ahead as planned on Saturday March 7 and the entry date closing on Sunday February 23.

The entry fee will remain £25 in advance, which is available to purchase through the British Cycling website.

After hearing the news that the race had been saved, former organiser Carl Lawrenson, who has run the event for nearly two decades, said: “Perhaps even I underestimated the amount of feeling that attaches to this event. I think there are certain events, and I didn’t necessarily think the Soens ranked among them, that are bedrock events and if there is a threat of them not happening people say can I do anything to help.”

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The Soens was created in 1962 by the Kirby Cycling Club, operating as the season opener for the Merseyside cycling scene. The event was held at the Aintree Motor Racing Circuit just outside Liverpool and attracted riders from across Britain.

Bruce O’Prey was the the first winner in 1962 while 2019’s victor Matt Bottrill lapped the entire field during his impressive solo win 21 years after his first victory at the race in 1998.

Steve Cummings was the first junior to win the following year in 1999, while British Olympic champion Ed Clancy has won three times, in 2009, 2013 and 2017.

The race has been held every year since 1962 with only once cancellation in 2006 due to snow.