The traditional season opener for British road racing, the Perf’s Pedal Race on February 14, will be held on a closed circuit for the first time in its 45-year history due to potholes.
The longstanding event has fallen victim to poor road conditions following the recent freeze and will now be held at Thruxton Motor Circuit in Andover.
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Organiser Mick Waites of VC St Raphael says: “Due to appalling road conditions on the Portsdown circuit and two other possible courses that have been looked at (massive potholes and generally poor surfaces following the snow, with no sign of a quick repair) the race will be moved to the Thruxton Motor Circuit.
“Apologies about this late change and after promoting this event for 45 years on the road it is not something I wanted to do, however, for the safety of riders it is a decision I have had to take.”
Flooding in 2003 forced the cancellation of the event, while 1989 saw the police calling a halt to racing for repeated crossing of the white line by the bunch. But deteriorating road surfaces following
freezing conditions affecting the whole country in December and January add a new threat to racing on the open road.
Previous winners of Perf’s include new Trek-Livestrong recruit Alex Dowsett, Chris Newton and, back in 1979, an 18 year old Sean Yates. Sport Beans-Wilier’s Will Bjergfelt won the 2009 edition with a fine solo break.
The race will now cover 20 laps of the Hampshire circuit, giving a distance of 48 miles, starting at 12 noon. On the plus side, entries are being held open until February 10 due to the increased field limit, and a supporting event for 4th category riders has now been added, starting at 10.30am. Entry for this Regional C+ race is on the line only.
Perf’s 2007, won by Alex Dowsett