The winner for the last 11 years, Michael Hutchinson (In Gear-Quickvit) will be aiming to make it a round dozen National 50 titles when he tackles the 2011 race in Hampshire on Sunday.
The Championship – spread over two days with the women racing on Saturday at noon and the first of the men off at 8am on Sunday morning – uses the H50/8 course near Bentley, and has attracted most of the fast men who are looking for a podium spot – or even a faster time than Hutch.
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The defending champion is off at 10.30am, but ahead of him on the road will be Rudy Project Series leader Matt Bottrill (I Ride RT), Team Pedal Revolution.co.uk’s in-form Nik Bowdler, and a host of other class riders.
Similar to Hutch, Julia Shaw (Drag2Zero.com will be aiming to make it six consecutive titles when she rides the women’s event on Saturday. Hoping to challenge her are 59 other riders, including Jessica Wilson-Young (Edinburgh RC) and Michelle Parsons (Team Echelon).
Several riders are warming up for the 50-mile title race by covering the same distance the previous day – including Drag2Zero.com rider Stuart Dodd. He is the second fastest man on paper in the joint Bristol South CC/Corinium CC event at Ashton Keynes in Wiltshire, where other fast men include Royal Navy/Royal Marines’ Sean Childs and David Kiddell (Cavalier CC).
Among the top events on Saturday looks set to be the Yorkshire Road Club 25 at Topcliffe, North Yorkshire, where in-form Ferryhill Wheelers rider Keith Murray will be aiming for victory.
He clocked 19-06 in the City Road Club midweek 10 this week, just two seconds behind winner Stuart Dodd (Drag2Zero.com) on the superfast V718 course in East Yorkshire. Other top names riding the YRC event include Nigel Haigh (Planet X) and Alistair Wareham (Team Swift).
Over in Cheshire, the J2/9 has attracted several top names for the Janus Road Club 25 on Saturday.
Top seed at Goostrey is South Pennine RC’s Charles Taylor, while also looking for a podium finish will be Alf Hilton (Congleton CC) and David Crawley (Fibrax-Wrexham RC).
And for those preferring an even shorter distances, there are some good fields for 10-mile events on Saturday.
Brothers Luke and Ross Clarke (both Team Milton Keynes) ride the Century RC event near Great Amwell in Hertfordshire and Saturday evening, while also aiming for glory there are Tejvan Pettinger (Sri Chinmoy CT) and Murat Ozdenya (East Seventeen).
This weekend’s top events
Saturday, June 18
National 50-Mile Championships – Bentley, Hampshire (course H50/8), 12noon, women.
Bristol South CC/Corinium CC 50 – Ashton Keynes, Wiltshire (course U46/50a), 5pm.
Melton Olympic 25 – Long Bennington, Leicestershire (course A25/22), 5pm.
Yorkshire Road Club 25 – Topcliffe, North Yorkshire (course V236/1), 2pm.
Janus RC 25 – Goostrey, Cheshire (course J2/9), 2pm.
Century RC 10 – Great Amwell, Hertfordshire (course F20/10), 6.45pm.
Mid-Shropshire RC 10 – Shawbury, Shropshire (course D10/23r), 3pm.
Sunday, June 19
National 50-Mile Championships – Bentley, Hampshire (course H50/8), 8am, men.
Southern Counties CU 50 – Broadbridge Heath, West Sussex (course G50/53), 6am.
Kent Valley RC 25 – Levens, Cumbria (course L2524), 7am.