The Eddie Soens Memorial Cycle Race is no more as the event had become “no longer economically viable” according to race organisers.
In recent years the race had been operated without sponsorship, instead using legacy funds and entry fees to stage the event. However, in a statement organisers have blamed an escalation of costs as well as a reduced field size imposed by British Cycling for their decision to discontinue the race.
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The race 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 will now be the last ever winner, having 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.
Merseyside Cycling Development Group (MCDG) said: “We would like to thank everyone who has supported the race throughout the years.”
In other news concerning the domestic scene, British Cycling recently announced a new women’s classification for 2020 to try and give racers a consistent picture of events on the calendar.
The national governing body sought the views of hundreds of female riders to improve the structure of domestic racing in the wake of a surge in participation.
The changes will come into effect for the 2020 road season and will involve the introduction of the same categorisation used in men’s racing.
British Cycling have been contacted for comment.