Legendary British road race axed in another blow to domestic racing

Hampshire’s Perfs Pedal race will not continue into 2024 domestic road season

Jack Rootkin-Gray, the winner of the 2023 Perfs Pedal race, leading at the Lancaster GP
Jack Rootkin-Gray, the winner of the 2023 Perfs Pedal race, leading at the Lancaster GP
(Image credit: Olly Hassell/SWpix.com)

The British domestic road calendar will be one more race short in 2024 after the organiser of Perfs Pedal road race announced that it would not continue into next season.

First held in 1964, Perfs Pedal became an institution and eventually took place as the unofficial curtain raiser to the men’s domestic season.

Former winners include British racing legend Sean Yates; Alex Dowsett, who went on to win in the WorldTour; Chris Newton, now a coach at British Cycling; and Tim Harris, now sports director at EF Education-Tibco-SVB.

The loss of the race comes as a further blow to the ailing UK domestic racing scene.

Last December, it was announced that the men’s and women’s National Road Series was set to shrink in 2023. As a result, last season saw the men’s schedule go down to just four races, which included the Beaumont Trophy as well as the Lincoln, Rydedale and Lancaster Grand Prix events.

The three-day Manx International stage race and Stockton Grand Prix were also not held this year. 

The women’s calendar was similarly affected and lost the same two races meaning that the series shrunk from seven to five events.

In an effort to combat the shrinking scene, British Cycling recently announced that it had appointed a new road racing task force in a bid to rejuvenate road racing in the UK.

In a statement to Velo UK, 77-year-old Perfs Pedal organiser Mick Waite said the process of putting on the race had become increasingly difficult.

"After nearly 60 years of organising the Perfs Pedal Race, I have taken the difficult decision to stop running this event,” said Waite. “Suffice to say that organising a National B Road Race has become more complex over the recent years."

"I have only been able to keep Perfs going with the help of my family, friends and many volunteers. I have great memories from this event over the years and I am pleased we have managed to keep it running for so long."

Posting on the race's X account Waite added: "It's been a great run and there are far too many to thank who have assisted over the decades.

Cycling Weekly approached Waite for further details but he was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.

Jack Rootkin-Gray (Saint Piran) won the 58th and final edition of the Hampshire based National B road race. Saint Piran completed a clean sweep of the podium in February with Harry Birchill and Zeb Kyffin taking second and third respectively.

Rootkin-Gray told Cycling Weekly that he was saddened to learn that the race would no longer take place.

“It’s a real shame to lose this race,” Rootkin-Gray said. “It was one that every domestic rider wanted to have a go at winning with a great course I always wished we did more laps of.

“We have great memories of winning it last season which kickstarted a great year for our team.”

Rootkin-Gray’s success last season led to the recent announcement that he would join EF Education-EasyPost and make his WorldTour debut next year.

Former British professional, 2015 Perfs Pedal winner and Le Col founder Yanto Barker told Cycling Weekly that the race was always eagerly anticipated amongst domestic pros throughout the off season and the winter.

“It's always been kind of seen as like the first proper hit out of the year,” he said.

“When you kind of slog your way through the depths of the darkest winter, you just can't wait to compare yourself to someone, because when you're going out on your own and doing your own intervals you don’t have any kind of comparison or any kind of measure of if you are doing any good or whatever.

"So it was always nice to get to that race and open the taps a little bit and hopefully get a good result."

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