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Light showers failed to dampen the atmosphere as Lichfield city centre became a race track for a day.
The Lichfield City Centre Races featured cycling and running races for a range of age groups and abilities and saw competitors from as far away as Jersey competing.
In the 20 minute under 8s event, local riders emerged victorious with a win for Connor Smith for the boys and Erin Staite in the girls for Lichfield City Cycling Club. Both of the riders also claimed the title of regional champion in the process.
The under 10s also raced for 20 minutes, with Ava Oxley from Wakefield Tri Club winning the girls’ race, with Lorna Sharples taking second spot. As Ava lives outside of the West Midlands, the regional champion title was awarded to Lorna from the Halesowen club.
In the boys’ race, Lichfield riders dominated and took the first three positions. Lewis Askey was crowned regional champion with Will Staite and Daniel Barnes taking second and third.
The next race of the day was an entry level race for over 16s – a race for those new to the sport of cycle racing. The Lichfield club has experienced a growth in membership and eight members had entered this event. This domination in numbers was perhaps giving an indication of the top three positions as Alex Large won the event, followed by Scott Barnes and Adrian Hatton.
Each race allows a maximum of 40 riders to take place and in the Under 12s event there were 30 riders on the start line. Lasting 25 minutes and featuring 15 laps of the 1k circuit, local expectations were high ahead of the race and fans were not disappointed as Harry Yates from Lichfield took the win and the regional title for the boys. In the girls’ event Georgia Hilleard from Wolverhampton Wheelers took the win and title followed in second place by Amy Selibas of Lichfield.
In the women’s only event there were 15 entrants, an excellent turnout for this increasingly popular aspect of the sport. The leaders of the race completed an impressive 30 laps of the circuit in the 50 minute event. Jessie Walker from RST Racing team Trigon took the win ahead of Martine Verweij of Team Jewson and Lichfield’s Alison Holmes.
A break from the cycling over lunchtime provided the opportunity for runners to take to the traffic free roads of the city centre.
Entrants from children to adults lined up on the start line and were required to run one, two or three laps. Elliot Waters won the one lap race in four minutes five seconds, ahead of Connor Smith and Ben Askey. In the two lap race, Ben’s brother Lewis took the win in 8mins 33 seconds. In the three lap adult race it was a head to head battle of the sexes. Sarah Cox with a last minute lunge for the line took the win ahead of Matt Williams.
The cycle racing resumed with the 35 minute under 14s race. The 23 entrants completed 23 laps of the circuit. Joey Walker from RST Racing Team Trigon took first place ahead of Oliver Lowthorpe from Jersey. Third place Joshua Waters of Plan B racing however was the rider able to claim the regional champion jersey.
Meanwhile, in the girls race Lucy Shaw from Solihull CC took the win and regional title ahead of Paige Millward from Lyme RC and Sophie Capewell of Lichfield City CC.
The Category 3 and 4 race was aimed at the club riders and featured racers from all over the country. The 28-lap event was won by Yoxall’s Alex Welburn ahead of Ben Eedy of Team Empella and Phil Wilkins of Team Jewson.
The final youth race of the day was for the under 16s and there were a number of riders capable of taking the title of race winner and regional champion. Twenty-seven racers took to the start line for the 40 minute, 26 lap race. The race soon started to split the field with a group of eight moving clear, including local favourite Jacob Kelly.
As the last lap started Kelly was sitting comfortably in third spot ready to make his move when he was brought down in a crash on the last lap scuppering his chances and the local expectations.
Adam Lewis from Wolverhampton eventually took the win and title ahead of Joe Evans fro Velocity and Danny Fox from Solihull CC.
In the girls’ race Annasley Park from Climb on Bikes rode strongly to take the win and regional title ahead of Paige Coope for Sherwood Pines and Charlotte Turner from Jersey.
The final race of the day was a National B race for the top level cyclists. With more than 20 riders taking part in this event, it also proved to be a crowd pleaser.
The hour-long race was fast-paced and the top seven riders broke clear and lapped the rest of the field.
On the last lap it turned out to be a win for Mike Smith followed by Ian Knight to take the top two slots for Team Corley Cycles. Will Penn took third.
Click to see more pictures from the event.
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