On 18 June 2016 the centre of Bristol became a racetrack once again. The fast and furious racing was all part of an incredible day that cemented the Bristol Grand Prix as one of the UK’s most challenging and exciting city-centre races.
When we created the Bristol Grand Prix we had a vision to bring high-quality, competitive racing to one of the UK’s most beautiful and exciting cities. We wanted an event that wasn’t just for professionals but could be enjoyed by everyone, encouraging a lifelong love of cycling. Finally, we wanted to work with partners and sponsors who shared our passion, enthusiasm and vision.
And in 2016, we achieved that — and more.
Love My Bike
Fantastic event today. Love Bristol open laps at 11am was a great idea. Great buzz #BristolGP pic.twitter.com/XwOfZZ0JXq
— Señor (@rubbishtomtom) June 18, 2016
The Love My Bike lap saw almost 100 enthusiastic riders kick off the day for the Bristol Grand Prix. Fancy dress, balance bikes, tourers, commuters, families and even a few racers celebrated the peace and quiet of the closed roads of their home city with half an hour of unimpeded cycling pleasure.
The route offers riders the opportunity to experience the race route and see how the professionals do it. Love My Bike is one of the most popular parts of the Bristol GP, inspiring cyclists of all abilities and all ages.
Here’s the @Mud_Dock car leading out the masters race at the @bristolgp 2016 #BristolGP #racing #bristol #cycling pic.twitter.com/Tg0K4KkISk
— Sean M (@f_stopper) June 19, 2016
Not a race for the shy and retiring, the masters field was battered by ex world track racing champion and local hero Gerry Bowditch of Dream Cycling.
Powering up across the start / finish Gerry forced a gap on the field, driving towards a seemingly inevitable result. The chasers were stronger and he was gradually wound back in. The racing was fast and tactical with field eventually splitting under the pressure at the front.
The masters race making their way along St Georges Road at the 2016 @bristolgp // #roadracing // #racing // #cycling pic.twitter.com/K3nQMj2TQg
— Sean M (@f_stopper) June 20, 2016
Ken showed his professional racing experience, waiting for the critical moment saved everything for the sprint that he eventually launched snatching the win ahead of Lee Davis (Bristol Road Club) and Gerry.
The result showed the strength and depth of the Bristol cycling community and showed that hard, fast and competitive racing is timeless.
Racing in under 16 girls race at @bristolgp @planetxbikes @SSENextGen @TPSGL @dsw_news #ffop pic.twitter.com/qh01dPtYZW
— Lauren Booth (@bikegirllauren) June 18, 2016
The youth race combined the U14 and U16 categories, and the race split along those lines. Much vaunted was Alfie Peters of T1Diabetes, who all race at the highest level despite living with Type 1 diabetics.
Bristol Cycling Development Squad also had a strong showing on their home turf. The strength of the U16 riders is evident in their fastest lap time, only 1 second slower than the Masters at 1.57.
As the race entered its finishing stages the U16’s were catching groups of younger riders, and the sprint for the line was exciting, tactical and frenetic. Joshua Price of Ride 24/7 pipped Alfie Peters (T1 Diabetes) to the line, with Nathan Huynh (Cotswold Veldrijden) rounding out the U16 podium.
George Bazley of Bristol Cycling Development Squad achieved a close fourth. First woman home was Pfeiffer Georgi (Liv Cycling Club - Epic Coaching) with a strong lap time only 4 seconds down on the fastest lap, a rider to watch without doubt.
The determination and positive attitude of all the competitors shows the strength of character of the riders who are the future of cycling. We’re in safe hands.
Men 4th Category
As entries mounted up for the Bristol GP the 3/4 category race was split, offering more racers the chance to test themselves and offering spectators the chance to enjoy even more racing. Competitive cycling is becoming more popular than ever.
The 4th category race was dominated by riders driving off the front of the group showing great power and control in an attempt to break away. The challenging and twisty course made a solo win in such a closely fought category unlikely. Tough for the riders, but great for spectators.
Bristol Road Club were instrumental in the group that edged the race, with the eventual winner Steven Cartmell of the Outdoor Traders Race Team setting the fastest lap time of the day so far, 1.55. Shaun Cook (Bristol Road Club) and Samuel Holder (University of Bristol) completed the podium.
Women 4th Category
The size and quality of the 4th category women’s race made for competitive and exciting racing.
The front of the race splintered under continuous pressure with the field gradually fragmenting behind as a lead group developed. Eventual winner Clare Parking of Elitevelo Kalas Sportswear CRT moved away to solo to victory.
Ellen Nelissen of Bristol Road Club rode to a solid second place with Sarah Hickman of 3C Cyclexperience just behind in 3rd. Local team Radeon-Bike Science RT placed 3 riders in the top ten, including local legend and all rounder Hannah Ricketts.
Men 3rd Category
Absolutely ecstatic to take 5th forcing a break away at the @bristolgp Some serious competition! @ArmySportsLTRY pic.twitter.com/NuHlQ6hx0X
— Michael Bradbury (@Mike_brad6172) June 18, 2016
The 3rd Category race boasted a high quality field, with many racers keen to grab the extra points needed to make the move to the next level. In the end it was close too, the race finishing with the top 9 riders all within 7 seconds of one another.
From the start the pace was high with Das Rad Klub riders instrumental in driving the group. An early incident left some pre race favourites, such as Ed Trotman (Rapha Cycle Club) chasing for the majority of the race. The front group had spotted the gap that had formed and made a chase down unlikely by working well together.
Yesterday was truly epic once again. Big thanks to @bristolgp @lesportifcc for all your hard work! https://t.co/B5TSygm3tc
— Rob Borek (@RobBorek1993) June 19, 2016
As expected this harmony gradually eroded as the race came to the critical stage. Jamie Wilkins of Veloton Team proved to be the boss of the sprint pulling 3 seconds clear by the line. Rob Borek (Das Rad Klub) moved up a step of the podium from last year to a creditable second place, and Stefan Barnett (also Das Rad Klub) made the podium and celebrated with an unscheduled dismount after the line and a bloody visit to the podium.
Women 2/3 Category
Hard racing was always on the cards for the women’s 2nd & 3rd category race, with strong squads including Liv Cycling Club – Epic Coaching, Bikeshed – Bianci and Elitevelo Kalas Sportswear CRT, as well as riders from as far afield as East Grinstead CC.
Thanks to all at @bristolgp for organising such a brilliant race! Lovely to see so many people watching and cheering us on 😀
— Jess Duffy (@lapsandlanes) June 18, 2016
Pfeiffer Georgi (Liv Cycling Club - Epic Coaching), winner of the U16 race, took the race by storm, pulling away from the group for a solo win, although unable to match her fastest or average lap time from the youth race.
The chase group of three fought hard to close the gap, but were left to race for the lower podium steps, Jennifer Powell (Elitevelo Kalas Sportswear CRT) just missed the podium, with Sarah King and Emma Cockcroft (Bikeshed - Biachi) finishing second and third respectively.
An incredible race that shows how competitive women’s cycling has become.
The Sponsor Relay may not be a categorized, but make no mistake this race was fierce.
Returning teams including Sustain, Swagelok, Bond Dickinson and True Start Coffee were all determined to take the victory. They were up against new teams from the University of Bristol sports centre, a crack squad from the Avon and Somerset Police, local collective Equipe des Artistes and Atkins with their impressive Team Sky motif.
The team of 5 had to be mixed, and strategy began long before the race started. Teams have to complete 10 laps of the course, with no rider doing more than three laps, and all riders having to do at least 1 lap.
The @Bond_Dickinson cycling team enjoying a podium celebration in last week’s @bristolgp 2016 pic.twitter.com/5REHWVfUIr
— BondDickinsonCycling (@Legalpedallers) June 25, 2016
Racing quickly became a complex affair as teams started to edge each other out in the early laps, with Sustain making a good showing and Zone Digital embracing the Bristol spirit on more vintage bikes. Bond Dickinson showed the tactical awareness to be expected from high flying lawyers and took the race to True Start Coffee, who had a distinct caffeine advantage.
Avon and Somerset Police demand respect, and were easily spotted in their partly neon kit, as were Equipe des Artistes in their distinctive livery. Swagelok made the early running, with a strategy to finish with a three lap stint from their fastest racer. This strategy was also favoured by other teams, but the field had spread out a lot and bringing the competition back proved to be a big ask.
The ‘no running’ in the pit lane rule was extremely loosely adhered to, with Zone Digital pushing the definition of walking, and the Police proving that speed walking in cycling shoes may not be competitive, but is certainly amusing.
@bristolgp @OneYouPHE @Pukkaherbs @carvalhocustom thank you so much again for an incredible day! Proud to be based in Bristol #TeamTrueStart
— TrueStart Coffee (@TrueStartCoffee) June 20, 2016
Tension mounted as the race entered the final laps, with the University of Bristol pulling into the lead, challenged by Atkins and the Police. Swagelok were still confident of a comeback, but an unassuming but lightening fast ride by University of Bristol saw them take the win, with Avon and Somerset Police a close second, and Atkins closing in and finally making third.
On the podium the University team were unable to contain their happiness at the result and failed to resist the temptation to hose down their competitors with champagne.
Mens Elite 1/2
A strong Pedal Heaven presence showed the standing of the Bristol GP in its second year.
Gotta put it out there. @bristolgp was the best Crit I have ever ridden. ALL aspects of it 10/10. Defo coming back next year for it. 👌🏼💚
— Lloyd Chapman (@Chapperz31) June 18, 2016
Local rider Tristan Robbins of Madison Genesis and Rob Partridge of NFTO, as well as Glyndwr Griffiths of 73 Degrees CC, Stephen Bradbury (Goma Dakwerken vdb Steenhouwerij) and James Phillips (Dream Cycling & last year’s victor) were all instrumental in how the race unfolded. HR Owen Maserati, Cycology Sunwise and Team Tor 200 Kalas Sportswear also sent strong teams ready to contest the showpiece event.
As the crowd noise increased the strength of Pedal Heaven proved pre race nerves right. Rory Townsend pulled away in a solo move only a couple of laps into the race and the chasing field were heavily marked by his team mates.
Great race yesterday @bristolgp good course and great to have a race in my home city
— Tristan Robbins (@tristanbobbins) 19 June 2016
Rob Partridge made a move to close the gap, but the speed at which the race had been taken made it a tough task. Tristan Robbins took his turn at closing the gap, but was also unable to capitalise on his strength.
The bunch stretched out and gradually fragmented into smaller groups, with only 15 riders finishing on the same lap. Strong tactical racing proved Pedal Heaven’s crit racing pedigree. The remainder of the bunch contested second place, with Pedal Heaven taking the top four positions with Rory Townsend winning, Jacob Tipper taking second, Joe Fry third, and Lloyd Chapman fourth. Rob Partridge (NFTO) was the first non Pedal Heaven rider. Jacob Tipper demonstrated the strength of the pro riders with a 1.46 lap.
A fitting end to an incredible day of racing.
The 2016 race was sponsored by the Bristol Public Health team who used the opportunity to promote its One You campaign. One You aims to encourage more people to take regular exercise and make healthy changes to lifestyle. It is the perfect partner for the Bristol GP.
We would like to thank One You and all of our sponsors – many of which took part in the hotly contested Sponsor Relay – for their continued support and belief in the Bristol Grand Prix.
The race goes from strength to strength. We saw record numbers of riders, including those from high-profile national teams like Pedal Heaven enter this year. We saw an incredibly tense Masters Race and watched the future of cycling take shape as the youngsters took to the streets. As expected, the male and female races were tough and tense as they battled for valuable points and precious prizes.
The 2016 Bristol Grand Prix was a huge success made possible by the work of almost a hundred volunteers from across the city who took the time out of their lives to dedicate to racing. We would like to thank them all too. Without them the race just wouldn’t happen.
As we close one chapter, another opens and we begin to plan for the 2017 Bristol Grand Prix. Our aims for the next year are to build upon our successes and produce a race that we and the city can be proud of.
We hope you’ll continue with us for that journey.