On 19 August 2017 the heart of Bristol City Centre was transformed for the eagerly anticipated annual Bristol Grand Prix – the day that gets the city cycling!
In 2017 more people than ever became part of the Bristol Grand Prix family enjoying the friendly atmosphere, the on-course rivalries, the riding, racing and sunshine. The winding figure-of-eight course was open to all to start the day, followed by a packed programme of racing from youth and veteran races to the elite level Grand Prix.
We are indebted to all our partners, sponsors and volunteers, who share our vision and enable us to bring people together to celebrate cycling and a healthy lifestyle.
Love Your Bike
Arrived @bristolgp and @BCWcharity stand on College Green Bristol. Excited on a lovely sunny day to spread the cycling and health message pic.twitter.com/2xPLthIIXu
— Mark Coleman (@lapcoleadmark) August 19, 2017
The Love Your Bike lap was ridden for local charity, Bowel Cancer West (BCW). A host of keen Bristol and West Country riders lined up to take the start and celebrate the opening of the Bristol GP.
At the last minute, before the ride was waved off by Ed Sinclair of BCW, two cycling police officers joined the ride. Amidst a chorus of speed limit jokes the riders got under way, enjoying the freedom of the closed roads of their home city.
From toddlers on balance bikes to a few sneaky racers warming up the course was alive with excitement and action. The sun came out to start the day and the friendly, bike loving atmosphere was the best start that the day could have hoped for!
The field for the Masters race was the usual mix of the hopeful and the experienced.
Setting off at a charge the field included newly crowned National Masters Circuit Race Champion, Martin Smith of Dream Cycling, local ex pro Ben Luckwell of Ride 24/7, Paul Jones of Army Cycling Race Team and Andrew Edwards of Bristol Road Club.
The action was fast paced from the gun and the race stayed together for a short time at the start.
A group of seven made the break from the chasing pack and started to pull away. The pressure on the front broke this into a lead group of four with the chasers 30 seconds back.
Andrew Edwards (Bristol Road Club) saved his effort for the critical moment, diving through the last couple of corners to make a gap which he kept in a frantic sprint for the line.
First blood of the day went to the locals and the top finishers were:
- Andy Edwards (Bristol Road Club)
- Martin Smith (Dream Cycling)
- Ben Luckwell (Ride 24/7)
A mixed field of girls and boys at U14 and U16 level was always going to fragment the race.
Race craft and experience were critical in the selection for the race, with a group going well clear of the field and working well together. The mix of the group ensured that it was every rider for themselves with no team loyalties and the race concluded with a fierce sprint.
Youth A Boys
- Samuel Beckett (Cardiff Jif)
- Jack Rootkin-Gray (Solihull CC)
- Sam Smith (Cheltenham & County CC)
Youth A Girls
- Daisy Davies (Gillingham and District Wheelers)
- Jessica Morrish (North Devon Wheelers – South Fork)
- Isabella Ashford (Mid Devon CC)
Youth B Boys
- Nathaniel Brookes (Gillingham and District Wheelers)
- James Ashcroft (Palmer Park Velo RT)
- Frederick Newman (Preston Park Youth CC)
Youth B Girls
- Grace Lister (Wolverhampton Wheelers)
- Kinga Ingram (Halesowen A & CC)
- Hannah Rainger (North Devon Wheelers – South Fork)
Men 4th Category
A strong turnout by Bristol South CC had many riders betting on a closed out race, in the style of Pedal Heaven in the Elite race in 2016.
The race failed to follow the plan. James Cuff (Das Rad Klub) took it to the rest of the field from the gun, showing his strength and handling skills to force open a gap by the end of lap one.
The shocked field took time to get a concerted chase together, with the belief that no one would survive the entire race out on their own.
I have my outfit ready for mascot duties at #bristolgrandprix @bristolgp #bristolgp #britishcycling #drkracing #dasradklub pic.twitter.com/cgLGLSNGuL
— Horace Bear (@Alresford_Bear) July 19, 2017
The DRK man stretched his lead and the chasing pack slimmed down and then broke to pieces. The lead extended further and then started to gradually fall. Jack Mundinano and Joe Twelvetrees managed to pull back the flying leader, but failed to drop him, despite his early enthusiasm.
There was a feeling that this was how the race would pan out, with James Cuff being dropped off in the sprint by his breakaway companions, as the chase group failed to close the gap.
The sprint proved otherwise with James perfectly timing his sprint to take the win, and his Category 3 promotion, in style for Das Rad Klub, followed home by Jack Mundinano and Joe Twelvetrees.
- James Cuff (DRK Racing)
- Jack Mundinano (Cheltenham and County CC)
- Joe Twelvetrees (The Cycle Room)
Women 4th Category
The field was not large, but contained some high quality riders, including Clair Wadden (Bristol Road Club).
The strong early pace was set by Rebekah Nash (University of Bristol) who stretched the field, pulling clear with a very strong ride.
And what an amazing advocate for women’s sport #Bristol’s own Rebecca Nash wins # natracare @bristolgp women’s cycle race pic.twitter.com/AjpC8e4VGI
— Susie Hewson (@susie_hewson) August 19, 2017
With the pace proving too hot for everyone else Rebekah set a high tempo and rode away solo. The chasing pack took some time to organise themselves and a sporadic chase only allowed Rebekah to stretch her lead.
The crowd got behind the huge effort of the leader and the chasing group never managed to reel her in. The group finally split on the last couple of laps as riders went away to chase the remaining podium places.
- Rebekah Nash (University of Bristol)
- Helena Coker (Cowley Road Condors)
- Ines Barroca Rahtz (Glasgow University Cycling Club)
Men 3rd Category
There goes the Cat 3’s @bristolgp pic.twitter.com/1mu1ZLkQ0h
— Mike’s Bikes (@MikesBikesPHead) August 19, 2017
The competitive and largely local field had the feeling of a regional showdown, with strong teams from Bristol South CC and Salt and Sham CC, as well as a couple of riders from as far afield as Ely.
The early pace was frantic and the bunch was lined out from lap one, with riders working to ensure their placing in the early laps. The tight course and some bold handling skills caused the field to split, which was no surprise.
A lead group of 10 or more riders formed and worked together to pull the race apart in their favour.
As the race developed a final selection was made with 3 riders making the running and fighting out the final sprint with a chase group not far behind. Sam Holder took a second podium of the day for DRK, but was just beaten to the line by Beau Smith, both sprinting away from Brian Glynn.
- Beau Smith (Racepace)
- Samuel Holder (DRK Racing)
- Brian Glynn (University of Bath Cycle Club)
Natracare Womens Bristol GP
A collection of my photos from yesterdays @bristolgp -> https://t.co/0kF25Gg0Gh
— Joe Landers (@J_landers) August 20, 2017
Bristol GP regular Pfeiffer Georgi (Liv Cycling Club – Epic Coaching) was the clear race favourite, with a string of impressive results throughout the season, but the field was stacked with talent, including Megan Dickerson (DRK Racing) and Nicki Carr (VC Equipe – Flix).
True to form Pfeiffer showed her strength early on gapping the field with Jennifer Holden (Fusion RT Fierlan). The chase group worked hard together, showing their experience and never letting the gap grow too large.
Continual pressure on the front left Pfeiffer on her own as Jennifer Holden’s effort was unsustainable and she dropped back the large chasing group, which included Megan Dickerson, Jess Morrish (North Devon Wheelers) and Joss Winter (Athletique CC).
Managed 4th at Bristol GP on Saturday … such a fun day and great to stay and watch the other races. Plus it was sunny ☀️👌🏻 #BristolGP pic.twitter.com/J8HPM2fAsa
— Lucy Driver (@toosie84) August 22, 2017
The win was never under threat for Pfeiffer George, but Jennifer Holden and Megan Dickerson were key in splitting the chase and came in to take the remaining podium spots.
- Pfeiffer Georgi (Liv Cycling Club – Epic Coaching)
- Jennifer Holden (Fusion RT Fierlan)
- Megan Dickerson (DRK Racing)
Prologue Works Sponsor Relay
Phil & Rich who work from @PrologueWorks were part of the awesome cycling team racing @bristolgp last w/e#3cheers! pic.twitter.com/zSfCqcFwcx
— ride (@PrologueWorks) August 23, 2017
The much anticipated sponsor relay race pitted experienced teams from Atkins, Faithful & Gould, two teams from Rolls Royce and Avon and Somerset Police against newcomers from Prologue Works, Bowel Cancer West (BCW) and Mikes Bikes/Le Sportif Allstars.
Teams were ready with team members gathered at the pit entrance as couriers for the hand over timing bands and tension was high.
The early laps saw the Police and Rolls Royce 1 battle for the lead, adopting similar strategies, with Prologue Works, BCW and Mikes Bikes trailing.
As the race settled down and some creative walking strategies were seen in the pit lane places started to change. Atkins proved their tactical worth with and innovative band handover technique, while Mikes Bikes started to make progress through the field and Rolls Royce 1 took the lead.
Team Atkins + F&G who finished a creditable 4th at the Bristol Grand Prix. Proud to support such a great event! #bristolgp #bristolgrandprix pic.twitter.com/To5sGF5JvZ
— Simon Mead #FBPE (@SpeedySim) August 19, 2017
The final rider proved to be the ace card for Mikes Bikes who saved the best for last and rode down Rolls Royce 1 in the final laps.
With some beginners’ good fortune Mikes Bikes took the win ahead of a more experienced podium of Rolls Royce 1 and Avon and Somerset Police.
To finish the race Vedran Kosric, of race sponsor Prologue Works, presented the charity team from Bowel Cancer West with a huge cheque for £3,000 towards their project target of £10,000 to improve early diagnosis amongst young people.
- Mikes Bikes/Le Sportif Allstars
- Rolls Royce 1
- Avon and Somerset Police
- Atkins/Faithful & Gould
- Rolls Royce 2
- Prologue Works
- Team BCW Racing
And it’s a win for the Mike’s Bikes All Stars! #bristolgp #relayteam #lesportif @bristolgp pic.twitter.com/Wz1WJMg3mx
— Mike’s Bikes (@MikesBikesPHead) August 19, 2017
Bristol Mens GP
@bristolgp Thanks from all the riders and staff of @VCEquipe for a brilliantly organised day of racing. All looked very smoothly done!
— VC Equipe (@VCEquipe) August 20, 2017
Mounting tension on the start line was fuelled by the presence of 2016 victor, Rory Townsend, supported by his Bike Channel Canyon team. Morvelo Basso, Team Backstedt Hotchillee, Team Wiggins, Kibosh, Raleigh GAC and VC Equipe Flix amongst others made up a stellar field with one goal in mind, to take the win and take down Bike Channel Canyon. In the mix were local heroes, Rob Borek (DRK Racing), Glyn Griffiths (73 Degrees) and Shaun Cook (Bristol RC), feeling the pressure of a strong field. Harry Locke (Loughborough Students) was last to the line after a nervous build up that saw him changing wheels at the last moment.
The start was, as expected, spectacularly fast and the reception from the crowd matched the excitement on the track.
Men’s #BristolGP , just one Rider @Rory_Townsend1 , just Pure Class , everybody else playing for 2nd Place pic.twitter.com/Bjg32RBIrC
— SeanPW (@Sundayracing67) August 19, 2017
Battling for positioning and some early brave cornering saw a pile up in the early stages of the race, splitting the field, which would never regroup. Bike Channel Canyon were conspicuous victims and a number of riders were caught behind the melee.
Rory Townsend, however, was up front and in no mood for waiting. A strong attack in the early laps saw him pull clear of the field, never to be seen again.
While the leader made his imperious progress around the course to the appreciation of the crowd, a blue chip chase group formed behind, with Isaac Mundy (PMR@Toachim House) chasing solo between the two.
Isaac Mundy made good progress and looked as though he may rejoin the leader, but the chasing group were determined and pulled him back.
Rory was regularly lapping in the 1 minute 48 second bracket for the 1.3km circuit, over 10 seconds faster than any race had previously managed.
Back in the chase pack a degree of cohesion was undermined by strong efforts from Tristan Robbins (Raleigh GAC), Etienne Georgi (Team Wiggins) and a determined and aggressive Neil Phillips (Kibosh). This was not what was required to narrow the lead, but made for spectacular high speed racing and daring cornering.
@Rory_Townsend1 @BIKEChnlCanyon takes a dominant victory in the #BristolGP @BCCFans pic.twitter.com/tCKK2mRaOQ
— Paul Stedman (@p_stedman) August 19, 2017
Whilst the top step of the podium was assured the sprint for the remaining place was every bit as frantic as the crowd had hoped for and the racing exceeded expectations. Fred Scheske (Exeter Uni) and Joshua Price (Team Backstedt/Hot Chillee) closed out the podium, with Tristan Robbins, Etienne Georgi, Alec Briggs (The 5th Floor Cycle Club), Daniel Coombe (Team Backstedt/Hot Chillee, Neil Phillips, Ben Marks (Morvelo Basso RT) and Lee Frost (VC Equipe – Flix) finishing within 1 second and making up the top ten.
- Rory Townsedn (Bike Channel Canyon)
- Fred Scheske (Exeter Uni)
- Joshua Price (Team Backstedt/Hot Chillee)
Our @BristolGP 2017 gallery is now up on the site #bristolgrandprix #bristolgphttps://t.co/VoVuaV8vci pic.twitter.com/BmglIpu6Yi
— Headset Press (@headsetpress) August 22, 2017
The Bristol Grand Prix 2017 was a key part of the European City of Sport programme in partnership with Bristol City Council and British Cycling.
We are proud to say that the Bristol Grand Prix charity, Bowel Cancer West, achieved well over 50% of their summer target of £10,000 at the race. Prologue Works, sponsors of the Sponsor Team Relay Race were especially generous with a £3,000 donation.
The race is made possible by all our sponsors, many of whom take part in the day’s racing, both in the sponsor relay as well as other races. We would like to say thank you to them all for making the day and for enabling the sporting and cultural life of our city.
The Bristol Grand Prix is established as a firm favourite with racers, with strong fields in all the races. Highlights from the day included the Youth race, which was hotly contested as we have come to expect, and the Masters event had a strong showing of local heroes.
The best pictures from the Bristol Grand Prix 2017 #BristolGP @bristolgp - spot anyone you know? https://t.co/cxsQKbjmED
— Bristol Post (@BristolPost) August 20, 2017
As local heroes go, they don’t come much bigger than James Cuff, who took the 4th Category Men’s Race by storm, winning and moving up a category for next season.
Pfeiffer Georgi, a Bristol GP regular, showed her class once again, going on to finish 7th in the Junior Women’s World Championships a month later.
The men’s race was a tour de force by Rory Townsend of Bike Channel Canyon, and we were honoured to welcome a stellar field, including riders from Morvelo Basso, Team Wiggins and VC Equipe Flix.
Once again the dedicated support and hard work of all our volunteers on the day, over 100 of them, was instrumental in making the day a huge success. Without volunteers the race couldn’t happen, and we owe them all a huge thank you.
2017 was the biggest year yet for the Bristol Grand Prix. In 2018 we want to include even more of the city in the race and to encourage more people to become involved in the city’s vibrant cycling community. Join us for the ride!