Barbara remembered at Horwich Festival of Racing

26 Mar 2019 01:47
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PLANS are well underway for the 2019 Horwich Festival of Racing and a full programme of events is now available to view on the festival website with many of the entry forms and online entry links now available.

It will be a bitter-sweet time for the members of the organising group as the long-time President of the festival Mrs Barbara Ronson died towards the end of last year.

Mrs Ronson was the instigator of the festival in its current format when, as Commonwealth Games fever gripped the North West in 2002, she asked Neil Brown, then Secretary of the Horwich Cycling Club to resurrect the Carnival Races as an evening cycling road race. And we’re now in our 18th year with new events added each year.

Mr Brown, who is Chairman of the festival organising group says: “In order to celebrate Mrs Ronson’s years of service to the festival, this year we have The Barbara Ronson Run – a 1 Lap 1 Mile Fun Run. And as usual you can dress up in fancy dress with Mrs Ronson’s son Rob, who also sadly lost his father and brother during 2018, on hand to assist with the judging. So please come and support the festival and celebrate Mrs Ronson’s huge contribution to it by taking part”.

Horwich Festival of Racing is now in its 18th year and is supported by Bolton Council, Horwich Town Council, Bolton Community Leisure Trust, Bolton at Home, Craftprint and other local sponsors and partners to whom the festival organisers are very grateful.

This unique event attracts competitors not only from the local areas but all over the United Kingdom and from abroad. Originally known as Horwich Carnival Races, the event was re-named to reflect the wide variety of sporting activities which take place on closed roads in the centre of Horwich.

It originated as a ‘Cavalcade of Cycling’ put on by Horwich Cycling Club at Horwich Carnival in 1946 when tandem and sidecar, boneshaker bikes and several tricycles were ridden through the streets by members of the Club.

The first Carnival Race was held on Friday 6 June 1977 to celebrate the Silver Jubilee when cyclists raced for 32 miles around the streets of Horwich. The streets weren’t closed to traffic and over the years there were a few near misses. So much so that the open road circuit was closed down in 1989.

When Commonwealth Games fever gripped the North West in 2002 our late President Barbara Ronson asked Horwich Cycling Club to resurrect the Carnival Races as a day of multi-sport races and we’re now in our 18th year and have split from the Carnival to become the Horwich Festival of Racing.

The Festival has a strong heritage as a proving ground for competitors who have gone on to success on the Olympic, Commonwealth and world stages including local hero Jason Kenny, Laura Trott, Lizzie Armistead and Dame Sarah Storey.

Over the years, the event has staged the British Cycling Elite Mens and Womens Circuit Championships, British Para-cycling Circuit Championships, British Masters 5K national championships for running and walking, Penny Farthing road racing, Sprint Orienteering, Unicycle National Championship and other big names involved with the festival include: Local bike builder Terry Dolan; Horwich international Vinny Smith; Commonwealth Games gold medallist Willie Moore; Former British Cycling National Coach John Herety; Former Horwich Cycling Club member Brian Cookson, former UCI President & former British Cycling President; Dave Cockram (father-in-law to Olympic Champion Bradley Wiggins).

The festival is an event organised by the community for the community. It is supported by both Bolton Council and Horwich Town Council together with local and regional sponsors and partners for whose support the organisers are very grateful. Without this support the event could not take place.


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