Countdown to cycling spectacular

8 May 2019 09:51
Published by: Daniel Almond


NOT long now until the biggest regular sporting event in Horwich town centre gets underway.

The 2019 Horwich Festival of Racing is taking place from 11th to 16th June and a full programme of events is now available to view and enter on the festival website

A great mix of cycling (on two wheels and one), running and orienteering will take place over the festival starting with trail runs for juniors and seniors on the evening of Tuesday 11th starting at Rivington Barn and concluding on the afternoon of Sunday 16th with a high-speed Cycling Criterium around the closed Horwich town centre circuit.

In between, the festival will host a range of events for the experienced and first time athlete including The Emerson Grand Prix, a Senior Three Race Tour and a brand new Junior Three Race Tour comprising trail, fell and road races,  junior relay cycling competing for the Horwich Town Council Cup along with the national championships for the British Masters Road events and the Sixth National Unicycling Championship.

The triathlon event is a partnership between the festival of Racing and Team Deane Community Triathlon Club and starts at 7am on Sunday 16th June at Horwich Leisure centre with a 200m pool swim then an eight mile bike element on Horwich town centre on fully closed roads. The challenging three mile run is on open footpaths/trails and consists of approx 80% tarmac paths and 20% trail”.

As usual there will be a fun cycle and a fun run, this year named The Barbara Ronson Run in honour of our late President Mrs Barbara Ronson who died 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. There is a packed programme to take part in and watch in your neighbourhood so make sure that you check out the programme on the website.”

Background on the Festival

Horwich Festival of Racing is now in its 18th year and is supported by Bolton Council, Horwich Town Council, The Emerson Group, Bolton Community Leisure Trust, Bolton at Home, Craftprint,  Pure Vent, Bolton Arena and other local sponsors and partners to whom the festival organisers are very grateful. Check out the website for the full list of our sponsors.

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).


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