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Fast-paced, frantic and raw excitement — elite cycling comes to the streets of Newark as final of National Circuit Series, featuring town’s own Isabel Darvill and Rebecca Richards, sets pulses racing



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The fast-paced raw excitement of elite cycle racing returned to the streets of Newark last night (Friday).

Not since the Tour of Britain in 2017 has the town witnessed such a cycle of high-speed competition.

Roads were closed in and around the town centre for the final rounds of the men’s and women’s elite National Circuit Series, featuring Newark’s own Isabel Darvill and Rebecca Richards.

Rupert Brooke champion fundraiser with Ed Clancy MBE. (58329588)
Rupert Brooke champion fundraiser with Ed Clancy MBE. (58329588)
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Under 14s race. (58329720)
Under 14s race. (58329720)

Hundreds of people lined the route, the more ardent fans ringing cow bells and bashing their hands on the advertising hoardings as the riders went passed.

Nobody was left out in what proved to be a perfect advertisement for the sport and showed just how diverse the uses of Newark town centre and its picture postcard market place can be with some clever thinking.

Brompton bikes, relay race. (58329650)
Brompton bikes, relay race. (58329650)
Under 12s race. (58329680)
Under 12s race. (58329680)
Under 12s race. (58329684)
Under 12s race. (58329684)

The 1.1km circuit took in Kirkgate, Middlegate, Stodman Street, Castlegate, Lombard Street, Cartergate, Bridge Street, Wilson Street, and part of Baldertongate.

The start and finish was in Newark Market Place.

Lucy, Matthew, Rebecca and Joseph Pitcher before the community ride. Image by Rob Currell (58327213)
Lucy, Matthew, Rebecca and Joseph Pitcher before the community ride. Image by Rob Currell (58327213)
The community ride race ribbon being cut as Ed Clancy MBE, Rupert Brooke and Town Mayor Laurence Goff wait at the start. Image by Rob Currell (58327257)
The community ride race ribbon being cut as Ed Clancy MBE, Rupert Brooke and Town Mayor Laurence Goff wait at the start. Image by Rob Currell (58327257)

Champion fundraiser Rupert Brooke launch the event with triple Olympic gold medalist Ed Clancy in the community race that set the wheels turning.

Rupert recently raised £34,000 for the Newark-based Children’s Bereavement Centre by cycling from London to Paris.

Image by Rob Currell. (58327470)
Image by Rob Currell. (58327470)
Under 16s race. (58329726)
Under 16s race. (58329726)

Newark Town Mayor Laurence Goff, himself a keen cyclist, also joined over 50 participants in that event.

The crowds were building from that moment on, and they stayed throughout the evening, cheering on the fun Brompton Bikes relay, the under 12s, under 14s, under 16s, the regional and amateur race and finally the elite women's and men's.

Regional and Amateur race. (58329760)
Regional and Amateur race. (58329760)
Regional and Amateur race. (58329798)
Regional and Amateur race. (58329798)
Regional and Amateur race. (58329799)
Regional and Amateur race. (58329799)

All in all, it was a fantastic end to the elite British Cycling National Circuit Series and credit must go to all of those involved in the organisation of a special night.

Undoubtedly, some of the juniors will be some of the world's best cyclists of the future. The winners of the junior categories had their special moment on the stage too, collecting their bouquets and gleefully spraying champagne over each other and the gaggle of assembled photographers.

Regional and Amateur race. (58329829)
Regional and Amateur race. (58329829)
Women's race. (58329830)
Women's race. (58329830)
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The riders coped well with the cobbled surface of the market place and there very few fallers.

The action was intense with plenty of over-taking and some fast lap speeds.

Men's race. (58329847)
Men's race. (58329847)

Isabel Darvill's Pro-Noctis/Rotor/RedChilliBikes/HeidiKjeldren team was in contention to win the women’s elite National Circuit Series.

The community ride was a big hit.

One of those there, Nicky Ball, from Newark, said: "We don't often get the chance to ride on closed roads.

Men's race. (58329899)
Men's race. (58329899)
Men's race. (58329900)
Men's race. (58329900)
Men's race. (58329847)
Men's race. (58329847)
Men's race. (58329903)
Men's race. (58329903)

"It is a lot of fun.

"We like the cycling events and we came down to watch the Tour of Britain."

Michelle Allen riding with her family, including son Elijah, 7 from Witham St Hughs, and with a business in Newark, said: "We're very excited to have a bike ride in town and are looking forward to take part of it as a family."

Men's race. (58329904)
Men's race. (58329904)
Men's race. (58329908)
Men's race. (58329908)
Men's race. (58329913)
Men's race. (58329913)
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Sarah Stafford, from Newark, with grandson Thomas Clorow, 8 said: "It is lovely to have a community ride to be a part of, it would be lovely to have them more often.

"It is good to have an event where multiple generations can enjoy and join in."

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Lucy Pitcher, 10, said: "I am doing the ride. I am really excited but a bit nervous.
"Me and my dad cycled 9km from Fernwood to be here."

Mum Rebecca said, "It is a really nice community event."

After the community ride, Sarah said: "We had a lot of fun, it was great.

"We really enjoyed it.

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Image by Rob Currell. (58327467)
Image by Rob Currell. (58327467)

"We want to get more friends and family involved in it next time."

Lisa Blant, from Brant Broughton, said: "It was absolutely amazing doing the community ride with our family.

"It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to ride around the town centre with no cars."

Emma Jeffers won the women's elite event at Newark and was also crowned National Circuit Series champion. Behind her in second was Josie Nelson, third was Jo Tindley of the Newark-based Pro Noctis team and she was second overall in series.

Isabel Darvill came fifth in the race, third overall in the series.

Pro Noctis was the number one women's team of the National Circuit Series.

Jake Scott won the men's Newark race and in doing so also sealed the National Circuit Series title. His team Wiv SunGod won overall team victory of series.

Rob Scott was behind him in second at Newark, also representing Team Wiv SunGod, and third was Conor McGoldrick.

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Newark's Isabel Darvill. (58330006)
Newark's Isabel Darvill. (58330006)

Isabel Darvill said: "It was really special to see family, colleagues and friends watching the race.

"The event was so well organised, the course was amazing, Chris Laurence did a fantastic job, it was just faultless."

"Our team has done amazing. We aimed to do well over the entire series, not just one race."

Rick Lister, team manager of Pro Noctis, said: "We won the series overall, at this point it would have been a shock for us not to win but we still had to strategise.

"The race was a really good, hard racing circuit.

"Our team has a lot of local interest, Pro Noctis, Pursuit Line and Coffee Chain are three of our major supporters and are right here in Newark.

"The Newark race had a great atmosphere, it truly was a great race.

Newark's Isabel Darvill lines up for the start of the women's elite race (right). (58330007)
Newark's Isabel Darvill lines up for the start of the women's elite race (right). (58330007)
Isabel Darvill (centre). (58330008)
Isabel Darvill (centre). (58330008)
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"We focused on the National Circuit Series as a priority this year and it has paid off.
"Our next big race is in mid-August in the National Road Series, which the team won last year."
Another Newark elite rider, Rebecca Richards, rides for Dame Sarah Storey's team, Storey Racing.

She was out for four weeks with covid before recovering enough to participate said: "It was my second race back for the season.

"I was starting to hurt around the 30 minute mark but my team kept up a very good pace.

"Fantastic event, perfect combination of fast and technical sections.

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"I feel very privilaged to ride in my home town of Newark in this amazing race.

"Really awesome crowd, I am just stoked to be a part of it."

Frank Synder, local cycling enthusiast, said: "It was a good race, would be good to see it here every year."

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Chris Lawrence, race organiser, said: "It was a fabulous event, very, very successful.

"A lot of people said Newark has given the best atmosphere of any town race they have attended.

"It should become a permanent fixture every year on the circuit."

PHOTOS: David Dawson, Rob Currell and Dan Churcher



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