The Wirral will play host to high-class professional cycle racing for the first time in over half a century.
POSTED BY Lucy Mason ON THE 4th July
Mason has been helping spread awareness of the Leverhulme Grand Prix, which will see over 100 cyclists compete in a series of races in Birkenhead Park.
Apart from the elite racing, there will be races to suit a range of different levels as well as events for women and juniors.
Wirral has a distinguished history of staging professional cycle racing with Wallasey a regular venue until the 1960s, while New Brighton once held the World Championships as far back as 1922.
The event is the brainchild of Pedalare, a Wirral organisation that promotes cycling as a healthy leisure pursuit. It has teamed up with Birkenhead North End Cycling Club and British Cycling to bring the event to the area.
Leverhulme Estates has come on board as the principal sponsor. Other sponsors include The Bike Factory, Bikeline and Arrivee Performance Clothing. Nigel McGurk, of Leverhulme Estates, said: “We were delighted to give our support to help stage this event on the Wirral.
“While it will be fantastic to see some of the best cyclists in the UK compete in Birkenhead Park, we are equally keen on the wider health and wellbeing benefits this showpiece event will have in terms of encouraging young people and their families to take up cycling.”
Frank Field, MP for Birkenhead, said: “What a stunning example of how to bring together cycling, entertainment, and education to help children in Birkenhead develop their creativity and remain active.”
In addition to the cycling, several independent businesses, including food and drink, have agreed to take stalls at the event that takes place on Sunday, July 22. Race headquarters will be Birkenhead Park Rugby Club and the races will start and finish in the Upper Park from 9.30-4.30.
The total prize fund of over £2,500 has already attracted racers from across the UK, including the Isle of Wight.
Andy Mills, a Director of Pedalare, said: “We are hugely excited to be bringing top-class professional cycling back to Wirral after a gap of over 50 years.
“While the elite racing will be a particular highlight of the day, we have ensured that many other categories of cyclists are able to participate too, including a paracycling race and family ride at the end of the race programme.”
Geoff Brandt, from Birkenhead North End Cycle Club, said: “As a racing club we are really happy to be able to showcase what we do to bring young riders into racing. It’s great to see The Parks coming back to its former glory.
“We will be announcing some exciting community-based cycling initiatives aimed at children over the coming weeks to complement the showpiece event in July.”
Cycling UK, which has 67,000 cycling enthusiasts among its membership, and British Cycling, will be on hand on the day to provide advice and information about getting involved in cycling at whatever level.
Photo (From left to right): Andy Wright – Pedalare
Michael Verity – Leverhulme Estates Nigel McGurk – Leverhulme Estates Andy Mills – Pedalare Max Spedding - Birkenhead North Cycling Club