Colne Grand Prix to return next month as town prepares to welcome top cycling talent

The countdown to the Fort Vale Colne Grand Prix has officially begun.

By John Deehan
Tuesday, 21st June 2022, 5:42 pm

After a three-year absence, the popular bike race will make its long-awaited return on Tuesday, July 26.

The action-packed evening features the second to last event of the British Cycling Men's National Circuit Series 2022, and also a men and women’s support race and a youth race.

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Fort Vale colleagues, Coun. Mary Thomas, Len Woffindin and Paul Whittaker outside the Red Lion Hotel in Colne town centre.

Race night, organised by Colne Town Council and Cycling Development Pendle Partnership under the auspices of British Cycling, takes place in Colne town centre on one of the fastest circuits in the UK elite series.

The Coalition Facilities Management Youth Race starts at 6-30pm, the Riggs Autopack Sprint for Success at 7-10pm, followed by the Fort Vale Colne Grand Prix at 8pm with British and Continental cycling teams.

Coun. Mary Thomas, chair of Colne Town Council, said: “We’re thrilled that Colne will once again be taking centre stage in what is always an amazing spectacle in our town.

“The pandemic forced back-to-back postponements of the Colne Grand Prix, so it’s going to be a fantastic atmosphere when the day comes.

“Come along! There will be loads going on, it’s all free and shops and pubs will be open.”

Fort Vale engineering is back as the event’s headline sponsors for a third time, having previously been sponsors of the Sprint for Success support race from 2014 to 2017.

General Manager of Fort Vale Nuclear, Peter Staveley, said: “Our enthusiasm for cycling runs right through the company, from our management team to our young apprentices.

“It’s in our DNA.

“Fort Vale’s emphasis has always been on training and progressing our young people for the future, which is very much an ethos shared by the elite-level cyclists and teams that participate here.”

Peter, having been a spectator at numerous Colne Grand Prix races over the years, added: “It’s such a fast-paced race, there’s lots of adrenaline.

“It’s always good to see the community come out and watch a national series race in our local area.”

Kelly Armstrong, manager of the Wilson Fort Sports Centre – a sport and fitness centre on-site at Fort Vale, added: “The Colne Grand Prix has an amazing atmosphere - it brings a real buzz to the town and we can’t wait to be back.

“The sheer speed that the cyclists go at around such a tightly-packed circuit is unbelievable.”

The race itself will be about 60 laps around Colne town centre with around 80 riders taking part.

Both men and women will be competing in the Riggs Autopack Sprint for Success.

Elite women riders will have the opportunity to compete for ranking points under the National B classification of the race.

Nelson-based Riggs Autopack Ltd, an award-winning manufacturer of specialist machinery for the UK food industry and proud member of The Fort Vale Group, returns as sponsor of the sprint race for the second time.

General manager Andrew Bishop said: “The whole night brings a great sense of energy, togetherness and fun from people of all ages.

“We’ve all missed that over the last two years.

“It’s such a fantastic atmosphere and the races are high-speed and tremendously exciting.

“You’re not waiting long to see who’s in which position as it’s very quickly playing out in front of you – it’s almost like you’re in the race itself!”