Disability Circuit Race Series Round 5

Disability Circuit Race Series Round 5


Disability Circuit Race Series Round 5

September 26, Phil Godfrey

Tim Challinor who won the 'Two Wheel' Series overall. Photo: Adrian Fitch

On Saturday 26th September, Dulwich Paragon hosted the climax of the inaugural Disability Circuit Race Series at the Hillingdon Circuit, just north of London. In glorious sunshine, the race was set to be a thriller; particularly in the handcycling category where, proving he won the race, Rob Wickham would pip Karen Darke to take the overall series title. However, the factoring was such that Rob would have to make up a 2:19 min and 2 lap deficit over Karen. Having recently competed at the UCI Paracycling World Road Championships in Bogogno, Italy, Rob was sure to come into the race in fine form.

Of the two wheelers, Tim Challinor of Paramount CRT had already secured the series title by virtue of his consistently strong performances. In this race, he would be up against multiple National Champion Russ White and Shaun McKeown, both of whom gave strong performances at the Worlds in Italy. Along with those who have supported the series thoughout (Daniel Weston, Dom Hurley and handcyclists Rob Wickham, Dave Sandles and Chris Madden), there were newcomers including Emma Kirby and Callum Akers (Special Olympics Eastern Region), organiser Ken Forman (Dulwich Paragon) and Ivor Thomas (Solihull CC). Also racing were Peter Gregory and Stephen Lowden (Handcycling UK) who have each competed in one previous round of the series.

First away in the Handcycling race was Stephen Lowden (MHCA), closely followed by Karen Darke (WHCB), both of whom had to complete 10 laps of the 0.93 mile circuit as opposed to 12 for the rest of the field. After just over 2 minutes, the remaining handcyclists were underway, except for Dave Sandles who had an unfortunate mechanical on the start line and lost two laps over his fellow competitors effectively putting him out of contention. After the first few laps it was clear that Rob Wickham and Chris Madden were working well together to reduce their deficit to Karen Darke and were consistently lapping at around 2:40 minutes (21mph).

With 2 laps to go, Chris and Rob passed Karen to take the overall lead in the race and set Rob up for the win which would give him the title of Handcycling Circuit Race Series champion. However, in the final straight, Chris and Rob sprinted it out for the chequered flag with Rob passing Chris by half a wheel. Had Chris won the sprint, Karen would have been champion, but in the end Rob just took it! Karen finished the race in 3rd followed by Stephen Lowden, who showed a considerable improvement over his last race by finishing in a creditable 4th and moving him up to 8th in the final series standings. Next was Dave Sandles, followed by Peter Gregory.

Two Wheelers
The ‘two wheeler’ race had entries from 10 solos and 3 tandems, although the pairing of Lora Turnham and Bex Rimmington pulled out due to fatigue after their fantastic bronze medal winning ride at the world championships. Dominic Hurley (recently reclassified from CP4 to CP3) was first off, closely followed by the new tandem pairing of Emma Kirby and Roger Akers. All other riders were set off together, with a fast bunch quickly emerging comprising of Russ White, Tim Challinor, Shaun McKeown and Ivor Thomas.

First to drop out from this bunch was Ivor Thomas, who stayed with the fast group for 3 laps. Ivor then rode on his own for the next 5 laps, before being caught by the tandem pairing of father and son team Daniel and Patrick Weston. It was clear that the remaining group of Russ, Tim and Shaun would soon catch the mixed tandem and CP3 Dom with lap times of under 2:20. Once past these riders, in his usual attacking style, Russ found and extra gear and broke away from Tim and Shaun at the head of the race with 3 laps to go. This split the group and saw Tim edge away from Shaun in a brave but vain pursuit of Russ. This is how the top three finish the race.

Behind these riders, the tandem pair of Daniel and Patrick worked with Ivor to catch and pass Dom. This led to a thrilling sprint for the line which saw the tandem cross the line a few metres ahead of Ivor and taking 4th and 5th respectively. Daniel has consistently got stronger throughout the season, and is developing into a great rider. Having crashed out of the previous round in Warwick, Dom’s injuries were causing him noticeable discomfort, so credit to him for a brave solo ride to clinch 6th.  The mixed tandem of Emma and Roger finished in 7th and Callum Akers in 8th. Ken Foreman completed 7 laps, but had to with withdraw early suffering from back pain.

The series has been well received by the riders who have finally have been given their own domestic series of races to compete in. Thanks go to all the riders who have supported the series and to Dulwich Paragon for their excellent organisation and support from club members. Congratulations go particularly to Tim Challinor and Rob Wickham for taking the series titles in the paracycling and handcycling categories respectively.


1. Rob Wickham
2. Chris Madden
3. Karen Darke
4. Stephen Lowden
5. David Sandles
6. Peter Gregory

1. Russ White
2. Tim Challinor
3. Shaun McKeown
4. Daniel/Patrick Weston
5. Ivor Thomas
6. Dominic Hurley
7. Emma Kirby/Roger Ackers
8. Callum Akers

Final Series Standings

Photos are available on Flickr:
Kevin Knox -- Click here  | Adrian Fitch --  Click here  

Notes on the Disability Circuit Series race format
At each round there are two races, usually contested at the same time, whereby handcyclists and all other categories,compete against each other under a handicap system based on world best times for their category. The handicap factoring sets staggered start times for the different classes, and some classes compete over a shorter distance. At the end of the race, all competitors should theoretically finish together, having completed their required distance in their calculated target time (although they will be slower than this as this is based on world best times).

The faster classes gradually unlap themselves on those with a shorter distance to complete and the first handcyclist and tandem/solo/trike rider actually crossing the line wins. This formula has enabled some exciting racing and the outcome of many races was determined only in a thrilling sprint for the line as the eventual winner finally overhauled the long-time race leader in the closing metres of the race!

If you would like to race next year, or would like any information about disability cycling, please contact disability@britishcycling.org.uk