Location: Hillingdon Cycle Circuit
Event: 20 April 2013
First held in 1957, the latest Archer Spring Criterium on 20 April at Hillingdon Circuit is proudly the second longest run race in England, with only the Lincoln GP being one year older.
Originally a 50-mile handicap road race it has evolved over the years to still being 50 miles although switched to a closed circuit race. Organiser on behalf of the Archer RC, Stuart Benstead, says: “This enables us to guarantee a £500 prize list with the reduction costs compared to a road race. Of course we are gambling on getting a good-sized field but entries are already rolling in via the British Cycling On-Line system and we have the big field experience from last year.
“Of course there is the assurance of traffic free safety, a state of the art HQ alongside the circuit complete with the traditional home made cakes tea bar essential to every top class road race! Although it is hoped that he will not be needed, the offer by a doctor to be on duty has been taken up to supplement the regular first aider who has paramedic experience. ”
An attraction is likely to be that the Archer Spring Criterium is limited to 1/2/3 categories but not elites. The policy of encouraging up and coming riders continues a 57-year tradition of being a stepping-stone to greater achievements on the national and world stage, originally as the race was supporting the late lamented Archer Grand Prix.
As a stepping stone, the Archer Spring event in its roll of honour includes world champion Graham Webb, world bronze medallist and Commonwealth Games champion Steve Heffernan, multiple Olympic and World gold medallist Bradley Wiggins and, in its then other supporting junior race, Olympians David Millar and Roger Hammond.
The meeting includes Youth races in all age categories and a 4th cat race with both ranking points and a prize list. For full details or to enter online go to the British Cycling website. There will also be entries taken on the day for all events but it is cheaper and saves time if entries are made online.