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Marlow Red Kite Ride Proves A Roaring Success

by Nick Gregory

Organisers were delighted with the success of this year's Marlow Red Kite Ride, now an established event in the Cycling calendar, which will raise more than £8,000 for local charities.

This annual Sportive sold out and around 550 riders finished three different routes over the Chilterns and through Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and South Oxfordshire.

Event Director Steve Tolmie labelled it a "huge success", and added: "It's been a great day and a huge achievement for the people of Marlow to put on this event. It's great to feel a sense of community spirit and being so well supported by organisations such as the Marlow FM radio station.

"We've already had a lot of positive feedback about the quality of the ride, the organisation and the feed stations. And many have said they will be back next year."

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Theresa Sholl from Milton Keynes leads riders through the ford at Twyford in the Marlow Red Kite Ride (Image: Sportive Photo)

There were almost twice the number of entrants as last year and among those taking part was a former national road race champion, Bryce Beeston from Auckland, New Zealand.

Beeston, now aged 65, was the 1977 New Zealand champion and also competed in the 1968 Olympic Games. He participated in the 50 mile Red Kite Ride.

He said: "I'm not really used to taking part in these kind of events anymore. I do more running than cycling now. But I really enjoyed today. And I'm very impressed with the way cycling is becoming so much more successful in this country." 

Course Director Willi Moore, himself a former Olympic bronze medallist, made some strategic changes to last year's route including a diversion through a 40 foot wide ford - the river Loddon - in the Berkshire village of Twyford. All three routes - 50, 80 and 100 miles - were directed through the ford.

This proved quite a talking point among riders who enjoyed the challenge of "riding the ford" without getting wet.

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Rob Stirling from Milton Keynes enjoys some open road (Image: Sportive Photo)

The youngest finisher was 10 year-old Theo Currie from West London, who was inspired to take up cycling by Bradley Wiggins' efforts winning last year's Tour de France. Young Theo rode with both his parents and completed the 50 mile route in a highly respectable 4 hrs 36 mins. It was only the second time he had cycled 50 miles and afterwards he gave an articulate account of his day. "It was a fantastically organised ride but this was much harder than the last 50 mile ride. I'd definitely like to do it again. The countryside was stunning."

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Chris Hodgson from Stokenchurch, Bucks, tries to avoid getting too wet at Twyford. (Image: Sportive Photo)

An autographed GB jersey signed by Sir Chris Hoy and other members of the highly successful GB track squad, was won by Marlow resident John Watson, who rode the 100 mile event when he might have been somewhere else.

Watson admitted that it was the first day of the new rugby season and the Red Kite Ride clashed with his commitments to coach the Marlow Under 16s rugby players. "Well, they knew I had entered this event and I really wanted to do it because I'd cycled the 50 mile ride last year. And this was such a great day. I really enjoyed the ride." The draw for the jersey was a random draw for all riders who entered the Marlow Red Kite Ride.

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Rugby coach John Watson from Marlow receives his autographed GB cycling jersey from former Olympic track cyclist Willi Moore.

The profits raised from this year's event will be split between three local charities: 

* Skidz, who provide work training as a mechanic for children with education and learning difficulties in the High Wycombe and surrounding area

* In-Vision who promote research into Infantile Nystagmus (IN), a permanent condition causing involuntary oscillations of the eyes that first appears within the first six months of life

* Marlow Sports Club which is a is a community sports club, offering a home and facilities to a total of over 1,500 members, all from the Marlow area. 

For more details: http://marlowredkiteride.co.uk





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