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Still Time to Sign Up for The Joker Sportive

by Nick Gregory

Southern Sportive's spring season begins in earnest on April 6th at Salisbury racecourse with The Joker - a bold and original sportive with a few April Fool inspired twists

From the start though, the course is no joke. Both tough and beautiful, the route runs through and around the stunning Chalke Valley between Salisbury and Shaftesbury. The riding even has a Spring Classic feel too it. Just at the time the pros are tackling the tough roads, cobbles and climbs of Belgium and France, the Joker throws some wicked climbs and rugged lanes into the mix. 

There are cobbles too, in no less a form than the intimidating one-in-four climb of Shaftesbury's famous Gold Hill (star of Ridley Scott's iconic old Hovis Advert). 



The twist on the usual sportive format comes in the shape of the choices riders can make along the way. Four special extra loops (including Gold Hill) are available to tackle or avoid, each featuring a climb or challenge of note, or just an extra effort purely for the sake of it. There are a couple of tempting short cuts on offer too, but don't expect a nice, surfaced road if you choose to accept it. 

Finishers get high quality souvenir cotton T shirt for their efforts, and there are even a set of special edition playing cards to collect - one for each of the challenges completing. 

It's a great way to start the new season - entertaining throughout, The Joker offers a serious ride with a twist. Find full details and sign up at

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