Teesside-born racer scoops national cycling honours

Prize winners in the 25 mile race (l to r): Vince Macklam (3rd place), Chris Smart (1st place) and Mike Piper (2nd place)

A Teesside-born rider has scooped the winner’s laurels in a top national cycling event in Cleveland and North Yorkshire for the UK’s emergency services.

Chris Smart, who was born in Middlesbrough and works for Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service, won both the 10 mile and 25 mile races in the Annual Emergency Services Individual Time Trial Championships.

A total of 122 riders from all over Britain took part in the event on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 June along the A19. The competitors were current and retired members of the Police, Fire and Airport Fire Services as well as members of the Armed Forces and sports cyclists from the local area.

Chris Smart set a blistering pace on the Saturday, covering the ten mile race from Crathorne Village near Yarm to the Tontine restaurant and back in just 21 minutes and 9 seconds.

Second place in the ten mile event went to Mike Piper of Kent Fire and Rescue in 21 mins. 30 secs., while Simon Beldon of West Yorkshire Police clinched third with 21 mins. 40 secs.

Simon Beldon also won the Veterans title as the quickest of the riders aged over 40, while the honours for the fastest woman in the event was Claire Sadler of Thames Valley Police at 25 mins. 25 secs. and the fastest team was the Metropolitan Police.

Sunday saw Chris Smart again setting an outstanding pace on the 25 mile course from Crathorne to Knayton village and back, notching up 53 mins. 29 secs. to clinch the race and the overall title.

Mike Piper again took second with 54 mins. 33 secs. while third went to Paul Shallicker  of Greater Manchester Police.

The fastest female rider on the Sunday was Claire Sadler at 1 hour 4 mins. 26 secs., while the fastest veteran was Vince Macklam of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue and the Metropolitan Police again took the team award.

The Local Winner award for the weekend went to Graeme Carter of Cleveland Police, while race hosts Cleveland Fire Brigade received the Fire Services Team Prize.

Event secretary Jeff Crawford said: “It was a fantastic weekend with some excellent racing and a terrific competitive atmosphere.

“Although we were graced with clear skies and sunshine, on both days the riders had to fight against a strong headwind on the outward runs, which surprised many.

“We were delighted with the turnout this year – undoubtedly, the easy-to-access Teesside location was a particular attraction for people, as was the fast nature of the course.

“It was a very memorable weekend which produced some exceptional performances and everyone really enjoyed themselves. We would once again like to thank all the event sponsors for their marvellous support.”

The event sponsors were: Michelin Tyres; Schwalbe Tyres; Continental Tyres; Bikefood; 9bars; SIS; Wheelbase; JE James Cycles; MucOff; Bike Scene of Guisborough; Halfords’ Hartlepool and Middlesbrough branches; MyTeam Giordana; Lusso; GLG Cycles of Thornaby and Middlesbrough-based Crystal Galleries, which has donated the trophies.

A carbon fire fibre time trial cycle frame and forks donated by Stuart Walker, owner of Eaglescliffe-based Black Hawk Bikes, was raffled at the event and raised £450 for The Firefighters’ Charity and the Great Britain Fire Service Cycling Section.

For details of all the event results, visit www.britishfireservicecycling.co.uk