Thousands of local residents and cycling enthusiasts gathered in Rochester’s historic town centre this Sunday for The HSBC UK | National Circuit Championships.
The crowds witnessed a spectacular race which saw Rebecca Durrell and Joey Walker take home the iconic red, white and blue national champions’ jerseys.
Britain’s top cyclists raced for glory on a 1.6km circuit for almost an hour. Victor Rebecca Durrell took home the win in the women’s race after seeing off competition from pack leaders Jessica Finney and reigning champion Anna Henderson.
Speaking after the race, Durrell said: “I can’t believe it, it hasn’t sunk in yet. You always dream of becoming a national champion but it’s really difficult to achieve. It’s nice to be able to win for the team and for everybody that helps us.”
The men’s race had a hectic start with a number of crashes on the course that interrupted the flow of the early stages and allowed Isaac Mundy and Joey Walker to break away from the pack. While Mundy entered the final corner in pole position, it was Walker that pipped him to the post to claim victory in a thrilling championship race. Local cyclist Joe Sutton put in a sterling effort finishing 12th.
Afterwards Walker said: “He (Mundy) had a good gap and I saw it was bridgeable and thought why not give it a go. I didn’t have the best legs on the night, which might seem stupid, but I didn’t feel great and just wanted to ride into it and get aggressive.”
A family mass participation race, the Medway Big Ride, also gave young aspiring racers an opportunity to cycle on a section of the race course and was enjoyed by 500 participants.
Spectators enjoyed fantastic weather anda range of activities available in the event village in Rochester Castle Gardens, including face painting, BMX stunt shows, a climbing wall, bike try-out shows and free coaching by British Cycling.
Fantastic day with an electric atmosphere
Dawn Hudd, Assistant Director of Physical and Cultural Regeneration at Medway Council, said: “It was a fantastic day and we were delighted to see more than 500 people, of all ages and cycling abilities, take part in the Medway Big Ride mass participation event in Rochester.
“Thousands of people lined Rochester’s historic streets to cheer on the cyclists taking part in all of the events. The atmosphere for the HSBC UK | National Circuit Championships was electric and the elite riders were spurred on by cheers from the crowds who gathered around the circuit to watch.
“We have invested heavily in cycling in recent years and there are now more than 80 miles of on and off-road routes for cyclists to enjoy across Medway, as well as a BMX pump track in Gillingham. We hope that the Medway Big Ride and the elite races have inspired some of our residents to get on their bikes and enjoy Medway’s open spaces.”