A TEAM of 50 cyclists are set to race against a 8,000-tonne block of the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier as it goes to sea for the first time.
The completed section of HMS Queen Elizabeth will leave Govan Dockyard on the Clyde on Tuesday and will travel 600 miles around the top of Scotland to the other side of the country on a barge to Rosyth Dockyard.
The mid-section of hull, known as Lower Block 03, has already been moved out of BAE Systems’ shipbuilding hall at Govan and loaded onto a huge sea going barge in preparation for the journey.
To mark the achievement, more than 50 cyclists will leave Govan, taking on a gruelling 500-mile cycle around the north of Scotland, aiming to beat the block to its final destination on the Forth and raise money for The Royal Navy and Royal Marines charity.
One of the riders is Matthew Bunney from Fareham.
The 25-year-old Ministry of Defence naval architect student said: ‘I’m a bit apprehensive about it to be honest. It seemed like a good idea at the time when I signed up to do it a few months ago but it’s come around quickly.
‘That said, I’m confident I can do it and that we can beat the block.’
Mr Bunney, of Miller Drive, Fareham, who studies at the University of Central London, added: ‘I think it’s going to be really tough but it’ll be great fun too.’
HMS Queen Elizabeth is the first of two new 65,000-tonne aircraft carriers being built for the Royal Navy at a cost of £6.5bn.
The ships, which are the largest and most complex vessels ever built for the navy, are being constructed across six UK sites, including Portsmouth Naval Base.
They will be based in Portsmouth from later this decade and are scheduled to be ready for service by 2020.
Lower Block 03 is the first section of the carriers to go to sea. To follow and track its journey to Rosyth, visit shipais.com.