Mark Williams has paid tribute to the volunteers who made the return of the South Region Road Race Championships a huge success.
The Portsmouth North End (PNE) rider, who organised the event, called on support from his own club and Fareham Wheelers to lay on senior, womens and junior races on Sunday.
If it wasn’t for the volunteers from both clubs, we would never have been able to put three events onMark Williams
Ben Stockdale took the major honours on the Owslebury circuit, while Jack Billyard was crowned junior champion and Kimberley Ashton the leading lady.
But for Williams, the real heroes were the volunteers who gave up their time to ensure the event went ahead after a lack of support last season.
He said: ‘In 2013, the region ran it but then said they were looking for clubs to take it on.
‘There are 131 clubs in the south region but nobody did, so there wasn’t one.
‘I offered to promote it this year as a PNE rider and then got hold of Fareham Wheelers to say I needed help.
‘If it wasn’t for the volunteers from both clubs, we would never have been able to put three events on.
‘The (Owslebury) parish hall was hugely overpopulated, it was bulging at the seams.
‘There were 70 cars alone in the car park and for the juniors and women – because the mum’s and dads bring the guys and girls up to the races – there were 70 or 80 spectators at the finish.
‘It is kudos for both clubs, to be honest.’
Williams was delighted by the final results, too.
The Isle of Wight’s Faye Faber was 11th in the 84km women’s race, while Waterlooville’s George Stainton-Ellis (ASL Projects)and Portsmouth’s Andy Shackel (Team Wiggle) were 17th and 34th in the main event, over a gruelling 134km.
And while Billyard took the junior crown, also over 84km, Fareham Wheelers talents Harvey Morcombe (ninth), Doug Tandy (13th) and Brendan Drewett (20th) all starred, along with i-Team ace Joseph Clark (11th) and VC St Raphael’s Charlie Cooper (22nd).
There was disappointment for PNE’s Jamie Donovan, though, who was going really well until a puncture at a crucial moment.
Williams added: ‘It went really well and the standard of racing was very good.
‘We’ve had great feedback from the riders and parents.
‘They all felt very safe. With the accredited marshals stopping the traffic, it was almost like a closed road – which left the riders to get on with their racing.’
For more pictures from the event visit localriderslocalraces.co.uk