Sir Ben Ainslie turns out with cyclists at charity ride to support former Olympian pal who died

BIKERS turned out in force braving Hurricane Hannah to take part in the annual Bike4Bart competition in memory of Britain’s America’s Cup sailor and Olympian Andrew (Bart) Simpson.

Sunday, 28th April 2019, 3:48 pm
Updated Monday, 29th April 2019, 12:53 pm
Bike 4 Bart Pictured is: David Hutley, Cathy and Nick Balsover complete their ride. Picture: Keith Woodland (270419-36)

Cyclist were left out of breath after riding for up to six hours for the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation.

Now in its second year, the event sees cyclists come from all over to compete and help raise funds for the charity.

The family fun day, supported by Ballistic RIBS and sister company Boat Club Trafalgar, had activities for adults and children, aiming to inspire children get involved in watersports.

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Bike 4 Bart Pictured is: Sab Gordon and Hermione Garner race each other. Picture: Keith Woodland (270419-10)

Even Olympian Sir Ben Ainslie put in an appearance.

The festival offered free watersports sessions including sailing, windsurfing, paddle-boarding and kayaking sessions but these had to be abandoned due to the strong winds.

But with a raft of fun activities available and live music, there was plenty of fun for all the family.

With over 250 cyclists taking part in one of the three circuits, the foundation were delighted with the turnout.

Bike 4 Bart Pictured is: Ian Lovering completes his ride. Picture: Keith Woodland (270419-28)

Harmione Garner, operations manager of the foundation, said: ‘We’ve had a good number of riders out there braving the conditions, many of whom knew Bart.

‘We’ve had Sir Ben Ainslie and the Ineos America’s Cup team here. But apart from having professional athletes we’ve also people of all abilities, many of whom have trained for the day.

‘We’ve had lots of stuff going on for all the family. Unfortunately it was too windy to have watersports.

‘It’s a great occasion which we hope will help transforms lives through sailing. Our charity aims to help young people’s mental and physical health by getting them out on the water.’

Cyclists admitted it had been tough conditions but they were delighted to help the foundation.

Ian Lovering, who grew up sailing with Bart, said: ‘It was extremely windy out there. It’s not the normal sort of course I would do – my bottom is very sore. Riding down wind was good but into the wind was tough.

‘I’m glad I did it. It’s for a great cause. I grew up sailing with Bart. He was a great bloke.’

Christopher Gully, 54, of Salisbury, said: ‘It was really enjoyable although very windy. It’s a great foundation and I was pleased to take part and help the cause.’

Nick Bolsover with wife Cathy rode in a group with Lorna and Mick Garrett for the Bentworth Cycle Club in north Hampshire. Nick said: ‘It was great for us to ride in a team. It was very scenic and well sign posted.’

Lorna added: ‘We did the 40 mile course which was challenging but enjoyable. It was nice to get a beer at the end.’