Road racing proving popular in Cornwall...

ORGANISER, Dan Banford, says he is delighted by the response to the revival of road racing in Cornwall.

It comes in the shape of next month’s Davidstow RR based at Camelford and it could well spark a second event later in the season.

Banford, who is breaking into officialdom after a racing career of his own, revealed this week that he is only a handful of riders short of a full field of 80 riders for the Davidstow race for 2nd/3rd/4th category men on Sunday, April 8.

The response is in stark contrast to worrying trends elsewhere which have seen the Dartmouth and Eggesford RRs cancelled recently because of poor entry numbers. There have also been concerns for this Sunday’s Brentor RR, promoted by the Tavistock Wheelers, for the same reason.

But there have been no such worries for the Davidstow event, promoted by Plymouth Corinthian club, with Banford reporting: “It’s going better than we expected. We have some good-quality riders and nearly a full field.

“It is the first road race in Cornwall for five or six years which may be a factor but we have also been very proactive in seeking entries, in person and via social media.

“I am really keen to get more races down here in Cornwall.”

Banford is already in talks with British Cycling’s South West Events man Andy Parker about another race in the Duchy in 2018.

The hoped-for date is September 9 for a road race over a six-mile circuit at St Eval, and it will be for 3rd/4th category riders, a level which has been struggling for entries this season.

There is plenty of debate over the reasons for the shortage. There are more people of all ages and both sexes out on their bikes these days, but it is proving hard to inspire a new generation of riders keen to stick a number on their backs and compete on the road.

Circuit racing, at centres like Exeter’s Westpoint, the Torbay Velopark at Paignton and Cornwall’s Wheal Jane Circuit, is proving quite popular. Yet road racing demands a bigger commitment and the rising cost of promoting those events dictates entry fees often around £30.

Banford, though, is undismayed, insisting: “I know what organisers do; what it’s like for them and the hard work they put in.

“I’ve been racing for a while and enjoying it and I thought it was about time that I tried to put something back into the sport.”

This article first appeared in the Independent. To get the latest articles when they appear, buy the print edition every Sunday or subscribe to our online edition HERE.