Top international and British cycling teams are gearing up for the Fort Vale Colne Grand Prix on Tuesday 16 July.
The national men’s race is heading to Colne for its toughest circuit in what will be the 4th race in the 2019 series. The high powered events start at 6.30pm by Colne’s historic market cross and Ian Wilson, Managing Director of headline sponsor Fort Vale Engineering will be watching the big race for the first time.
Ian has been a competitive cyclist in the past and is looking forward to the adrenaline rush of an energy-fuelled event. Fort Vale has been sponsors of the Sprint for Success since 2014 and for the last two years has been headline sponsors. Ian explained: “We have a cycling culture at Fort Vale which runs right through the age range of the company from 16 year old apprentices to me at 73!”
The global engineering company employs over 400 staff at its headquarters in Simonstone and Ian’s name is on the new state of the art Wilson Fort sports facilities there. “We run spinning classes which are pretty intense, with hill climbs and sprints and we promote the Cycle to Work scheme to help our workforce get their own bikes,” he explained.
“Our Sports Centre Manager Kelly Armstrong puts our staff through their paces in her spinning classes,” Ian added.
Race night, organised by Colne Town Council and Cycling Development Pendle Partnership, starts in the town centre with the Youth Race at 6.30pm followed by the Riggs Autopack Sprint for Success at 7.15pm. And the Fort Vale Colne Grand Prix starts at 8.15pm with more details on www.colnetowncouncil.org.uk
Mary Thomas, Chairman of Colne Town Council said: “Come into town and enjoy an exciting high speed spectacle with all the thrills of street racing. Many businesses will be staying open late and there’ll be an amazing atmosphere in town. Nail biting finishes are guaranteed as cyclists battle it out to be on the winners’ podium,” she said.
Race organiser Len Woffindin said: “We work with British Cycling to bring this race to Colne and there’ll be six teams from Union Cycliste Internationale plus top UK teams. “We expect the leaders in the series to be powering through the streets of Colne including the current series leader Matthew Bostock who rides with Canyon dhb pb Bloor Homes. And there’ll be Chris Latham in current 2nd place who I’ve known since he was 10 years old! Chris rides for Vitus Pro Cycling pb Brother. Look out for George Ward currently in third place who rides for Swiss Carbon Pro Cycling.”
“And John Mould in 5th place is racing for Madison Genesis – a fantastic team which has been on the podium for many years at the Colne Grand Prix. “It’ll be a fantastic night of racing,” he added.
Fort Vale Engineering started life in Colne and is now a world leader, making valves and fittings for road, sea and rail tankers. In business for over 50 years Fort Vale has a proud legacy of supporting apprentices throughout its history. The Fort Foundation Charity not only brings outward bound courses to underprivileged children, but also sponsors potential young Olympians.