Smithfield Market in London was transformed into a cycle race circuit last weekend for the IG markets Smithfield Nocturne.
The event draws in thousands of spectators every year to watch thrilling racing on a very tight one kilometre circuit.
One of the highlights for the crowd is the Brookes Penny Farthing Championships, which attracts the best penny farthing racers from around the world with competitors travelling from as far away as New Zealand and America and India.
Matlock Cycling Club penny farthing racer Richard Thoday decided to mark the event by riding from his home in Matlock to the event in London on his 56” wheel racing penny farthing.
The 260-mile ride took four days with Richard struggling through rain and headwinds for a lot of the ride but, despite mechanical problems and one spill over the handlebars causing a cracked rib, Richard arrived in London in sunshine, keen to race. Around 30 of the best riders took to the circuit for a half-hour race sponsored by Brookes Saddles, with the top half dozen riders soon pulling away from the main bunch. Despite tired legs from the long ride to the race and constant battles with other riders including Derby Mercury’s Jim Crew, Richard stuck in close to the head of the race for the whole time.
With a lap to go, New Zealand rider Greg McKinnel launched an attack that stuck to the end with Jim Brailsford (who won the Matlock Pennies in the Park race) finishing on his back wheel in second place.
Richard battled hard to overhaul Dave Preece in the last lap to take a hard-won third place on the line.
Action from the event, including the folding bike championships and elite critrium racing, can be seen on Saturday evening on Channel Four.
The jubilee weekend saw three of Matlock CC’s younger riders competing in one of the toughest youth races on the calendar, the North West International Youth Tour.
This prestigious race comprised five stages over three days on closed circuits in Preston, Lancaster and Blackpool.
The event attracted over 350 riders from all corners of the UK, plus teams from Holland and the Czech Republic.
As in professional stage races, the riders compete both for placings in each stage and for the general classification based on aggregate times across the five stages.
In the U12s category, Tim Elsmore led the Matlock team home in 52nd place, with Ellie Smith in 55th place and ninth girl. In the U10s category, Libby Smith finished in 26th place and fifth girl.
The whole event was a great experience for the up-and-coming young riders and they are already looking forward to next year’s event.
Meanwhile, Matlock Cycling Club held its annual Burton and District Cycling Association (BDCA) 50-mile time-trial on Sunday.
The course is run along the A6 between Matlock and Bakewell islands, with four turns at Bakewell, and three at Matlock before the finish near Picory Corner.
Despite being three minutes late to the start line, Matlock Cycling Club member and scratch man Doug Forrester took the victory with a time of 2 hours and 49 seconds (actual riding time 1hour 57 minutes and 49 seconds).
The winning margin was considerable over second-placed rider Jonathon Lloyd of Westmead Racing Team, who recorded 2 hours 3 minutes and 21 seconds.
Third place went to Andy Day of Worcester Triathlon Club who recorded 2:06:24.
The annual Matlock CC 25-mile championship event took place on Monday morning, with just 11 riders rising early enough to do battle along the A6 for the honour of being the 2012 25-mile champion and taking home the club trophy.
Doug Forrester’s good form continued, as he won the event with a time of 57 minutes and 42 seconds.
Forrester was up on all his rivals at the first split and the gap continued to grow, eventually leading to just over a 2 minute gap to second placed rider Matt Ingram.
Ingram was the only other rider to go under the hour, recording 59:49.
Third place was Andrew Briggs who clocked 1hour 5 minutes and 24 seconds.
Marianne Heffron continues to impress in time-trials this season, as she was comfortably the fastest female rider, finishing in a superb time of 1 hour 10 minutes and 43 seconds.
Matlock’s midweek evening time trials were heavily affected by the rain, with only six riders taking part in Tuesday’s ten-mile event, while such was the downpour on Thursday night, no riders took part in the Long Hilly event.
Nevertheless, Patrick Smart took his first ever senior time-trial win as he was comfortably the fastest rider – finishing in a very impressive time of 24 minutes and 52 seconds – over a minute quicker than second placed Gary Blackham (25:53).
Dave Riddings came third in 26:24 while Marianne Heffron was once again fastest female, finishing fourth overall in 27:30.