James revives road race to ‘put something back’

James Thompson . James Thompson   Stannington Road Race
James Thompson . James Thompson Stannington Road Race
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ELITE cyclists will speed around some of the steepest hills in Sheffield as a traditional event is revived.

On Sunday a piece of history is being brought back to life when the Stannington Road Race returns.

And it’s all thanks to the dream of professional cyclist and Stannington resident, James Thompson.

Brand manager James, who lives on Rivelin Park Crescent, is organising the event as a tribute to the original with help from Rutland Cycling Club.

He said: “The Stannington Road Race had been going since the 1950s but it stopped running, I think about 20 years ago, and I’ve been trying to resurrect it.

“I think that was because the man that organised it left Stannington and it was getting more complicated to organise.

“I ride for a professional team so I just wanted to put something back into the sport on my doorstep.”

The road race was, and is, a challenge indeed.

Course-wise it has changed to take riders on a 75-mile trek over 15 laps around Dungworth and Stannington.

But the passion for top-flight cycling is the same for both spectators and riders.

Andrew Elston, owner of race co-sponsor Langsett Cycles of Sheffield, won the junior category of the event as an 18-year-old.

The popular Langsett Road Race - which went all the way out to Derbyshire - also ran until the 1970s.

He added: “Unfortunately I haven’t got the fitness or the ability to repeat my win this time!

“Stannington Road Race used to be a fantastic event.

“The finish was more or less outside a pub and that used to be the hardest part as a rider, going past the pub in laps while everyone stood outside and had a drink.

“They are really good memories and I think that’s what we are trying to bring back.

“It’s good to get local businesses involved and people out for it.

“Hopefully the weather will hold up.”

James - who rides for Hope Factory Racing – added: “We are expecting about 60 elite riders who come from all over the country.

“It is a national event and and part of the Yorkshire Elite Road Racing League.

“The aim is to see it happen every year.

“There is a lot happening with cycling in Sheffield at the moment, hopefully it will become a bigger event where we can extend the course a bit and include Strines.”

Sunday’s event begins and ends at Our Cow Molly at Cliffe House Farm, Dungworth, which is one of the sponsors.

It begins at 9.30am and riders are expected to take about three and a half hours to complete the race.

n See Monday’s Star for a picture round-up of photographs from the road race.