Thursday, September 13 2012
International sporting stars returned to Brands Hatch today (Thursday) for more cycling action as the second annual CyclothonUK event took place on the Grand Prix circuit. Recent success for Bradley Wiggins and Team GB helped increase numbers at the event, compared to 2011, one week after the Paralympic Games Road Cyclists raced at the venue.
CyclothonUK is organised by former England Rugby prop forward Victor Ubogo as a charity fundraiser. "It's a team relay around the Grand Prix circuit," he explained. "Teams are between four and eight, and the winner is whoever clocks up the most distance in the twelve hour challenge or in the eight hour challenge.
"It's a fantastic turnout - last year we had about 150 riders, this year we've got just over 300. Again we have blue skies and a sunny day, which is excellent and the banter amongst my fellow rugby internationals who turned out again in full force - over 20 former internationals, their support is great. One of the major differences this year is that we've got five ladies teams, which is absolutely brilliant, keeps us boys going!
"It's a very difficult course and that's what makes it interesting as everyone's talking about it - they're talking about all the hills and it makes it a lot more interesting. It is quite a challenge for those that really want to go for it and it's such a beautiful setting as well."
Joining Rugby stars including Rory Underwood, Doddie Weir and Alix Popham was former England footballer John Salako for his first crack at the event. "It's excellent," he enthused. "I've done a few events like London to Paris and it's great to be here and see so many fantastic charities represented. I'm helping the RFU injured players foundation today, so I'm riding on their team, which really came about through Victor Ubogu, I'm a really keen cyclist, so it's brilliant to be here on a great day with lovely weather and Brands Hatch is looking good.
"For some reason I thought it was going to be flatter than it is - there are three decent hills but they don't last very long but the first one just after the start is fairly steep (Paddock Hill to Druids), so that knocks the wind out of you and gets the legs going. It's a testing track and to get out there to really put in a good time, consistently, lap after lap, it does really take it out of your legs.
"I cycle a lot to get off my back and knees really. I try not to run too much these days, I don't really play too much football. Cycling's really addictive - I love it; it's challenging and great exercise. Doing things like this you can put yourself up against some of the other riders and compete, which is always nice to do, and provides much-needed money for charities."
For more information on CyclothonUK, click here.