Drummer George Aldridge of the HAC won the Men’s Championship race at the inaugural Army Reserve Individual Cycling Championships last month.
Hosted by the National Reserve Headquarters Royal Artillery (NRHQ RA) at Thorney Island near Portsmouth, the event was designed to offer Reservists access to the racing experience in a safe environment on one of the many circuits used in the Army Cycling Road Race Series (ACRRS).
The day saw a strong turnout of Army Reservists from across the country contest the Women's, Men's Novice and Men's Championship races.
A full turnout in the women's field was a huge positive for the Championships with ability levels ranging from first-time novice racer to a former Army Team member. An impressive performance by Captain Bexy Dew of 243 (Wessex) Field Hospital saw her finish ahead of Captain Anna Delve of 20 Army Education Centre. Captain Michelle Debono of the University of London Officer Training Corps finished a very respectable third.
With a larger turnout, the Men's field was split between a Novice and Championship race. Up first were the novices who, after a coaching session, produced an entertaining and competitive race won in a photo-finish sprint by Captain Carl Proctor of Bristol University Officer Training Corps.
Finally came the Men's Championship race which, with a number of experienced racers in the field, produced not only a tough physical race but also a fascinating tactical battle. The pre-race favourite and eventual winner, HAC Drummer George Aldridge, also rides for team Bikestrong-KTM. He later said on social media, "Great racing today, gorgeous weather and a big thank you to all who put their time into making this event happen."
Army Cycling Vice Chairman Lt Col Jamie Baxter said, "I love Army Cycling for all sorts of reasons but seeing people at events like this demonstrates what we are all about; getting people out on bikes, competing and enjoying Army sport."
Organiser Major John Eldridge of NRHQ RA also paid tribute to those that gave their time to make the event happen, saying, "Whilst NRHQ RA planned and administered the event, it would not have been possible without the advice and support of WO1 Mark Cain and Sergeant Pat Daumann-Rattenbury. Not only did they ensure the event went without issue but provided excellent guidance and tuition for those new to the sport."
Army Reserve Road Race Championships 2018 Results
1. Dmr George Aldridge (Honourable Artillery Company)
2. Sgt James Green (104 Regiment Royal Artillery)
3. WO2 Stu Jackson (131 Commando Squadron Royal Engineers)
1. Capt Bexy Dew (243 (Wessex) Field Hospital)
2. Capt Anna Delve (20 AEC)
3. Capt Michelle Debono (ULOTC)
1. Capt Carl Proctor (Bristol UOTC)
It is hoped that next year the numbers will grow from the 60 participants this year, allowing for additional categories. The event is open to all Army Reserve units and OTCs and will be well advertised in advance.