We’re back from our third outing to the Tour de Presteigne event.
Last year’s event was marred by persistent rain which carried on for months afterwards, threatening to sink the whole country at one point. This year though conditions were near perfect for a cycle endurance rally, dry and cool.
The format of the race stayed the same – the winner is whoever completes the most laps of the circuit in one hour. This years rally was split into two categories for the first time – modified (ie bikes with post-production performance enhancement such as derestriction, extra battery packs) and standard (ie bikes straight out of the factory as the manufacturer intended) – with perhaps the widest range of bikes yet and possibly the most riders. Certainly the most determined and Lycra clad.
We fielded four entrants this year, all riding our new Kalkhoff bikes.
Lloyd Clarkson, also of 50cycles, started the race on Kalkhoff Agattu electric bike he had modified himself and named ‘Project X’, something he had been secretly working on in the company’s own Skunkworks for weeks.
Dan McIslay, an upcoming track cycling star, borrowed an Agattu for the event
Emma took to the streets of Presteigne on an extra-small Kalkhoff Pro Connect step-thru electric bike (finishing the race as the first female).
Peter Henshaw glided the top-spec Tasman around the course (probably one of the more comfortable ways to tour Presteigne, and at a sensible speed).
Also, a special mention for Dave Cockroft, who piloted his own Kalkhoff Agattu successfully around the course in a good time. Nice talking to you over the weekend Dave, keep up the good work!
Lloyd and Tom got off to a flying start, hitting and exceeding 30 mph on the first lap, even lapping the back markers before the end of the first lap. Lloyd’s rather revealing race costume helped stir some excitement from the crowd, as did the wheelies he was able to pull on the much-modified ‘Project X’ Agattu. Tom’s factory Pro Connect was neck-and-neck with Project X for the first half of the race, with other makes and models struggling to make an impression on the electrodynamic duo. However, this is when things started to get tricky…
While taking part in a little crowd interaction on a particularly tricky corner off Hereford Street, Lloyd lost a battle with a ‘safety’ bump and came off Project X at high speed, injuring his knee with spectacular effect. He also picked up a puncture shortly after. Despite this, Lloyd was able to continue (averaging around 20mph even with a flat rear tyre) finally completing the course on a standby Kalkhoff Agattu (the one we use for reviews and which many customers in the South East will have test-ridden recently).
Despite this serious, almost race-finishing delay, Tom apparently regained and then kept his lead until the hour was up, ending the rally with a racing finish.
Happily, Tom still took first place in the standard category, winning a bottle of champagne and his place in Tour de Presteigne history.
After their flying starts and breathtaking pace throughout the first two thirds of the race, Lloyd and Tom would surely have taken the top two places had it not been for a pair of pesky rusty old tacks they picked up on the course.
Lloyd has vowed to fit absolutely puncture proof Specialized Armadillo tyres to next year’s incarnation of Project X. Special congratulations to Emma for finishing first among the female entrants this year.