Ipswich IBD Elmy Cycles is organising the 2002 National Cyclo Cross Championships, due to be staged 12-1th January. With good sponsorship, a sold-out Novotel and a city centre location, Steve Grimwood of Elmy Cycles believes the success of this event will demonstrate the potential of cyclo cross as a general interest spectator sport, and one that cyclists of all disciplines can be inspired by

Cyclo-cross can kick-start interest in cycling, believes IBD organiser of national championships

"Instead of remote forest locations and busy roads, cyclo cross uses watchable town centre and parkland courses easily accessible to the public, putting cycling in people’s mind ready for the new selling season," said Grimwood.

"Cyclo cross is therefore an ideal way to put cycle sport and the idea of cycling in front of the public.

"Cross is relevant to road, MTB and BMX riders as well as to triathletes and runners.

Cyclo cross riders ride other types of bikes in the summer.

"Are dealers that tap into this market lining up future sales for the summer season?"

Grimwood thinks so, and that’s why he decided to bust a gut organising the national champs due to take place in and around Ipswich’s Foxhall Stadiim in two weekend’s time.

"Ipswich is bracing itself and making the final preparations for what looks to be the biggest and best ever national Cyclo Cross Championships to date," said Grimwood.

Two elite Belgian-based ‘cross men’ will be racing: defending champion Roger Hammond and his closest challenger Matt Ellis.

Grimwood said this year’s event had seen a major increase in sponsorship, with cash input from the Borough Council and the County Council and money from Ipswich Audi and the East of England’s biggest motorcycle dealership, Orwell Motorcycles.

Another sponsor is Ipswich Novotel which, as the official hotel of the championships, sold out in record time, said Grimwood.

"It’s no surprise to me that people are starting to realise the potential that cyclo cross can offer to UK cycle sport. We can provide exiting watchable racing that combines the speed and tactics of the road with the endurance and skill of the dirt. We also provide this at easily accessible town venues and package the whole race into a dynamic one hour show.”

E-mail: elmy@talk21.com

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