Mildenhall Cycling Club has unveiled details for this year’s Mildenhall Cycling Festival, including a brand-new event as part of the expanding line-up!
The celebration of cycling that is open to everyone, where families and enthusiasts can come together, will take place over its traditional August Bank Holiday weekend (25th-27th August).
Having previously been known as the Mildenhall Cycling Rally based in the Suffolk market town, the new look festival is now located in nearby West Row offering a purpose-built Village Hall & licensed bar with an adjacent camping field. It is just over two miles from the previous site, but Mildenhall can be reached very safely using the tarmacked Wamil Way bridleway.
Chairman of the organisers, Mark Burchett says “After the first full three-day Festival last year, we are now firmly established at our fabulous new venue, with its wonderful facilities set in a peaceful and tranquil rural setting overlooking the Fens!”
Over its 29 years the popular event has attracted up and coming names from the world of cycling including Victoria Pendleton and Laura Kenny – so whether staying on site or a day-visitor you could just be watching a future Olympian or World Champion!
“The Rally was always known throughout the UK’s cycling community as one of the best all-round cycling weekends that appealed to cyclists of all ages and especially families. The move to this picturesque venue that surrounds the West Row Village Hall complex the Festival was very well received by families staying at last year’s event and we hope will appeal to the next generation of cyclists too.“ explained Mr Burchett.
The Mildenhall Cycling Festival retains all the regular and popular features of the Rally as they have become synonymous with ‘Mildenhall’ throughout UK cycling. But as part of the organisers’ efforts to offer something different and to appeal to a wider audience the new event they are introducing is an On and Off-Road Time-Trial.
This will allow competitors on the Saturday to pit their wits against the clock over a mixed 23km course of byways, tarmac and Fenland Droves! This is a unique type of course that only the Fens can offer and is also acting as a test event for time-trialling’s governing body in the UK, Cycling Time-Trials (CTT). This will be the first time an event like this has been held and the Club will be working with CTT to develop the idea.
Bookings are now being taken for the camping and caravan facilities from 4pm on Friday 24th August 2018. To reward the loyalty of those that regularly support the event the prices of pitches are discounted, so if you book before the Spring Bank-Holiday, a Cycle-Camper pitch will be £25 while a Motorised pitch for car and tent or caravan will be £36.
The organisers are very keen to promote the environmentally friendly aspects of cycling and are offering an incentive to those that cycle to the Festival. When they book their cycle camper pitch, they will get a £5 voucher that they can redeem on their arrival, which if they booked at the discounted rate their pitch will cost them just £20 for the whole weekend.
After 28th May, the prices will be £28 for the cycle-campers and £40 for the standard motorised pitch.
Another new feature added for 2018 is that campers, at no extra cost, will now be able to stay until the Tuesday morning, meaning they won’t have to leave early on the Monday to avoid the Bank-Holiday traffic!
The grass-track will continue to form the centrepiece of the Festival, with racing taking place from 2pm on Saturday and Sunday. The Saturday will be dedicated to the under16’s, while Sunday’s programme will be for the Ladies, Juniors and Senior riders, including the final round of the National Endurance League.
Some of the favourites retained include the Cycle Jumble, which will take place Sunday evening in the marquees and the Quiz Night, supported by Sainsbury’s in Mildenhall on the Sunday evening in the Village Hall, with its licensed bar, that will be open every evening of the Festival, and playing real money blackjack is always an option.
On the competitive front there will be the Children’s Duathlon on the Sunday and Mildenhall’s traditional ‘Madison’ Cyclo-Cross on the final day of the Festival. Both will take advantage of the rural setting and will provide an interesting and testing course on the bike.
Providing a backdrop to the grass-track arena will be the two-day Trade Show on the Sunday & Monday. This offers a unique opportunity for the cyclists attending the event who already know the advantages, as well as local people, to see a variety of companies selling a range of cycles, clothing and accessories often at bargain prices, all on their doorstep!
On the touring front, C.T.C. (Cyclists Touring Club) Suffolk will be offering 57, 100, 160, 200 & 300km timed-touring rides on the Saturday, under the auspices of the Audax organisation. For those that want something more relaxing, Mildenhall Cycling Club will have their range of touring leaflets available, offering a variety of scenery over varying distances.
The Club can trace this event back to a one-day grass-track meeting that originally formed part of the Mildenhall Carnival, which began in the 1960’s. Ever since it has been attracting some of the top names in amateur cycling and if you want to watch a potential future International or Olympic cycling Champion there’s no better place than the Festival. Over the years the event can boast among its many thousands of competitors such impressive stars as Nicole Cooke MBE, Ben Swift, Jason Kenny OBE, Steve Burke MBE, Emma Trott and Laura Kenny (nee Trott) CBE and of course Victoria Pendleton CBE, who was a member of the Mildenhall club when she was growing up. It is at grass-tracks like this where these young riders cut their teeth and the skills they learnt have then stood them in good stead on the top international velodromes around the world.
Day entry to the Festival will be by donation but will include free day parking and is an ideal cheap day-out for families, whether you are from a cycling background or not.
There will Children’s Sports every day, with a mega bouncy castle and face painting on the Sunday & Monday.
All the details of everything happening at the Festival can be found at www.mildenhallfestival.bike