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More than 160 local cyclists put their skills to the test in Wareham recently, as the Forestry Commission welcomed ‘Dorset Rough Riders’ to compete in a race through the forest. The off-road cycling club, based in Bournemouth and Poole, partnered with the Forestry Commission and Morden Estates to take local riders off the beaten track and race in a five mile loop through the woods.
Bikers from the Dorset club, sponsored riders and local groups of friends took to the challenge which saw them racing along the forest tracks and open heathland against the clock before crossing the finish line. Cyclists were pushed to the limits as the wide open fire roads merged into single tracks, forcing the racers to overtake quickly to get ahead.
Groups of friends and families also turned out to spectate and enjoy the delights of Wareham Forest as they followed the course to cheer on the competitors.
Philip Jessiman, Chairman of Dorset Rough Riders, said:
“The Wareham Forest Race was a great opportunity for local riders to get together and ride in a competitive and challenging environment. The open heathland and existing tracks in Wareham provided us with a great course and the Forestry Commission was on hand to plan the route and guide us through the forest safely. We also salute Rob Jefferies from British Cycling, who sadly died recently, for his valued support during this year’s event.”
Andrew Norris, the Forestry Commission’s Community Manager in Dorset, added:
“We were delighted to host the race on Forestry Commission land and see local riders witnessing for themselves the range of activities that the forest can offer. Riders, their friends and families had a fun time exploring the woodland and it was great to see them staying for walks and picnics after the race had finished. The event introduced the beauty of the forest to local people that may not have visited before, and we will continue to partner with local organisations to encourage new visitors to take advantage of what’s on their doorstep.”
The Forestry Commission organises a wide range of events annually to enable visitors to enjoy Dorset’s beautiful natural landscape. It works with a variety of partners on a whole host of recreation initiatives to encourage public enjoyment, exercise and healthy living.
Paul Hopkins won the Main Enduro Male race in a time of 02:01:26. Andrew Boyd won the Main Enduro Speed competition in a time of 02:12:34 and Liz Gilmour came first in the Main Enduro Female race with a time of 02:08:50. The ‘Have a Go’ 2 lap races were won by Mark Hebditch (Male), Sue Latham (Female) and Aaron O’Hara (Under 21).
NOTES TO EDITOR
The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible for forestry in Great Britain. It supports woodland owners with grants; tree felling licences, regulation and advice; promotes the benefits of forests and forestry; and advises Government on forestry policy. It manages more than a million hectares (2.5 million acres) of national forest land for public benefits such as sustainable timber production, public recreation, nature conservation, and rural and community development. For more information, visit www.forestry.gov.uk/newforest
Paula Quigley or Hannah Keddie at Grayling PR, tel 02380 382970 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Libby Burke at the Forestry Commission on 02380 286832