The annual Mildenhall Cycling Rally returns this weekend for three days of action between a whole host of riders aiming to be the next big star.
The highlight of the three-day event is expected to be the National 8km Championship on Sunday, with the winner likely to come from VC St Raphael’s Ben Elliot, Martin Smith of the Chesterfield Couriers, Agiskoviner’s John McClelland and Cairngorm’s Charles Fletcher.
Elliot is a former winner of the event when it was held in Mildenhall in 2005 ahead of McClelland, and also finished runner-up back in 2011.
Smith is another regular at the event and took the bronze medal in 2011, while Fletcher is an unknown quantity as he gets set to compete for the first time at Mildenhall, but heads into the weekend in good form as the reigning Scottish 3km and 6km grass-track champion.
Other competitive events at the Rally include the Maidson Cyclo-Cross, which combines the slick sections of the grass with the adjacent woodland to provide an early season test for the experienced riders.
Elsewhere, a duathlon for under-17s is set to take place on Sunday, while West Suffolk Wheelers Triathlon Club will be running the Go-Ride Skilful Riding on Saturday.
On the touring front, Cyclists Touring Club Suffolk will be organising 57km, 100km, 160km, 200km and 300km Audax rides on Saturday, while for those wanting a more relaxing ride will be catered for by Mildenhall Cycling Club, who will offer a range of scenic routes over various distances.
The Rally can boast among its thousands of competitors over the years impressive stars such as Nicole Cook MBE, Ben Swift, Jason Kenny OBE, Steve Burke MBE, Emma and Laura Trott OBE and Victoria Pendleton CBE, who was a member of the Mildenhall club in her earlier years.
Pendleton’s father Max is the organiser of the grass-track events, and is confident the number of entrants will equal the 120 riders who took part over the three days in 2014.
The grass-track competitions form the centrepiece of the Rally with a full list of events starting each day from 12pm, with the junior races taking place on Saturday ahead of the seniors competing on Sunday and Monday.