Pre-entries are now being accepted for next month’s Dengie Tour of the Marshes. Billed as the “Hell of the East,” the race, which is run under under British Cycling rules, open to Elite and 1st, 2nd and 3rd category licence holders, is held on the windswept Essex marshes north of Burnham-on-Crouch, giving a Flanders-like feel to the event.
This year’s race, which is held on 28 March with a start time of 2pm, is the fourth edition, and organisers have made some tweaks to the course. Those include dispensing with the initial neutralized section, meaning that riders will leave race HQ and set out on eight circuits of the course, with a total distance of 84 miles. Apart from seven miles of standard B road, the race is held on unclassified roads including farm tracks, some of them poorly surfaced, which promises to test man and machine to the limit.
A new website has been unveiled ahead of this year’s event, and two new sponsors have also been brought on board – Rouleur magazine, which featured the Dengie Tour of the Marshes in 2008, and the website, London Cycle Sport.
Rouleur’s editor, Guy Andrews, said: "Rouleur Magazine is supporting the Tour because it is a very well organised and thought out race that is run on roads that create a brutal race that is a wonderful spectacle and provides us with a worthy champion. Moreover we see a future for this kind of racing, the participants have a proper tough day out and on roads that see little traffic, it's safer and a much more practical approach. This is what road racing should be about and certainly makes a beautiful story – the race and the scenery. Fantastic stuff!"
John Mullineaux, editor of LondonCycleSport, added: "LondonCycleSport is proud to be associated with a race fit for heroes, where every finisher has undertaken a race worthy of talk and admiration. Although two sections of rough track may grab the limelight, the race is decided on the narrow private roads swept by strong winds off the North Sea and is a true Essex Flanders."
Race organiser Alan Rosner welcomed the new sponsors, saying: "Rouleur are recognised as being the UK. number 1 cycling photo album. Dengie was featured in the 2008 issue, this is probably the highest accolade a UK domestic race could achieve. In supporting Dengie for 2010 they show their commitment & dedication to all levels of cycle racing."
He added that LondonCycleSport, a longstanding supporter of the event, would be working with him “on plans to move to the next level in 2011.”
Pre-entry is open until 7 March, and all entrants will receive a copy of the current Rouleur journal.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.