Stoke-on-Trent, which has hosted a race in each of the three previous editions of the Halfords Tour Series, is to stage the Grand Final of the 2012 edition of the city-centre competition on Thursday 14 June. The circuit in Hanley will also host the fifth and final round of the Johnson Health Tech Grand Prix women’s series.
There will also be a team time trial featuring the ten teams that will later contest the Halfords Tour Series race to mark the centenary of the birth of local cyclist Tommy Godwin, who holds a world record that is unlikely to ever be beaten for the most miles ridden in a year.
In 1939, without the help of outside support and with his daily total verified by public officials such as police officers, Godwin rode an astonishing 75,065 miles, and kept on going until May 1940 by which time he had become the fastest man to rack up 100,000 miles in the saddle.
His ride, in response to a challenge thrown down by the magazine Cycling, resulted in him having to learn how to walk properly again afterwards, yet shortly after finishing he had enlisted in the RAF.
Earlier this month, in an article that recounts his exploits, Godwion's daughter Barbara Ford told the BBC: “Guinness did say that my dad's record would always be safe. They won't accept a challenge because they think it's too dangerous."
Councillor Mark Meredith, Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s cabinet member for economic development, commented: “We are delighted that we as a city are hosting the finals of the Halfords Tour Series and the Johnson Health Tech Womens’ Grand Prix and, of course, the Tommy Godwin Team Time Trial.
“This will be the fourth time we have held the Tour Series here but the first time we have had the final. The crowds always turn out and people of all ages get involved in the day.
“We have an excellent partnership with the Tour Series and I am thrilled that we are remembering one of our most famous sporting sons’ by having the Team Time Trial in the name of Tommy Godwin.
“In an Olympic year it is really good news and a real coup for the city that such a prestigious sporting event is coming to Stoke-on-Trent.
The Tommy Godwin Team Time Trial will take place during the afternoon, and will be followed by the final race of the Johnson Health Tech Grand Prix Series, expanded from four to five races, and won last year by Helen Wyman from Lucy Garner.
Jon Johnston, managing director fitness equipment supplier Johnson Health Tech UK, which is based in Stoke-on-Trent, said: “We are delighted to be continuing our support of this event for a second year, particularly as the final is being held in our home town.
“The feedback following the 2011 Series has been really positive, with several new women’s teams being formed off the back of the Grand Prix, and early signs that the Tour Events are encouraging increased participation in physical activity – one of our industry’s core objectives.
“With an extra round for 2012, we are looking forward to even more thrilling action from the ladies as they battle for the title of Series Winner.”
Tour Series technical director Mick Bennett added: “We are delighted to be able to officially confirm that Stoke-on-Trent will host the Grand Final of this year’s Halfords Tour Series
Stoke-on-Trent City Council have been closely involved in the development of the Series since 2009, so it is fitting that we can bring what will be our biggest ever day of racing to the city this Summer.
“The Halfords Tour Series remains about much more than just elite racing, and with Stoke-on-Trent City Council we are very pleased at the impact and appeal the event continues to have in the city and beyond, and hope that this year’s Grand Final will encourage even more people to get on their bicycles.”
As in previous years, ITV4 will screen highlights of each round the following day. Further information can be found on the Halfords Tour Series website, and the full list of venues for 2012 is now confirmed as:
Round One Tuesday 15th May Kirkcaldy, Fife
Round Two Thursday 17th May Durham, County Durham
Round Three Tuesday 22nd May Oxford, Oxfordshire
Round Four Thursday 24th May Redditch, Worcestershire
Round Five Friday 25th May Aberystwyth, Ceredigion
Round Six Tuesday 29th May Peterborough, Cambridgeshire
Round Seven Thursday 31st May Canary Wharf, London
Round Eight Tuesday 5th June Torquay, Devon
Round Nine Thursday 7th June Colchester, Essex
Round Ten Tuesday 12th June Woking, Surrey
Grand Final / Round Eleven Thursday 14th June Stoke-on-Trent
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.