With the cycling season now having come to an end, SportsByte’s Christabel Howdon-Bancroft spoke to Sunderland Clarion CC press officer Matt France on how the season has been for them and where the club is going in the next year.
How has the club performed this season in terms of race results against other clubs in the area?
We’ve finished the season as the regions second ranked club. This is a strong result as the regions top club has a higher number of active competitive members.
How has the club grown in popularity over the years with the rise in popularity of cycling?
The club has seen a dramatic increase in members, there has always been a strong core but since the ongoing success of British cycling we’ve seen membership increase. The growth started after the Beijing Olympics but really picked up in 2011 and then even more in 2012.
Do you think the recent British success in cycling will encourage more people to start cycling?
I think we’re already seeing this, the success on the road and track has seen participation boom, and one of the reasons is the ease of involvement. The fact that the sport lends itself to transportation also, especially in these economically tight times has also helped the sport thrive.
How long have you been working with Sunderland Clarion CC and what does your job fully entail?
I’ve been a member of the club for the last 5 years, and I’ve acted as club press officer over the last 3 years. My role involves lauding with the local press and running the clubs twitter account.
What has been the best race of the season in your opinion?
The best race for the club in terms of result was the Regional Road Race, where all 3 riders representing the club secured top 20 places with Neil Wallbank finishing 3rd, Craig Stephenson 5th and Michael Sloanes 16th.
The result was great, as was the fact that all three riders showed themselves during the race and highlighted that the strong season they all had was no fluke. Also in the masters race Paul Cottrell finished 8th that day.
Where does the club go from here in terms of preparation for next year?
The club will continue to look to increase membership and participation in the sport, whether this is competitive racing or recreational riding, with the goal of gaining more victories and results.