The scene has been set for the Smithfield Nocturne, which takes place on 23rd June. On Tuesday 19th June the event was officially launched at Smithfield Market with Sean the Butcher, Alex the Commuter, Scott the Courier and Jimmy the Pro Rider all lining up to sample the course.
Event highlights include races for commuters and couriers in addition to a media race and elite criterium. They are:
Dahon Folding Bike Race
In true commuter spirit, winner takes all – there’s no second chance when it comes to catching your train … Expect fierce competition, barging and even a little cheating as our commuters race to prove their skills. Competitors, dressed in jackets and ties, will wait 10m away from their folded bikes. At the drop of the Union flag the competitors will have to run to their steeds, build them as fast as they can and set off on a 5 lap dash. The winner will receive a Dahon MuSL folding bike worth £800 and will be intitled to wear the unofficial crown of fastest folding bike racer in London.
London Messenger Race
As any courier company will know, the fastest rider is not necessarily the best messenger. When Rapha decided to run a messenger race as part of the Smithfield Nocturne event, the idea of having a pack of couriers racing as a bunch was quickly shelved; it’s simply not the best way to find out who’s the best messenger. For that, riders need to display the perfect balance of speed, quick thinking and route planning and show a willingness to change plans ‘on the hoof’.
The courier event is designed to test all of these qualities, and, rather than being an individual event, will be run on a team format to conclude, once and for all or for this year at least, who has the best messengers. Quite simply, the company team that wins the event will have absolute bragging rights: they will have the best messengers in all of London town! The race will be fast, chaotic and very visual. With plenty of cheating expected, severe penalties have been devised.
‘All Star’ Race
The all star race is quickly turning into a highly competitive clash of the journalists as riders from the BBC, Guardian, Independent, IPC and Procycling line up to race it out to see who is the Criterium King of the media world.
The main event will be a fast and very technical elite criterium where the top British cyclists will take on ProTour stars on the challenging circuit around the historic Smithfield Market in the heart of the capital. Yellow jersey contender David Millar will make a special appearance with British riders such as triple Olympic medallist Rob Hayles and Dean Downing hot favourites to win the race.
Rapha Condor team captain Dean Downing believes his team may provide the winner. The course is short and will ride fast, he said. “At the back of the circuit, the tight corners will be problematic … I’ll get there early and recce the course and plan my lines carefully.”
With a strong field, including Pro Tour Rider Matt Goss, Dean knows he’s going to have to race well. “I’ve raced with Matt when I was in Australia so I know how good he is. Rob Hayles will be good too but if Matt’s on form I think he’ll be the guy to beat.” At a race where most riders won’t know the course, local knowledge could prove vital. Dean went on to discuss London rider Warrick Spence; “Warrick is a very good crit rider and is used to the London roads; he corners like a sports car and might be the dark horse of the field.”
With teams from across the UK competing, Dean is hoping to build on Rapha Condor’s form from Hilllingdon. “We’re a good team and although the guys don’t ride crits often, we’re 2nd British team at the moment so we’re doing well. We all had a good ride at Hillingdon and that bodes well for Smithfield – this time we should win!”
Full rider lists are available online at www.smithfieldnocturne.com
Date: 23rd June 2007
Times: 5pm to 10pm
Location: Smithfield Market, EC1
Tube: Farringdon or Barbican
Entry: Free to public, hospitality tickets available