A group of around 14 riders tried out the 2008 version of the Highclere Castle sportive last week. The new route brings this scenic ride, which takes place on Sunday 8 June, up to the full 200km and stiffens the challenge of both the opening leg with a short, sharp shock known as the 'Scorpion Sting' and the middle section with an ascent of the savage Harting Hill.

Virtually the entire ride is ridden on country lanes, with a revised route over the last 20km keeping riders guessing when the agony will end right to the last couple of kilometres. Entry is available online at www.cyclegb.co.uk now.

2008 event details include:

200km
  • Scorpion Sting double combination climb at Inkpen Beacon
  • South Downs section extended to include Harting Hill
  • New section that reduces the distance to get around Winchester and link into the South Downs.
  • Net effect is to increase distance from 188km to 200km and increase climbing to genuine 3000m
  • 196km on open country lanes and only 4km (Winchester downhill bi-pass) on urban roads

    Overall event
  • Three ride distances to choose from: 200km, 120km and 70km Individual and Team challenges

  • First Inter Services sportive challenge over 200km and 120km distances for Armed Forces and Emergency Services i.e. Army Navy RAF and Police Fire Ambulance Services .
  • New 70km event distance for aspiring community / leisure riders
  • Three courses all inter-linked at controls / water stations around the routes
    Key Support partners
  • Fire Fighters Charity
  • Owens Cycles - Main control at Steep
  • North Hants Road Club - Rider Support at main Sparsholt Control and marshals
  • Wiltshire Air Cadet corp - welcome back support to riders at the finish
    Highclere Castle location
  • Ample car parking adjacent to Village HQ, Start and Finish
  • 4miles riding on the private estate roads at departure and run in to finish For any points of reference please go to the website www.cyclegb.co.uk where the details are comprehensive.