Success of Sight Support’s 24hr Cycling Challenge

A team representing local charity Sight Support Derbyshire achieved its best ever results in Huub Track Attaque at Derby Arena, finishing eighth in the demanding track cycling challenge.

The event involved 19 teams cycling around the velodrome track for 24 hours. Known as Team SSD, the charity’s riders were the only team competing on tandems, with both visually impaired and sighted cyclists riding as ‘stokers’ on the back. The trained pilots volunteered their services mainly through Derby Arena’s Paracycling sessions.

It is the third year in a row that Sight Support Derbyshire has entered a tandem team in this kind of 24-hour track challenge. Similar events have been held in other velodromes in the country, but the charity is believed to unique in fielding a team on tandems.

Team SSD’s riders had varying levels of experience, but were all committed to raising money for Sight Support Derbyshire, which specialises in providing face-to-face services to help local blind and partially sighted adults and children face the everyday challenges of living with sight loss. They raised over £2,500.

The team was split into three groups who each spent an eight-hour stint at the velodrome track, taking it in turns to ride. Some participants did more than one shift.

When the bell sounded at the end, Team SSD had completed 3,601 laps of the track, beating their previous best of 3,550 at last year’s Cyclone24 event. This was the equivalent of 900km, close to the distance from Derby to Lyon in France. It was also the first time the team had finished within the top ten, having come 13th for two years previously.

Sight Support Derbyshire’s Fundraising Manager Lynda Raven said: “We compete against some very fast teams and although it isn’t about speed for us, we are absolutely thrilled to have finished in eighth place. Our cyclists were absolutely fantastic, and did us proud, not only in how they did on the day, but in the amount of money they raised for the charity.

We do this event to raise awareness of what visually impaired people can achieve in sport, and the positive reception we get from the other teams always makes it worthwhile. We couldn’t have done the event without the help of Phil Kilpatrick at Derby Arena and all the pilots who volunteered their time.”

The stokers were Sammie Smith, Nigel Anderson, Nadeem Mughal, Indra Slavena, Donna Chadwick, Kimberley Chadwick, Brad Gauntlett, Andrew Slater and Laura Bennett. The pilots were Kevin Wortley, Tim May, Lisa Shuttlewood, Rupert Simms, Steve Summers, Rachel Redford, Alex Cook, David Ward and Joe Tresadern.

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