Around 150 cyclists raise £15,000 for North Devon Hospice

Around 150 cyclists saddled up for this year’s Velociraptor, raising an estimated £15,000 for North Devon Hospice.

Riders took on some of North Devon and Somerset’s most monstrous hills during the third annual sportive distance challenge on September 11.

They set off from the Tarka Tennis Centre in Barnstaple, choosing to follow a 100-mile or 65-mile route; there was also a family-friendly six-mile route for younger riders.

Organiser Andy Unstead said: “This year’s Velociraptor has been our best yet. The riders have shown brilliant commitment and determination over two very testing routes, which showcased the very best that Devon and Somerset has to offer.

Raptor Racing rider Ben Rook on the 100mile route. Picture: Adam HobbsRaptor Racing rider Ben Rook on the 100mile route. Picture: Adam Hobbs

“This challenge is about cyclists of all abilities coming together and making a difference. The camaraderie and spirit shown throughout has been nothing short of brilliant and I am very grateful to each and every one of them.

“This year also saw the introduction of our new family-friendly six mile route which was very well received. Hopefully, some of our very young junior riders will go on to tackle our longer routes in the future.”

One of the youngest in the 100km peleton, 15-year-old Billie-Jo Ford, said: “I found it very challenging but I’m glad I did it.

“Some of the hills were very tough but I managed them all and I’m so happy I made it to the finish. I hope to do more training this year because I would like to be able to do it again in 2017.

“So far I have raised £250 for North Devon Hospice, which I am really pleased with. I would like to thank everyone who organised it and supported me all the way though.”

While the event was not a race, there was a prize for the King and Queen of the Mountains on each of the two routes. Richard Martin, Lisa Binmore, Simon Durrant and Caryn Foster proved themselves to be the best climbers on the 100km and 100 mile routes respectively, each winning a £25 voucher from Carb Cycles.

A competition to win a brand new road bike from Carb Cycles is also running for the person who raises the most individual sponsorship for the hospice. Riders are encouraged to get their sponsorship in before the end of November to qualify.

Organisers also thanked sponsors for their support, including Webbers Estate Agents, which fielded a large team of riders on the day.

Gary Holder, the company’s finance director, said: “Webbers was delighted to have been a sponsor of the Velociraptor, which was again a great success.

“It was a tough test but hopefully the aching limbs will be well worth it if we manage to raise some much needed funds for North Devon Hospice.

“Team Webbers is already planning for 2017 when we hope to have even more riders than the nine who entered this year.