A stunning piece of land art put together by a group of North Devon farmers during the Ovo Energy Tour of Britain has won a national competition.
The huge bicycle, complete with moving wheels, pedals and a chain, took first place in the first ever National Land Art competition for the tour.
The work of art stretched over 45 metres alongside the route, comprising 19 tractors, 16 all-terrain vehicles, a 13-tonne excavator and a slurry tank wrapped in plastic.
The South Molton artwork was the brainchild of farmer and contractor Alun Sing, his wife Amanda and NFU South Molton chairman Adam Westaway, who put it together with support from local farmers, South Molton Vintage Rally Club, agricultural dealerships and the YFC.
Alun said: “I can’t believe we have won this, there was stiff competition from the other amazing 2018 Tour of Britain art forms.
“Without the fantastic support and help from my farming friends, family and customers and the initial idea from the NFU - it would not have happened.”
Volunteer drivers drove around in circles for an hour-and-a-half as the second stage of the tour, which went from Cranbrook to Barnstaple, unfolded.
The work has also helped raise hundreds of pounds for Devon Air Ambulance Trust.
“The creativity and response to our first National Land Art competition has been quite something,” said race director Mick Bennett, who presented the South Molton farmers with their trophy today (Thursday).
“Everyone who has seen the South Molton artwork was impressed not just by the scale, but also the complexity and co-ordination of the movements. I have seen many bicycles created for races, but never before one that moves in so many ways and clearly took a lot of planning and organisation.
“We hope that seeing what can be achieved inspires even more communities to take up the challenge next September.”
Speaking to the Gazette after the presentation, Mr Bennett said running the race through South Molton Pannier Market - the first time it had gone through a building - had come about purely by chance. He had been driving the route, saw the building, asked to go inside and decided on the spot the race should pass through there.
He said Devon had been ‘the best stage of the whole race’, adding: “The lifeguards [who ran alongside racers up Challacombe Hill wearing just red swimming trunks], the market and the land art - Devon set the bar for everybody else to follow.”
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council’s cabinet member for highways management, said: “The town of South Molton really took the event to heart and their efforts are justly rewarded by winning this fantastic competition. The number of people who took part and the creativity needed to produce such a great piece of land art was hugely impressive.”