Evan Oliphant: British Grass Track Champion

Endura’s Evan Oliphant won the 8000m British Grass Track championship at the weekend. A good interview by Ed Hood can be found on Veloresults, with some interesting comments on things other than the grass track too.

Evan had raced a crit in Dumfries on the Friday before the Premier Calendar race, and according to a post on the Richmond Cycling Club website he had had a dope test after the Premier Calendar race on Sunday, which meant lots of water and no food after the race. This then meant a non-stop drive to Richmond, not ideal preparation. Nutrition is alleged to have consisted of kebab, pizza and curry, followed by a night sleeping on the benches in the Richmond Cricket Pavilion. The glamour of pro bike racing eh!

Some intersting info on the history of the track from Richmond Cycling Club website:
Perhaps the most novel of the Richmond Cyclists’ Meet events is the Grass Track Meeting on the town’s cycling track. The grass track on the cricket field in Richmond is one of only three* banked cycling-specific tracks in the country and is arguably the best! Racing on the track dates back to the late 1800s, when local bookies would take bets on the riders, who gave their bikes names – much like horse racing. Richmond’s population would treble in size with spectators coming to witness the spectacle of the racing and the morning carnival parade through the historic marketplace.

*I’d quibble with this: there’s Manchester, Newport, Meadowbank and Dundee, in addition to Richmond, so that makes five. Any more? With London and Glasgow to come for 2012 and 2014 respectively.

image of a grass track meet in the borders by Let's Bike It on flickr