Velo South - West Sussex residents given second chance to take part

The full details of the route for the Vélo South 100-mile closed-road sportive have been released.

Thursday, 17th May 2018, 11:47 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 8:30 am
Sally Gunnell OBE, who is riding for lead charity Age UK West Sussex

To celebrate this milestone, organisers are giving West Sussex residents a second chance to ride the first-ever Vélo South by offering them a guaranteed General Entry place.

The first-ever Vélo South sold out of all its General Entry places in just four days and it is expected to raise millions for local and national charities.

Rugby legend Martin Johnson

The additional General Entries that have been ring-fenced for local residents will provide them with a second chance to enter the first ever Vélo South.

To purchase one of these General Entries, West Sussex residents must email [email protected] with a proof of address.

Taking place on Sunday September 23, 2018, the first-ever Vélo South will take 15,000 riders of all abilities on an unforgettable journey through the stunning West Sussex countryside, passing through Chichester and Horsham District Councils and also featuring the magnificent rolling hills of the South Downs National Park.

The route will showcase historic West Sussex towns and villages along with some of the most dramatic countryside views in England.

Highlights include the iconic Goodwood Motor Circuit, from where Vélo South cyclists will start and finish, plus Duncton Hill, with its views across the Sussex Weald, and villages such as Ashington, Wiston and Partridge Green.

The Wey & Arun Canal, considered ‘London’s lost route to the sea’, will be another highlight, along with the panoramic hill-top views of Harting Down and the feeling of cycling through Provence as participants pass the spectacular Lordington Lavender.

With around 1,700m of climbing, Vélo South is relatively challenging, but the beauty of the route, support from local communities and camaraderie with fellow riders will make for a truly unforgettable day of closed-road riding.

The Vélo South ‘Community Celebration Programme’ has been set up to provide support and advice to local businesses, residents and community groups who want to host events and initiatives that will help their community make the most of event day and spread the celebratory atmosphere throughout the region.

This programme will also help fund the most creative, inclusive and celebratory ideas which will not only add to the atmosphere of the day, but help inspire the county to hop on the saddle and generally lead a healthier and more active lifestyle.

Ideas might range from cycling-themed pub garden barbecues, a bike decoration competition or a cake sale to raise funds for community programmes.

The programme is open to all ideas however big or small but they must be held concurrent to the event on Sunday September 23. More details of the Community Celebration Programme, including details on how to submit an idea for funding, can be found on the Vélo South website.

In addition to the extra release of General Entries, prospective participants can also secure a place on the start line through one of the event’s Lead Charity Partners – Alzheimer’s Society, Age UK, Restart Rugby and the British Heart Foundation – or via the Vélo South Business 100 challenge, which offers VIP networking opportunities and a training event.

A detailed information letter will be distributed to all homes and businesses on the route over the next few weeks, enabling residents to learn more about road closures, alongside details of how to contact the event organisers should they need to find out more and want to get involved.

The event website is packed full of useful information for businesses and residents which will enable them to make the most of the day.

Spectators lining the route hoping to see some famous faces ride past won’t be disappointed as among the 15,000 cyclists taking on the inaugural Vélo South will be World Cup-winning England Rugby legend Martin Johnson CBE, Olympic rowing champion Mark Hunter MBE and Olympic 400m champion and proud local girl Sally Gunnell OBE, who is riding for lead charity Age UK West Sussex.

Whilst the celebrity faces will bring a sprinkling of stardust to the day, the real heroes are the thousands of riders who are fundraising for charities and riding in memory of friends and loved ones.

One such rider is Emsworth father Dave Acres, taking part in Vélo South to raise funds for research into Pulmonary Hypertension (PH), the rare disease that took the life of his 22-year-old son Will just three months ago.

Company director Dave, aged 54, who regularly cycles in the South Downs, is raising funds for PHA UK, the only UK charity dedicated to research into the illness that causes high blood pressure in the blood vessels connecting the heart and lungs.

“I am doing the Vélo South in memory of Will and I am honoured to be riding with a team of incredible friends who have supported our family throughout and hope to be able to raise some money to help other people with PH and to help research further to try and find a cure for this rare condition.”

Louise Goldsmith, Leader of West Sussex County Council and County Councillor for Chichester West Division, said: “We are excited to be welcoming 15,000 cyclists from across the country and beyond to our wonderful county. West Sussex is a place of culture, heritage and beautiful countryside – the perfect setting to enjoy a day of closed road riding.

“I am sure those taking part will be awe-struck by the breath-taking route through rolling countryside dotted with picturesque villages, panoramic views and iconic climbs. We are also delighted that many of the riders will be raising money for important charitable causes. The event is good for the county too, providing an important boost to the local economy. Many of our residents will be lining the roads on the day to cheer the riders on.”

Horsham District Council Cabinet Member for the Local Economy, Cllr Gordon Lindsay, said: “We are delighted that this major cycling event is now at a phase when the route has been finalised and local residents and businesses can plan how and where they are going to take part in the event. It is set to be a real spectacle for Horsham District and will provide an excellent opportunity to showcase our unique district at its best.”

Councillor Eileen Lintill, Cabinet Member for Community Services at Chichester District Council, said: “We’re looking forward to welcoming this exciting event to our district. The event promises to be one of the UK’s biggest cycling events and is an excellent opportunity to showcase our stunning area, encourage cycling, bring communities together and embrace a new and exciting event. With 15,000 participants taking part in the event, we also hope that it will bring significant economic benefits to the businesses within our district and promote the health and fitness benefits that cycling can offer. If any resident has concerns about their local area and travel plans on the day, Velo South has a dedicated team to respond to and help with these enquiries.”

Alister Linton-Crook, Cycling Officer for the South Downs National Park, said: “We’re looking forward to seeing local people getting involved with Vélo South; whether they’re on the start line, volunteering, welcoming visitors to their cafés and B&Bs, or just cheering everyone on through the National Park. We’re sure that many South Downs businesses will benefit from the day itself and when cyclists return to explore the National Park further.”

Jon Ridgeon, Executive Chairman of event organisers CSM Active, said: “This route has been a long time in planning and we are delighted to be able to unveil it. We believe it shows off the very best of West Sussex and we are confident participants are going to be blown away with how spectacular the route is.

“Vélo South is a huge event for the region and we are calling on residents, businesses and community groups to get involved, showcase West Sussex at its very best and make the most of what promises to be a truly unforgettable celebration of cycling. I would like to take this opportunity to thank West Sussex County Council, Chichester & Horsham District Councils and the South Downs National Park for being so supportive of the event. We’re looking forward to hosting a truly unforgettable event for the region!”

For more information about Vélo South, please visit: