PREVIEW: 2016 British Indoor Championships

The 2016 season British Indoor Championships take place this weekend, where Coventry stage the finals at the Sports Connexion venue, Leamington Road, Ryton, Coventry (CV8 3FL). The event is set to attract hundreds of visitors to the city.

In a hectic schedule, individual riders and teams will compete in no fewer than fourteen race meetings across the crammed weekend of activity to determined champions in nine different categories.

Competitors will race for individual glory in various age classifications, including at senior, woman and veteran level. The “blue ribband” event, the British Open Final, is at 5.30pm on Sunday evening.

No fewer than twelve teams will battle in the British Senior Team championships. Defending champions Birmingham look set to defend their title. They will be challenged hard by 2016 Elite League outdoor champions Horspath (Oxford), whilst Wednesfield Aces, Sheffield and Bury also feature.

Reigning individual champion, Mark Boaler takes his place in the line up to defend his title. He will have stiff competition from former champions, Ricki Johnson and Ben Scranage, as well as proven Indoor specliaists Lewis Osbourne, Jake Read and Chris Timms, who could all be in the mix amongst others.

2015 British Indoor Open Champion Mark Boaler with runner up Lewis Osbourne (right) and third placed Ricki Johnson (left).

2015 British Indoor Open Champion Mark Boaler with runner up Lewis Osbourne (right) and third placed Ricki Johnson (left).

In the Women’s event, Charlie Jane Herbert returns after taking her debut Indoor title last year. Reigning British and European champion, Lauren Hookway will lead the challenge, while Poole’s in-form hot shot, Macie Schmidt, could be one to watch also.

Although not part of the official programme of events, the staging of the first ever International Open GP, will create additional interest. This event will feature overseas riders racing indoors in the UK for the first time.

Reigning European outdoor champion Lukasz Nowacki, of Poland, and Australian superstar Cody Chadwick, are amongst the 16 top riders in the International Open GP. Starting at 7.30pm on Sunday evening, the event will close proceedings for the weekend.

Local interest will centre on Coventry’s participation in the British Junior Team championships, with the city “skid kids” in action on Sunday afternoon at 2.30pm.

It is the second year running the Coventry club have promoted the event on behalf of British Cycling, the sport’s governing body, and the fourth successive year the event has been staged in Coventry.

The Sports Connexion venue has proved a popular location for the British Indoor finals. Its central position, easy access and optimum racing conditions has proved a winner for riders, officials and spectators alike.

The venue has ample car parking, catering points and superb changing rooms for competitors. Once again, at great expense, the Coventry club have hired-in a “Speedway style” air fence to ensure excellent safety standards and to enhance the presentation of the racing.

The club are appealing for volunteer helpers in de-rigging at close of play on Sunday evening, expected to be at 9pm. After their marathon two-day promotional efforts, the club would be thankful of any assistance in this regard.

Coventry club spokesman, Andy Drewett, said: “We are delighted once again to welcome riders, officials and fans to our city on the occasion of the 2016 British Cycling British Indoor finals. As ever, our club have worked hard on all the arrangements, and we wish everyone a happy and enjoyable time at the finals”.

Entrance to the British Indoor finals on both days, and at all events, is free. However, in order to offset the high promotional costs of the event, the club are asking spectators to kindly consider buying an official commemorative match programme, priced at £3.