Norfolk racer Calvert Churchill wins funding to compete on Belgian cycling scene

19 year-old Calvert Churchill from Barney near Fakenham

19 year-old Calvert Churchill from Barney near Fakenham - Credit: Archant

A young North Norfolk racing cyclist has won funding to help him plunge into the tough Belgian cycling scene.

Calvert Churchill, who lives at Barney, near Fakenham, has obtained support from the Dave Rayner Fund, well-known for offering a leg up to the careers of many English-speaking cyclists trying to make it on the continent, including 2013 Liege-Bastogne-Liege winner Dan Martin.

This time last year Churchill was senior head boy of Reepham High School, and concentrating on A-Levels. He often cycled the 24-mile round trip to school, but was little known on the local racing scene. He had, however, a notable family background – his grandfather Peter had been secretary of the Norwich Amateur BC, and organiser of a pro crit on the streets of Norwich, while his father Brian had been a successful roadman – solo winner, for instance, of the big race at the 1984 Bungay Circuit Races.

Calvert, now 19, had a dream to race in the intense Belgian scene and with exams over (he passed) he rode North Norfolk Whs club 10s and Lotus Cars Cycle Race Series events before, in late July, heading for Flanders. In his first race he was off the back in 4kms. But he came back for more and learnt to hold his own in the bunches, racing twice a week in large fields over 70-120kms and making enough of an impression to be invited to join a traditional Flemish club, the KWC Hiest Zuderkempen, near Antwerp.

Training in the warmer climes of Majorca will be another Norfolk rider who has also been awarded Dave Rayner funding, Tom, 21, of Kenninghall, who previously raced in Belgium in 2012 and 2013 and will be joining the Terra Shoes team.

n A heavy frost and the threat of ice cut back the numbers taking part in the VC Baracchi reliability trial from Oulton Broad but nevertheless eight riders completed the route.

This Sunday the nearest Reliability Trial I am aware of is the Interbike Sportivo at Marks Tey, near Colchester, 74km or 50km, starting 10.30am-10.45am. Details: 01206 213730.

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