Norwich cycle race Gas Hill Gasp to be bigger and better for this year’s Lord Mayor’s Celebrations

Aiming for the top. Cyclists competing against one another to make the climb up Norwich's Gas Hill i

Aiming for the top. Cyclists competing against one another to make the climb up Norwich's Gas Hill in the Gas Hill Gasp. Photo: Steve Adams

The successful return of the Gas Hill Gasp will move up a gear this summer after sponsorship was secured for the Norwich uphill cycling challenge.

Two years ago the cycle race was re-launched as part of the annual Lord Mayor's Celebrations, around 20 years since the last Gasp was held.

The race sees cyclists battle a 20pc incline for around 200m up Gas Hill, off Bishops Bridge Road, and can lead to the cyclists who reach the final having to complete the climb up to four times.

This year the Gasp will be held on Friday, July 5, as part of the Lord Mayor's Celebrations between Thursday, July 4 and Sunday, July 7, with the traditional Lord Mayor's procession from 5pm on the Saturday.

Its organisers are hoping the Gasp will be bigger and better this year as well, after securing sponsorship from Alan Boswell & Company, the financial planning division of Norwich-based insurance brokers Alan Boswell Group.


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Event organiser, Ken Joliffe, said: 'We're over the moon to have secured significant sponsorship from Alan Boswell & Company to ensure the Gasp continues.

'The event has quickly gained popularity in the local community and attracted thousands of spectators in 2012. Our original aim, to bring cycling to the public, can be achieved once again.'

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The Gasp was established in the 1950s as a successful time-trial cycling race but faded away in the 1980s. It was then revived by the Lotus Cars Cycle Race League with help from Norwich City Council in 2011.

Over 70 cyclists will take part in the knockout competition with four riders in each race and entrants split across five categories - Stars, Recent Converts, Ladies Race, Future Stars and The Big C Hopefuls Race - with cash prizes for the winning riders.

The Big C Hopefuls Race is new for 2013 and will see four Alan Boswell Group staff compete while raising money for staff charity Big C.

John Whitehead, managing director of Alan Boswell & Company, added: 'The 'Wiggo effect' has led to an increased appreciation of cycling and we were really keen to get involved with a local event synonymous with the sport. The Gasp is perfect.

'Our Norwich office is just 10 minutes away from Gas Hill and a few of our staff will be spending quite a few lunchtimes practicing on the 20pc gradient in readiness for our fundraising race for the Big C.'

The race will start at 7.30pm, with the city council closing Gas Hill between 7pm and 9pm.

- Competitors can enter via www.britishcycling.org.uk/events by Friday, June 15. For more information go to www.lotuscycleracing.org

- To see photo galleries from last year's Gasp and previous years, see the links at the top-right of this page.

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