Wiltshire Publications

Westbury Wheelers get ready to rumble!

This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 4th, 2017 at 8:13 am.

TWENTY-five members of the Westbury Wheelers made the 140-mile round trip to Gloucestershire Airport on Friday 23rd June, to take part in the Eastgate Runway Rumble.

The Runway Rumble is an annual event at the International Airport near Gloucester, a 2.3 mile circuit around the taxi ways and main runway. The idea is to complete as many laps as possible between the hours of 8pm until midnight, with prizes for individuals and teams.

Sean Price explained, “We arrived at 7pm to register for the event and the airport was still in full flow.  The wind appeared to be picking up but that did not worry the 25 excited club members who made up 4 teams (2 female and 2 male).  The last aircraft in before the airport shut was a helicopter bound for Glastonbury Festival who had to refuel.  After that we were allowed on to the runway apron to warm up.  8pm arrived and we were set off.

“It soon became apparent that the wind was strong and the airport was exposed as you might expect. Eventually the wind picked up to 33 mph and on part of the 2.3 mile loop, conditions were very difficult to impossible, reducing speeds to 10 mph when faced with a block head wind.  The main runway was the best section as it provided a tail wind and although slightly uphill, it was by far the fastest section.

“Using a chaingang formation, where the riders take it in turn to ride on the front, was the most effective way to maintain higher average speeds.

“Two hours in to the event and some people were retiring due to fatigue, illness or cramp and darkness fell on the airport to leave an amazing array of red and white lights circling the loop.  Due to the number of participants and lack of light it was impossible to tell how well Westbury Wheelers were doing, so that meant everyone just had to ride as hard as they could and hope they could achieve their individual and team goals.

“At midnight we all climbed off our bikes with moans and groans form the effort of the previous four hours, four hours riding at 100% “tougher than running a marathon”, Fiona Price muttered; “Never again”, Warren Wade exclaimed.

Soon after the finish as timing chips were being removed, Graeme Lewis, race director announced the winners:  Winning Female, Westbury Wheelers’ Laura Rayner and Winning Female team: Westbury Wheelers Wild Women, Laura Rayner, Diane Hier, Fiona Price, Jay Sims, Grace Shephard, Anne Clark and Katerina Svecova.  The wild women took the victory for the second year running although many of the personnel were different to 2016.  The moans and groans soon turned into cheers.  Laura Rayner covered 76 miles in just 4 hours, her husband Jerry Rayner was our top male to score and he covered over 80 miles.”