Halesowen Athletic and Cycling Club are proud to announce renewed and increased backing from bottled water company Wenlock Spring for their academy, a unique venture which furthers the interests of young riders within the club. The partnership for 2017 covers both sponsorship of the Halesowen A&CC academy, consisting of seven promising young West Midlands cyclists, and the Halesowen A&CC Friday Night track league at the cycling club’s Manor Abbey Stadium. The HA & CC Chair Dave Viner hailed the move as, “a massive statement of faith in what we are doing at our cycling club. The success we have had this year, and renewed backing from our sponsors speaks volumes for the quality of our young rider development programme and in the efforts we make to organise races in our area. "We have a long and proud history of developing talented young cyclists, both male and female, and Wenlock Spring’s support is helping us to further that goal.” Matthew Orme, Director of Wenlock Spring, said: "Halesowen Athletic and Cycling Club are dedicated to helping young people realise their cycling ambitions, and we are delighted to be able to play a small part in that."
Wenlock Spring is a second generation family business which supplies bottled still and sparkling water in glass and PET bottles, and water coolers. British, award winning and ethically conscious - Wenlock Spring water is sourced from an historic spring in the Shropshire countryside which dates back to 1086. The water itself filters naturally through the rock strata of the geologically famous Wenlock Edge, providing it with a unique blend of minerals.
Wenlock Spring’s backing for 2017 comes after a stellar 2016 for the HA&CC Academy, who were also supported by Stoke’s ProVision clothing company and nutrition specialist OTE Sport. In 2016 long-standing Halesowen member Charles Walker won a dozen races, including a dominant ride for overall victory in the five-day Ras de Cymru, Britain’s second-longest stage race after the professional Tour of Britain. Walker also took the points prize and a stage win, while with the backing of team mates Jack Stanton-Warren and Tom Swingler, the Halesowen Academy took the team prize.
Walker’s strong riding came in spite of a serious accident in March in which he was knocked down by a car, putting him out for several weeks. His string of wins was sufficient to earn him a place with the prestigious Catford CC under-23 team, sponsored by the designer Jeff Banks. While Stanton-Warren rode to the overall standings in the season-long West Midlands Road Race League, Walker dominated the region’s other road-race series, the Shrops and South Staffs Cycling Clubs League.
Stanton-Warren, aged 21, continued to make strides in national-level racing in only his third year of serious competition, finishing third in the prestigious North West regional championship, while Nick Clayton, Olli Dighton, Patrick Fotheringham and Isobel Whiteley all crossed the line first as well - second year junior Clayton’s best ride being a stage win in the Newry 3-Day in Northern Ireland - while both Joe Hobbs and Swingler came close to victories as well.
For 2017, the team retains seven riders of this year’s eight, with Walker the only one to depart. “All eight of our riders progressed strongly this year,” said Viner, “and we are delighted to see Charles move upwards to a UK Elite team, as this vindicates what we are trying to do with the academy, which is to support our juniors and under-23s until they are ready to go up a level.”
In addition, riders at the Halesowen Track League, which runs on Friday evenings from May 5 to September 1, will be supplied with bottles of Wenlock Spring water at the start of each night’s racing.
2016 backers ProVision Cycle Clothing and OTE Sports Nutrition also return, along with Mark Warren Coaching and new sponsor BRC.
HALESOWEN A&CC Academy presented by Wenlock Spring: Nick Clayton, Oliver Dighton, Patrick Fotheringham, Jo Hobbs, Jack Stanton-Warren, Tom Swingler, Isobel Whiteley.