The Championships are hosted annually on a rotational annual basis by the Royal Navy Royal Marines Cycling (RN&RMCA), the British Army Cycling Union (ACU), and the Royal Air Force Cycling Association (RAFCA). The host for 2017 is RN&RMCA. The four cycling disciplines in the Championships are: Road Race (RR), Time Trials (TT), Mountain Bike Cross Country (MTB XC) and Mountain Bike Downhill (MTB DH). There will be an assessment in Year two and three as to the feasibility of adding Cyclo-cross.
Cycling is growing in popularity as a highly competitive military sport amongst serving UK Armed Forces personnel, both Regular and Reserves. Working within the MoD, UKAF Cycling has been established as the body to promote a high calibre experience for athletes at the top level of Defence sport.
The sponsorship announcement comes ahead of Armed Forces Day on June 24 and is part of a range of activities that Carillion is undertaking to demonstrate its support for the armed services. This includes a ‘Step-Up’ sponsorship event where Carillion people are challenged to record the distance they walk each day with the aim of achieving 197 miles during the week. This is the equivalent distance between Carillion’s London office and Liverpool, which will host the National Armed Forces Day celebrations this year. Money raised will be donated to the armed forces charity SSAFA.
Richard Lumby, managing director, Carillion Central Government & Defence said: “This marks an exciting development in our relationship with the Armed Forces. Sponsoring UKAF Cycling provides Carillion with an opportunity to build on our strong relationship with Defence. We are committed to helping raise the profile of cycling as a serious Tri-Service competitive sport and to supporting the development of top class athletes amongst serving Armed Forces personnel. We welcome the opportunity to build on Carillion’s support of the Armed Forces, their families and the communities in which we work.”
Colonel Stuart Williams, Chairman of UKAF Cycling said: “We are grateful to Carillion for taking up our invitation to sponsor this exciting new venture to support us in building our cycling excellence to match the other key sports that serving members of the Armed Forces engage in. We believe that working with Carillion as a trusted commercial partner will help us raise the public and community profile of a new Armed Forces sport regulated by the Army Sports Control Board (ASCB). Our long-term ambition is to establish a UK Armed Forces Team that will take part in international competition. We look forward to Carillion being with us on this exciting journey.”
Each Service selects the best riders to compete in the Championships. Riders can compete in more than one discipline such as RR and TT. Riders from across the length and breadth of the Services will be taking part. They can also compete in British Cycling and Cycling TT events at a national level. Training is carried out in personal time but with the growing interest in competitive cycling across the Services, local commanders encourage training in working time where the situation allows.