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BBA awaiting official confirmation for Sinclair Packwood race

Kaden Hopkins celebrates winning the Sinclair Packwood Memorial Race for the second time in three years in 2019 (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

The Bermuda Bicycle Association is moving ahead with plans for the Sinclair Packwood Memorial Cycle Race on May 28, even though there has been no official word from the Government that the event is still on in nine days’ time.

“We’ve heard the Premier say there is going to be a running race and bike race on Bermuda Day, but it hasn’t been communicated to me,” Peter Dunne, the BBA president, said.

For several weeks the popular race has looked doubtful because of restrictions brought on by the spike in Covid-19 cases, with the BBA not even listing it in recent newsletters.

“We’re still planning, it’s not a light switch that you can turn on,” Dunne added.

“I’ve got people organising volunteers, trying to get things set up for race registration and making sure that we have all the safety plans. We’re going ahead with our plan, but someone with a lot of power needs to tell me yes.”

The cycle race has been a fixture of the Bermuda Day events for 30 years when it was called the Heritage Day Race.

Packwood won the race in 1992 and 1993, the first back-to-back champion, and when he passed away in 1998 at the age of 36 after an illness, the decision was made to dedicate the race to his memory. The first Sinclair Packwood Memorial Race took place in 1999, with Greg Hopkins winning.

Kaden Hopkins, son of Greg, is the defending champion after winning the 2019 race from St George’s to Hamilton. He claimed a first title in 2017 at the age of 17

Bermuda Day festivities were cancelled last year because of the pandemic and at times it looked like 2021 would go the same way. Recently Gina Tucker, the president of the Bermuda Half-Marathon Derby committee, confirmed that the 112-year-old race would be back this year, although with a limited field of 450 individual runners and 25 four-man relay teams.

The BBA discussed Bermuda Day last Friday in a meeting with stakeholders that included Tucker and Roger Lee from the Derby race committee, the corporations of Hamilton and St George, police, fire service, the departments of works and engineering, and public transportation, and St John Ambulance. Another meeting is scheduled for Friday.

“I would like correspondence from [the Ministry of] National Security, or whoever is the appropriate person, to say that we can have the event,” Dunne said.

“That part is just the light switch; behind it is a ton of labour, a lot of man hours to put together the resources that are necessary. With the Corporation of Hamilton, those roads need to be closed and closed safely, and with public awareness of that.”

Anticipation is growing as the event draws near, with the cyclists keen to get on the road after a time-trial scheduled for Sunday at Kindley Field Road was called off because of heavy morning rain.

Another time-trial is scheduled for this Sunday, with the postponed event rescheduled for May 30.

“I’m very confident we’ll have an event with a good turnout, as well as a youth event on a short course,” Dunne said. “People are very excited about it. Races are going to be coming fast and furious.”

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Published May 19, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated May 19, 2021 at 7:24 am)

BBA awaiting official confirmation for Sinclair Packwood race

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