The weather was perfect for the first Criterium Gran Prix to be held in Cobourg. Most races were 40km around the 1.2km course so there were 33 laps. Each race took around an hour so the bicycles were doing an average of 40km/hr so as well as speed and skill in cornering, endurance was also tested. Most races had contestants in several categories – for example, the first race had two categories: Elite (Senior) 4 Men and Master 3 Men (the number indicates skill level with 1 being highest). There were few spectators for the first race but there were more at later ones. I saw only one spill (see photo below) but no injuries. Although residents on Albert were nominally locked in, in an emergency, they could no doubt exit during the gap between races.
The races started on King Street mid-way between Spring and George, then went down Third to Albert, along Albert to Bagot, then back along King. The photo at right shows riders sprinting along King near the start/finish line.
The video below shows a couple of other locations and just how fast and energetic the riders were. Pace cars marked the start and end of the riders – they were not residents joy-riding! Auxiliary police were in evidence ensuring the safety of spectators.
Some residents were concerned that the Farmers’ market would be disrupted but apart from limited access from the West along Albert, it seemed to be operating as usual.
The winners of races were treated to recognition with awards although potential prize money of $1000 was donated to a local charity instead of being split into small amounts for each winner. Councillor Brian Darling represented the Town in making the awards.
Organizers hoped that this event can be called the “First Annual” Criterium race in Cobourg.