Team Chronomaster - the Lancashire cycling team that has big plans

The team pass through magnificent scenery as they train in the Lancashire countryside around Bolton

The team pass through magnificent scenery as they train in the Lancashire countryside around Bolton - Credit: Archant

Yorkshire may have basked in the glory of staging the first part of the Tour de France but, with more than a touch of irony, Lancashire has had the last laugh.

Blink and you miss the team flashing past

Blink and you miss the team flashing past - Credit: Archant

When Yorkshire Bank decided to film cyclists straining every sinew for their TV advertising campaign, a casting agency contacted clubs asking them to audition. And the winners were an up-and-coming cycling team from Lancashire!

It’s another feather in the racing helmets of Team Chronomaster, whose members are mainly based in Bolton and Bury. The filming was done over a few days and shows the wheels turning, the anguished faces of the cyclists climbing up a hill and the team car helping them along by handing a water bottle and offering encouragement.

It was a light-hearted joke at the time of filming that the Leeds-based bank depended on Lancashire cyclists for the advert, adding to the old local rivalry between the two counties.

One of the more obvious effects of the Tour has been a huge surge in the popularity of cycling with the lanes and towns of Lancashire.

Club members will be getting involved in charity work next season

Club members will be getting involved in charity work next season - Credit: Archant

From a fitness viewpoint, cycling is low impact so your joints are not pounded as they are in some sports. This means it can be taken up by people of almost all ages or condition, as long as you can balance on two wheels.

In addition to the health benefits, it is also a highly social activity. Once in the saddle, you soon begin to meet like-minded people in the area, especially if you join a local cycling club. Most arrange social leisurely weekend rides and for the fitter members, weekend or even mid-week training rides, they have members of a wide ranging ability and age spectrum. In most clubs, there is also a racing element where the club organise road races and time trials.

Team Chronomaster is an amateur racing club with a bright future, whose members compete in road races around Lancashire. They are coming to the end of their first season as an established team and currently ranked 6th in the North West League.

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This is a position that they are looking to improve upon during the coming years with the aim to become the Number One.

Cycling can be tough but it doesnt pound the joints like some sports

Cycling can be tough but it doesnt pound the joints like some sports - Credit: Archant

Their primary sponsor is a Lancashire-based company, Chronomaster Ltd, who retail high quality timepieces. The proprietor, Neil Wood, is also a keen cyclist.

This year has been a case of establishing and building up the team with the view to jump up the rankings for the 2015 season. The team captain is Craig Battersby who has been racing since 1990, so he has a wealth of knowledge and experience that he can pass on to the team. He is a former elite category rider and previously competed at national level. The formation of the team was initially Craig’s concept establishing the team with his cycling buddy, Neil Wood.

Some of their other cycling pals were recruited to the team. Two recently promoted category 2 riders are John Myburgh and Simon Deplitch. They join Stephen Feeney at category 2, who is an experienced and talented cyclist who has been on the race circuit for many years and has an aggressive, attacking cycling. John is a fitness fanatic who is originally from South Africa but settled to the less sunny, but equally beautiful Lancashire. Simon is a former mountain biker with high strength and fitness levels. Both John and Simon have worked exceptionally hard this season in their racing efforts to reach promotion.

John Bamford and Darran Acton, both from Bury, are established category 2 riders looking to reach category 1. John is working hard on his racing in a steady process collecting the points required for promotion. Darran has been out of contention, though, following a crash that left him with a broken collar bone and shoulder. He is, however, back in the saddle.

Fast-paced Karl Owen is the newest member and Kris Zentek is also a well established rider who started cycling to lose weight and become a successful racer in the process.

The youngest team members are Billy Sewart and Ben Aldred, both under 25, combine youth and enthusiasm to provide a perfect balance in the team. Ben is a powerhouse of a sprinter and former BMX rider Billy has envious bike handling skills.

The team are in constant contact with one another through social networking sites and training rides are usually once or twice a week. These are in the evenings after work in summer during the light nights. When the racing season is over, the winter training starts in October which is a fast paced Saturday morning ride. There is also a training camp in Majorca just a few weeks before the season starts. A number of the team also commute to work. While this is not really training in the true sense, it certainly adds to the overall fitness while saving on travelling costs.

The team is looking to expand to recruit more dedicated, talented cyclists to give a greater depth. In addition to road racing, there is also the possibility of expanding their racing activity into time trials. This will give a greater width to Team Chronomaster abilities and strength over more racing disciplines.

For the 2015 season, Team Chronomaster are in discussion with potential co-sponsors Leisure Lakes Bikes, who are chain of cycle shop shops. They are based in Leyland and a deal would mean the team riding bikes manufactured by Specialized. It is hoped they will be joined by Matrix 247, based in Haslingden, as co-sponsors. They are a telecoms company, but the aim here is to become involved in charity events.

Managing director, Stephen Pritchard, is a patron of Bolton Lads’ and Girl’s Club and is continually raising funds for the club to help under-privileged children. The team will also begin to get involved in fund raising events to help bring in much needed cash for the children - as well as exposing them to the benefits of cycling. All in all, the 2015 season looks like being a promising year.

For more information contact Neil Wood on 07747-192526.