The big guns came out to mark the start line of the Tour de Yorkshire when the cyclists raced through Catterick Garrison for the first time.
The peloton of top national and international cyclists pedalled their way from Richmond in North Yorkshire to Piave Lines in Catterick Garrison where the flag dropped to begin the 181 kilometre leg to Scarborough’s North Bay. In true military fashion, the start line was marked by two Scimitar armoured reconnaissance vehicles and the Pipes and Drums of the Royal Dragoon Guards based at Alma Barracks in Catterick Garrison.
Lieutenant Colonel Joe Jordan, Commander of Catterick Garrison, said:
It is very special for the the Tour de Yorkshire to come through the Garrison this year. Every village and town in Yorkshire hopes to have a piece of the action and we were very pleased to secure this for the Garrison.
The Garrison town was bedecked with banners, bunting and blue and yellow bicycles as the riders came down the hill towards Catterick Garrison past the new Princes Gate Shopping Centre to the camp centre roundabout before turning right towards the start line.
This year was the fourth edition of the famous race which wended its way around the county through specially decorated villages. Thousands of people – locals and visitors – lined the route to watch the spectacle as the 20 national and international teams gained speed to cycle out towards the military training area heading for Leyburn.
This is the first time that Catterick Garrison has been on the official route and Sir Gary Verity, founder of the Tour de Yorkshire explained:
We have a close relationship with the military and I am patron of the Yorkshire Regiment Association with the highest regard for all of our military.
The military asked us as we had a start in Richmond, if it was possible to route through the Garrison and it was an easy decision to make that the Garrison was included.
The Consulate of Pakistan was represented in the publicity caravan of thirty vehicles which preceded the cyclists and the Consul General, Mr Ahmed Amjad Ali paused briefly on his journey to greet the Garrison Sergeant Major, WO1 (GSM) Trevor Beck.
The cyclists flew past the Garrison’s three entries in the Tour de Yorkshire Land Art competition from Phoenix House Recovery Centre, local football teams and a community entry at the Leyburn Stadium.
Crowds also enjoyed “The Garrison Gathering” in Coronation Park throughout the day where various events were held including a display of military vehicles and music from the Band of the Royal Armoured Corps.
Looking to the future, Sir Gary Verity said:
I would love the Army to be as involved in the race (Tour de Yorkshire) as they want to be. There are many things that we can do together and I am sure that that would be a great thing to do.
Images by Photographer: Corporal Jonathan Adams (RLC) / MoD Crown Copyright.