A THRILLING last-lap finish to Colne Grand Prix set the scene for what promises to be an epic stage of the Tour of Britain through Pendle and the Ribble Valley.

Just under 1,500 people packed out the town centre to see part-time Sellafield electrician Andrew Hawdon chase down breakaway leader Tom Scully over the last circuit around the one-way system.


And with more local shops opening up to serve the crowds, the 12th annual outing for the men’s elite cycle race, sponsored by Pendle-based Welcome Cottages, bodes well for the sport’s return to East Lancashire in September.

Councillor Nawaz Ahmed, Mayor of Pendle, who officially started all three of the night’s contests, said: “It has been wonderful, I’m really surprised by the number of people it has brought out.

“It has also been great to see the under-16s’ and under-14s’ races and see our champions of the future.

“Not only does it help to raise the profile of Pendle but it brings in a lot of trade to Colne. I’m really looking forward to the Tour of Britain and what that will bring now.”

One shopkeeper, Ice Dreamz in Market Street, run by Hamid Murad for the past three years, was doing a roaring trade near the start and finish line.

A spokesman for the shop said: “It has been a great night for us and it’s good to see all the people supporting the event.”

Juniors were given their turn in the spotlight, in a new departure for 2015, as Marsden Building Society backed the Future Stars race.

Lucy Naylor, of Cycle Sport Pendle, was the runner-up in the under-14s girls’ category around the course, which has hosted the likes of Sir Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish and Colne’s own Steven Burke since 2004.

Supporters were particularly impressed with the efforts of Harry Hardcastle, of Holmfirth Cycling Club, who won the boys’ under-16s race and then entered the Fort Vale Engineering Sprint for Success intermediate ride, which was won by his clubmate Lee Brown.

Riders from across the north descend on Colne for the annual race, which now has a Lancashire counterpart in the Chorley Grand Prix, which kicked off the elite men’s series this year.