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Rapha and the Lincoln GP

Saving Britain's most prestigious race.

21 February 2020

The Lincoln Grand Prix has been running continuously since 1956 – longer than any other race in the UK. Held each year in early May, it is the one that every British racer dreams of winning. And yet, its future was cast into doubt earlier this spring after the sudden withdrawal of a key sponsor.

When Rapha entered professional racing for the first time, the Lincoln was the race we dreamed of winning too. In 2007, we began our journey in the professional sport as title sponsor of one of the UK’s top domestic race teams, Rapha-Condor.

For the next two years, Rapha will be the title sponsor of the Lincoln Grand Prix, but our sponsorship is just the start. Working closely with the race organiser, we will look to find ways of securing the race’s financial future for years to come. We’ll attract new teams, explore alternative revenue streams, and on race day in May, we’ll be on the ground with a packed schedule of rides and events, plus limited edition Lincoln products, the proceeds from which will go back to the race.

Ultimately, we aim to make our local race self-sustaining and less reliant on sponsors like us, learning lessons along the way that could apply to any race, anywhere in the world. Most importantly, we invite you to be a part of it when the 65th edition of the Lincoln Grand Prix takes place on Sunday, 10th of May. Stay tuned for more information soon.

MORE THAN A RACE

We are not the only ones for whom the Lincoln Grand Prix conjures happy memories. Recently, we caught up with three Lincoln GP winners to see what the race means to them.

“The Lincoln GP has so much history in the UK, over 60 years of history, so for Rapha to be sponsoring the event for the next two years is fantastic news. The course has everything that the continental Classics have: flatlands where the race is lined out, the famous cobbled climb of Michaelgate and crowds that are always some of the largest in the country.”

“It’s a local race for me as I only live around forty miles away in Rotherham. I went to watch the race as a kid and then did the junior event back in 1993 when I was part of the GB track squad. That was an amazing experience with the cobbled climb each lap and massive crowds. It was also one of the last races my grandfather watched before he passed away in 1995.”

“Fast forward to 2005 and my brother Russ and I raced to 1-2 finish and stood on the podium together in front of all our family and friends. Then came 2007 when I was racing with the Rapha Condor team. I’d had a few wins in the early season UK Premier Calendar races but the Lincoln was the big one. The cobbled climb was packed with shouts of ‘Deano’ and ‘Russ’ and the weather was terrible, but thinking of my grandad the final time up the climb made me push hard to the line. That’s when the emotions took over. To win the Lincoln GP in front of my family and friends was an amazing experience.”

– Dean Downing, 2007 champion

“I have amazing memories of racing the Lincoln GP. I finished on the podium at my first national championships there and went on to win the Lincoln GP itself twice. It is such an iconic race with amazing crowds racing up Michaelgate. It would’ve been such a shame to lose, so I’m glad it will still go ahead.”

– Alice Barnes, 2016 and 2017 champion

“The Lincoln GP is the Flanders of the British calendar, the one race that carries the history and prestige that makes every rider on the start line hungry to win. I was lucky enough to race it in 2013 and again at the Nationals in 2015 and the atmosphere on the Michaelgate climb is always electric. It has a real Continental, European kind of feel to it compared to some of the other British races.”

– Pete Kennaugh, 2015 British champion

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