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26/06/2018 13:30:50

Words by Arragons

Our Very Own Phil Graham Goes To Race Across Europe

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Our very own Phil Graham is taking his mechanic expertise yet again on location, this time, he’s part of the support crew for the Steve Prescott Foundation Race Across Europe Team.

Phil will be supporting the 8 man race team as they cycle 3000 miles in less than 7 days and hopefully set a new record for Race Across Europe.  His duties will include making sure all the mechanicals are in order as well as prepping resting bikes in between the race shifts.

This latest venture has all come about thanks for The Steve Prescott Foundation, a charity born in the memory of its namesake.  Playing rugby union in the St Helens and Liverpool area in the late 1990's and early 2000, Steve Prescott was a fantastic player for "Saints" and Hull FC, his story is quite remarkable.

Commenting, Phil said “Steve's book "One in a Million" charts his sporting career and battle with cancer, it is both heart breaking and inspirational.  When the logistics team approached me to help out the SPF team on such a extreme challenge, I couldn’t say no.  The SPF also support the Christie Hospital, who treated my Uncle Howard Graham.  Howard also a rugby legend, the Union code, in the Wigton and Buxton area lost his battle with Cancer earlier this year.  So if I can give a little back to the hospital that looked after him, it only seems right that I do.

The RACE (Race across Europe) is a once-in-a-lifetime cycling event featuring the very best of riding in Europe for supported teams and unsupported solos and pairs.  The event requires exceptional teamwork, stamina, energy, strategy and humour to succeed.  Those who finish can proudly say that they competed in what we think is one of the hardest cycling events on earth.  The support crew are critical to the success of the cyclists, gaining just as much by way of a major life achievement as anyone on a bike; it is truly a team event for everyone!”

The RACE 2018 starts in Boulogne sur Mer, tracks north through the French Ardennes and crosses the Rhine into Germany. From here it climbs briefly into the Black Forest and onto a high plain that traverses east across Germany into Austria before heading south into Italy then immediately east into  Slovenia to cross the Vrsic Pass. The route then descends back into Italy and heads due west, crossing the Colle dell’Agnello back into France. We ride through Provence, climb over Mont Ventoux, then head south into the Languedoc Roussillon to cross the eastern Pyrenees into Spain. Spain provides consistently good road cycling all the way to the orange groves of Andalucia and the final rolling roads to Tarifa, with views of the Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea and mountainous north African coastline.

Riders include rugby league legends Steve Hampson, Gareth Ellis, Steve Hall and Cumbrian Ewan Dowes.  Support Crew includes Roy Palmer from Egremont and Team Mechanic Phil Graham from Penrith.

We’ll be posting updates on the progress of the team as the race unfolds – race start is Tuesday 3rd July.

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