When Beth Crumpton takes to the start line in Redditch on Tuesday 9th May for the opening round of the 2017 Matrix Fitness Grand Prix Series she’ll have a little more adrenaline pumping through her body than anybody else.

As a local girl that has grown up in the Worcestershire town she’ll be able to take the short, familiar route into the town centre to meet up with her team-mates before doing what she loves in front her friends and family.

It’s an opportunity that Beth is absolutely relishing and with emotions sure to be running high on the day she just can’t wait to get started.
 
“It is a great feeling racing the Tour Series, I’m always excited and nervous at the same time to race it, it’s frantic racing which gets the adrenaline pumping and the atmosphere that comes along with it is unlike any other racing we get in the UK, everyone is excited to watch it and be a part of it.”

That opportunity to race in front of your nearest and dearest is not something that cyclists get to do very often, racing up and down the country and across Europe, so the perks of having a race right on your doorstep will be very much enjoyed.
 
“It’s great to be able to roll out of bed in the morning and know I won’t have a good 2 hour plus journey to drive! 

“It’s great because it gives my family and friends the opportunity to come and watch me race because it is in town and at home for them, it’ll be the one time of the year they get the chance too and it’s amazing for them to come watch me do what I most enjoy and race my bike. 

“The home roads give you a psychological advantage and that extra motivation to give a good performance for the home crowd!”

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Beth is under no illusions though that putting in a strong performance on her home turf will be easier said than done, as a challenging circuit makes it extremely tough going for the whole peloton but is hoping some local knowledge may prove to be the difference.
 
“The Redditch round is one of the toughest, not because of the technicality of the course but because of the section named Unicorn Hill coming up to the finishing straight. It is one of the longer laps of the Tour Series and sprinting up the hill lap after lap is relentless and will definitely be sure to split the racing up. 

“There is one tricky left hand corner off the finishing straight where it narrows dramatically and has seen crashes there in previous years, then going into a very fast decent underneath the bridge into a fast left hand turn on an off camber, if this is wet it can also claim victims of a crash. It’s a great course and always provides a good canvas for great racing!”

That knowledge of the circuit comes from years of riding around the area as a fresh-faced youngster and those are memories that are still remembered very fondly.

“I always used to play on bikes outside the house and to the park when I was a kid, and taking part in Bikeability at school. My first racing memory in Redditch was at the local cyclo-cross event down at Pitcheroak woods, where they still have the same race on yearly now!”

On Tuesday 9th May hundreds of young cyclists in Redditch and Worcestershire will get the chance to watch elite level cycling right on their doorsteps and Beth hopes that she will be able to play her small part in inspiring the next generation of cyclists.
 
“It’s a fantastic feeling that if my story of how I’ve got into cycling from a fun level to competitive and still enjoy it today inspires one person to participate in cycling for fun, as a challenge or wants to race themselves that would be amazing and if it does it would be great to find out if I was a part of their inspiration!”""

For Beth personally though, although things will feel very familiar for her racing in Redditch, 2017 is somewhat of a new challenge. She has joined a new team in Storey Racing who are a brand new domestic women’s team run by Dame Sarah Storey and her husband Barney. They’re a team that are focussed on developing female cyclists and helping them to succeed at an elite level and from Beth’s point of view there’s no better place to learn than under the watchful eye of Great Britain’s most successful female Paralympian. 
   
“Sarah is an incredible athlete and such a motivating person and I’m so honoured to be able to be her team mate this year. She has a wealth of experience as a full time athlete and road cyclist, she is a great mentor for a developing women’s team who we can all learn from.“
 
But whilst it is still a learning curve for Beth and her team they’ll still be targeting a lot of success at this year’s Series so expect to see them at the sharp end of all of our races!
  
“The team are reigning Tour Series Champions so ultimately we want to be able to retain that crown. We will be going for round wins and consistent results throughout the whole team and enjoy the whole Tour Series experience!”