Yet another remarkable comeback is scheduled for the British UCI 1.2 Archer International GP on April 3 as Phil Cassidy, the winner in 1988, will be part of an Ireland Select team of six riders. Even more surprisingly is that he is likely to be competing against his son Mark, who will be riding for the rival DFL team in this 50th Anniversary of the classic race in the Chiltern hills, in the Gt Missenden-Amersham area.
Three years ago, the Archer International GP race organisers caused some controversy in the sport by accepting the entry of Malcolm Elliott, then 41, and now 43, the same age as Cassidy. Entry into the 100 rider field is much sought after. Unlike Elliot, who had not raced for a number of years, Cassidy has, however, been racing consistently in Ireland and is in good form.
The organisers and Elliott were proved right when he came fourth and he has since gone on to become the top road rider in the UK by winning the Premier Series last year, in which the Archer event is a counting event as well as being in the UCI's European Continental Tour.
All the Irish are full Ireland internationals and Paul Griffin and Dave McCann, competing for the Giant Asia Team, rode the recent Tour de Langkawi in Malaysia. They have since gone to a series of races in Taiwan. The other three are Philip Finegan, Stephen O'Sullivan, and Eugene Moriarty.
The Ireland Select team will be managed by Cycling Ireland's chief executive, Stuart Hallam, showing his enthusiasm as it will be in a private capacity, who will also have mixed loyalties as his son Ben Hallam is likely to be riding for the DFL team, similar to young Cassidy. The senior Hallam knows the route well as on a number of occasions he has been part of the 12-man motor-cycle escort group for the race.