The 2005 edition of Britain's Lincoln International Grand Prix on Sunday May 8 will the race's fiftieth, and to celebrate race organiser Ian Emmerson is arranging for as many as possible of the event's previous winners to attend as VIP guests.
At least seven previous winners are expected to ride this year's edition. Malcolm Elliott, John Charlesworth, Mark Walsham, Kevin Dawson, John Tanner, Chris Newton and Mark Lovatt are all due to line up as part of a 100-strong contingent of elite British riders who will be joined by 40 or so overseas competitors.
The Lincoln International Grand Prix began in 1956 as the Witham Valley Grand Prix and was organised by Mike Jones on behalf of a new cycling club called the Witham Valley Road Racing Club. That club is now part of the Velo Club Lincoln since the amalgamation of the City's clubs in 1968 and a resultant name change to The Lincoln Grand Prix. Club and event names may have changed over the years, but Jones has remained involved and enthusiastic. This year he will be at the finish line for the 50th time when he takes on his judging role at the event.
Forty-one riders have won the 49 editions to date, the most successful being Paul Curran of Stockton on Tees with four wins, in 1986, 1987, 1988 and 1991. Sheffield's Malcolm Elliott won in 1983 and has already confirmed that he will ride in 2005, having finished third in 2003 and 2004. Elliot is now 43 but still competes in all the UK's major events on both road and track.
The race became international in 1999 when Lithuanian Saulius Ruskis (Oktos - MBK) won. Ruskis has gone on to become a substantial professional rider who now rides for the French Agritubel team.
Irishman David O'Loughin was the most recent winner, beating Robin Sharman in 2004. Now riding for the Navigators Insurance team in the US, O'Loughin hopes to return to defend the title.