Wattisham Flying Station in Suffolk will give the AJ Bell Women’s Tour a spectacular welcome next month, as Stage Six of the world class sporting event races down it’s runway.
On Saturday 9 October, Wattisham Flying Station, the main operating base for the British Army’s Apache attack helicopter, will welcome some of the world’s top female cyclists as they race onto the base mid-stage from Haverhill to Felixstowe.
A pair of Apache helicopters will be stationed on route through the base to mark the arrival of the teams and riders, as families from the air base will line the route to cheer the riders on.
The airbase previously hosted the intermediate Sprint down it’s runway, during the Tour of Britain race in 2015, which saw British rider Alex Dowsett, from Movistar Team, first to cross it’s finish line.
Martin Kinsey, Station Staff Officer at Wattisham Flying Station, said: “Station personnel look forward to welcoming the Women’s Tour as they pass through the Station on Saturday 9 October 2021. Whilst not re-running the intermediate Sprint this year, we anticipate the opportunity of “riding the runway” will offer the riders an albeit short break from the challenges presented racing on the road network. Our Service Personnel and families will be out in force to offer vocal support!”
Stage Six begins Haverhill at 11am, passing through Sudbury, Stowmarket and Wickham Market, before arriving at the finish line in Sea Road, Felixstowe.
The race is expected to arrive at Wattisham Flying Station at approximately 12.52 and exit around 10 minutes later. Full details of the route and timetable for the race can be viewed on the AJ Bell Women’s Tour website.
As an operational military airfield, the general public will not be allowed in to Wattisham but highlights of the race will be broadcast on ITV4 at 8.00pm on Saturday 9 October.
Cllr Andrew Reid, cabinet member for Public Health, at Suffolk County Council, said: “The inclusion of Wattisham Flying Station and runway made for a spectacular race during the Men’s Tour of Britain back in 2015 and we are very excited to see what this year’s race will hold. It should be a fantastic spectacle for the military personnel and their families watching along the runway.
“We’ve seen in its previous visits how The Women’s Tour can engage and inspire communities in ways that no other event can, and after a difficult 18 months for all of us, it’s a welcome celebration for Suffolk. I would encourage Suffolk’s residents to come out and give the Tour a big welcome as it passes through our towns and villages along the route.”