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Photo gallery: Dave Rayner Fund twentieth anniversary dinner

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Photographs: Simon Wilkinson

The Dave Rayner Fund celebrated twenty years of supporting the international ambitions of young British racing cyclists on Saturday night at a black tie dinner in Leeds.
David Millar, one of the first riders to receive support from the Fund, topped an impressive roster of cycling talents past and present, including Brian Robinson, Lizzie Armitstead, and Ben Swift – to name only the Yorkshire contingent.
But it was the riders whose futures burn brightly before them who claimed centre stage at the climax of the evening. Talents like Dan McLay, Hannah Barnes and Owain Doull, among those of the DRF’s ‘Class of 2014’, shared their thoughts on the vital work of the fund.
McLay spoke eloquently of the impact it has made on his life while accepting the Lewis Barry Memorial Award, presented each year to the Fund’s outstanding rider, for a second time.
“First of all, it’s really incredible to be awarded this from the parents of Lewis, who in other circumstances would be stood here with us,” McLay said. “That’s something I’m really proud to receive. The support from everybody in the fund and the fund itself has been incredible.”
McLay will make his debut as a professional next season with French outfit, Bretagne-Séché Environnement. He received support from the Fund between 2011 and 2014 during a four-year stint in Belgium, racing to earn a professional contract.
“I wouldn’t be the same bike rider without the support. I don’t know whether I would have made it or not without it. I don’t know if I would have been the same person either without that experience of living in another country for the last four years. It’s had the biggest impact on my life of anything I’ve received so far.”
Some 500 guests filled the New Dock Hall at Leeds’ Royal Armouries Museum to hear those who have devoted their lives to the fund – and some of its best-known beneficiaries – describe its impact.
The fund was set-up to honour the memory of professional cyclist Dave Rayner, whose life ended in tragic circumstances. During a career that flourished in the 1980s, Rayner had been that rarest of talents – a British rider who had succeeded in the European professional ranks. His mother, Barbara Rayner, spoke movingly of her late son, whom she referred to as David. Her short speech was followed by warm applause from the guests.
Host Anthony McCrossan welcomed a series of established and rising talents to the stage throughout the evening, including Orica-GreenEDGE neo pros Adam and Simon Yates. The 22-year-old twins, who have both enjoyed astonishing debut seasons, are emblematic of the work of the fund: Simon was accepted on to British Cycling’s vaunted Academy programme, while Adam relied on support from the Dave Rayner Fund.
This year, Simon rolled out in his home county for the Yorkshire Grand Départ to ride the Tour de France in his first season as a professional, while Adam won the Tour of Turkey before making his Grand Tour debut at the Vuelta a España. Adam told McCrossan that the support of the fund had enabled him to eat in the days before he secured a professional contract.
Ian Stannard, who in March became the first British rider to win the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, was another former beneficiary of the fund to share his gratitude. Other riders, whose passage to the sport’s top tier had come via the Academy, including Stannard’s Team Sky colleague, Ben Swift, the third-placed finisher at this season’s Milan-San Remo, also paid tribute to the fund.
To support the Dave Rayner Fund, visit Dave Rayner Fund

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