2014 NEWS

24 February 2014

Read the race preview at VeloUK

2012 NEWS

5 February 2012

The Soens is a sell-out!

More than 220 riders will line up for Merseyside’s early season classic at Aintree Racecourse on Saturday 3rd March 2012.

The 50 mile race, run on a handicap basis, always attracts a huge entry, but with nearly a month to go all places are already taken and it is the biggest field in the recent history of the event.

Race organiser Carl Lawrenson commented “It’s a phenominal entry this year, with more than 90% of riders using the new British Cycling online system to sign up for the race. It is unprecedented for us to close entries two weeks before the cut off date, and the number of riders entered means that there will be no entry on the day this year. It will be an incredible sight to see so many riders on the start line!”

As ever the race will feature riders from all across the UK, with most of the top teams represented. The new look Rapha Condor Sharp and Node 4 squads will take on a strengthened Endura Racing while Team Raleigh have also shuffled their line up to mount a new challenge in 2012.

Local teams feature too, with Revolution Series winners Champion System/Maxgear taking on Mountivation, Team BGlobal and Team Wallis. Meanwhile from Yorkshire, Aire Valley RT and Sportscover Altura are sure to figure in the action.

Contested over 30 laps alongside Aintree’s world famous Grand National course, it is the 51st edition of the race which was created by Kirkby Cycling Club, and is now promoted by Merseyside Cycling Development Group.

Leading Liverpool solicitors Silverbeck Rymer are once again the event’s title sponsor and Impsport will provide the winners yellow jersey. Further support comes from Aintree Golf Centre and British Cycling.

The race gets underway at 9.30am and access for spectators is free.

Further details of the event, including the full start list, can be found on the website at Also keep in touch with the latest news on our Facebook page at and by following us on Twitter @SoensRace

2011 NEWS

13 February 2011


Saturday 5th March 2011 is a day of celebration for The Soens as it marks the fiftieth edition of the early season classic which takes place at the world famous Aintree Racecourse Circuit.

Amongst the massive field of riders who will line up for the start will be Swedish professional Magnus Backstedt, a stage winner in the Tour de France and winner of the 2004 Paris-Roubaix. He leads the new Team UK Youth squad which is backed by Nigel Mansell Motorsport and features Mansell’s son Greg – an appropriate association for a race that takes place on a motor racing circuit!

There is a substantial entry from the new look Team Raleigh which features riders from Canada, USA and the Netherlands alongside their British teammates. Also well represented will be 100% Me, the British Cycling development squad which includes Welshman Sam Harrison who recently secured a gold medal at the Beijing Track World Cup. The team is managed by the experienced Keith Lambert, himself a former professional champion.

In its prestigious history The Soens has seen many top riders taste victory in the grueling 50 mile challenge. Most wins are held jointly by Doug Dailey – a founding member of Kirkby Cycling Club, and Tony Gibb both of whom have crossed the line first on four occasions. The first junior to win was Steve Cummings in 1999, now an Olympic champion and professional with Team Sky.

It will be a double celebration for the event as it also marks the fifteenth year of sponsorship from leading Liverpool law firm Silverbeck Rymer. Support also comes from Impsport and Aintree Racecourse Company.

Created by Kirkby Cycling Club and now organised by Merseyside Cycling Development Group, the race honours not only Eddie Soens but also Kirkby CC’s founder Ken Matthews with a special half distance sprint in his memory.

The race gets underway at 9.30am and covers 30 laps of the 1.6 mile circuit. Pre-entries close on Friday 25th February and can be made by post or online via the event website Riders who miss the closing date can still enter on the day at the race headquarters, Kirkby Leisure Centre.

2009 NEWS

26 February 2009


With entrants from across the UK, the 48th edition of the Eddie Soens Memorial Cycle Race takes place at Aintree Racecourse on Saturday 7th March 2009. The classic season opening event which was created by Kirkby Cycling Club, is promoted in 2009 by Merseyside Cycling Development Group. It will honour not only Eddie Soens but also Kirkby CC’s founder and president Ken Matthews with a special half distance sprint in his memory.

Contested over 30 laps alongside Aintree’s world famous Grand National course, the race has again attracted many of the UK’s top teams and riders. Defending his 2007 Soens win (the fourth in his career) and with strong team support will be Plowman Craven-Madison’s Tony Gibb. A strong challenge is sure to come from the Halfords BikeHut team which features another former Soens winner and the current National Road Race Champion Rob Hayles.

Locally managed KUK-Kinesis will field their new look squad, whilst Team Wallis CHH’s young riders make one of their first competitive outings on the road. An unprecedented number of entries from female riders includes the 100% Me elite women’s team. Recognising the increased number of youth riders who can apply for special dispensation to compete in the race, the organisers have introduced an additional category prize especially for the best placed finisher in the under 16 age group.

Leading Liverpool solicitors Silverbeck Rymer sponsor the event for the twelfth consecutive year, and marking their commitment to the sport of cycling will donate £150 to the Dave Rayner Fund for every accepted cyclist claim received.

The race gets underway at 9.30am and covers a distance of 50 miles. Whilst pre-entries close on Friday 27th February it is still possible to enter on the day at the race headquarters, Kirkby Leisure Centre.


19 January 2009

No stamp required!  On-line Entry now available for ‘The Soens’

Competitors for the 2009 edition of The Eddie Soens Memorial Cycle Race, which takes place at Aintree Racecourse on Saturday 7th March, can now enter from the comfort of their armchair!

A new on-line entry system has been introduced on the event website at which makes registering for the race really easy.

All that is required is to complete the simple on-screen entry form and authorise payment via the secure payment system – most major credit and debit cards are accepted. Entries cost £12.00 and all relevant race information will be sent by email.

Those who prefer more traditional methods can of course still enter by post - the closing date is Friday 27th February 2009, or in person on the day of the race (although this costs extra).

‘The Soens’ is a classic event on the UK cycling calendar and attracts top riders and teams from across the UK. Covering 50 miles around the Club Circuit at the world famous Aintree Racecourse it was created by Kirkby Cycling Club and in 2009 is promoted by The Merseyside Cycling Development Group.

2008 NEWS

16th December 2008


It’s the end of an era for Merseyside cycling with the announcement today that Kirkby Cycling Club will be disbanded at the end of the year. However promotion of the Eddie Soens Memorial Cycle Race, the traditional opening event of the Merseyside cycling calendar, will continue.

The Kirkby Cycling Club had it’s heyday in the 1970’s and early 1980’s, producing many top riders who went on to national and international success. But in recent years membership of the club has declined, and it suffered a double blow with the demolition of it’s home at Kirkby Sports Centre, shortly followed by the death of the club’s President and driving force, Ken Matthews.

Club member Carl Lawrenson commented ‘It is sad to lose any cycling club, particularly one with the proud history of the Kirkby. Unfortunately membership had declined to point where it was impractical for it to continue, a reality that even Ken had begun to recognise. Our priority was to ensure that the Eddie Soens Memorial Cycle Race – regarded as a classic event in the British racing calendar – would continue, and I am pleased to announce that the event will now be promoted by Merseyside Cycling Development Group (MCDG) and I shall be continuing as organiser for 2009.’

The race will take place on Saturday 7th March 2009 at Aintree Racecourse, and entries are open now with full details on the event website at

22nd February 2008

Top teams line up for the Eddie Soens Memorial

The top teams in British cycling will line up for the 47th edition of the Eddie Soens Memorial Cycle Race at Aintree Racecourse on Saturday 1st March 2008.

The race, widely acknowledged as one of the UK’s classic events, is contested over 30 laps of the ‘club circuit’ at Aintree - once a venue for grand prix motor racing. And it’s certain to be a speedy dash for the line as over 150 riders battle for the big win.

Both Rapha-Recycling and Plowman Craven will field their full squad of riders, and both include former winners of the event. Three time victor Tony Gibb will again wear the pink and blue colours of Plowman Craven, whilst track and road ace Chris Newton is listed in the Rapha-Condor line-up. So too is Kristian House - a past winner of the prestigious British Cycling Premier Calendar series - making a welcome return to UK racing following a season spent in the USA.

Team Halfords Bikehut and Rapha IFS are both well represented on the start list, and contribute to the largest entry of female riders seen for many years. The Soens celebrated a female winner in 1991 when Julie Hill, representing Liverpool Mercury, crossed the line ahead of all the men!

Marking eleven years of continuous sponsorship, prestigious Liverpool law firm Silverbeck Rymer are again the title sponsors. Specialising exclusively in the claimant insurance sector, and partnering with a number of the UK’s leading brokers and insurers, their unrivalled level of customer service is available to all cyclists and accident claimants.

Following closure of the Kirkby Sports Centre and it’s famous cycling track, the race headquarters moves to the new Kirkby Leisure Centre located a short distance away. Signing on opens at 7.30am and entries will be taken on the day for anyone who misses the pre-entry deadline.

Admission to the Aintree circuit is free for spectators, and with Eurosport’s Mike Smith providing the commentary, the race will be flagged away at 9.30am for the start of 50 miles of non-stop action.


Kirkby Sports Centre, for many years the race headquarters for the Eddie Soens Memorial Cycle Race, closed it's doors for the final time in September 2007. With it went the Kirkby Cycling Track - one of all too few outdoor hard tracks in the UK, venue for many open track meetings and the home of Kirkby Track League.

By early February 2008, the sports centre had been reduced to a pile of rubble (see picture on left below), however a new Leisure Centre has now opened just a short distance away from the original site (see picture on right below) and it is confirmed that this will be the headquarters for the 2008 Eddie Soens.

The address for the new headquarters is:

Kirkby Leisure Centre, Cherryfield Drive, Westvale, Kirkby, Merseyside L32 8SA.  Tel: 0151 443 4404

GPS co-ordinates: 53° 28' 45.4" N   2° 53' 02.6" W

Google map

It is located off Junction 6 of the M57 motorway and is approximately 1 mile from the site of the former Kirkby Sports Centre.


2007 NEWS

27th February 2007


In a special promotion, Red Bull will be providing free supplies of energy drinks for riders in the Eddie Soens Memorial Cycle Race, which takes place at Aintree Racecourse on Saturday 3rd March 2007.

Red Bull, available in regular and sugarfree versions, is used by athletes worldwide to aid performance by vitalizing the body and mind. It helps improve mental focus, concentration and reaction speed – all valuable attributes for the huge field of riders who will tackle 30 laps of the world famous Aintree Club Circuit.

With entries from the full Plowman Craven and teams - including former winners Tony Gibb and Chris Newton - the event sees the biggest group of elite riders for many years taking the start. Run on a handicap basis, the race provides opportunities for all categories of rider and as always has attracted entries from throughout the UK.

The 46th edition of this classic race – the traditional season opener on the Merseyside cycling calendar - will also be a very special one for the events main sponsor, Silverbeck Rymer Solicitors.

It will mark the tenth year that the Liverpool solicitors have supported the event and to celebrate the occasion there will be a unique ‘Silverbeck Rymer 10th Anniversary Trophy’ which will be presented to the rider who turns in the most meritorious performance on the day.

Promoted by Kirkby Cycling Club, the race offers plenty of opportunity for spectators to enjoy the race and entry to the course is free. Eurosport commentator Mike Smith will be there to describe the action which gets underway at 9.30am.

For competitors who have not pre-entered, entries on the line are accepted at the race headquarters at Kirkby Sports Centre.

2006 NEWS

4th March 2006


Significant snowfall in the early hours of Saturday morning regrettably led to the cancellation of the 2006 race.

Obviously it is impossible to run a bike race under such conditions, and although the sun soon began to shine it had made no difference to the snow cover even by mid morning.

Due to availability of the the circuit at Aintree, and other event commitments by the organiser and race officials, sadly the event will not be rescheduled for this year.

Hopefully we will now be safe for another 45 years, and look forward to welcoming everyone back to Aintree in March 2007 for the 45th (part 2) edition of the race.

22nd February 2006


Famous sports clothing brand Le Coq Sportif are to mark the launch of their new range of cycling apparel by sponsoring the points competition at the 45th Eddie Soens Memorial Cycle Race at Aintree Racecourse on Saturday 4th March 2006.

The company - whose rich heritage includes supplying leaders jersey’s for the Tour de France - will have a strong presence at the event, including representatives of their UK & Ireland distributors, Hedgehog Sports and a fully branded Mini Cooper car.

With entries already topping 100, the 2006 edition of Kirkby CC’s classic race looks set to be a hotly contested affair, and a fitting milestone for Silverbeck Rymer Solicitors who celebrate 10 successive years as the event’s major sponsor. The race is also supported by Impsport and The Aintree Race Course Company.

Three times winner Tony Gibb returns with a strong PCA team (including former Milk Race winner Malcolm Elliott) in a bid for win number four. Robin Sharman and Ben Elliott represent the new look squad who dominated last year’s Soens, whilst former GB international Matt Stephens will also be looking to make his mark. Former winners Julian Ramsbottom and Matt Bottrill also take the start.

The Club Circuit at Aintree offers plenty of opportunity for spectators to enjoy the race and entry is free. BBC television commentator Hugh Porter will be there to describe the action - fresh from his role at the Winter Olympic’s in Torino, Italy.

14th February 2006


The 45th edition of the Eddie Soens Memorial Cycle Race on Saturday 4th March 2006 will be a very special one for the events main sponsor, Silverbeck Rymer Solicitors.

The classic race, promoted by Kirkby Cycling Club and contested on the famous Club Circuit at Aintree Racecourse, will mark the tenth continuous year that the Liverpool solicitors have supported the event.

To mark the occasion there will be a unique ‘Silverbeck Rymer 10th Anniversary Trophy’ which will be presented to the rider who turns in the most meritorious performance on the day.

Speaking from their new headquarters overlooking the River Mersey, Silverbeck Rymer’s senior partner Jim Rymer said that his firm were delighted to continue their long association with such a high profile event, and praised the standard of organisation and the sheer determination of all the competitors who take part. Along with other members of his staff, Jim was looking forward to enjoying a close-up view of the action from a seat in the official Guest Car.

The traditional season opener for Merseyside cycling - and widely regarded as one of the classic events on the British Cycling calendar - this year’s race will offer an extra incentive for competitors. Following a review of the national competition structure, British Cycling have decided that ‘handicap’ events such as the Eddie Soens will now offer license points for the first ten riders to cross the finish line.

This, coupled with an enhanced prize list and the chance to take home the special anniversary award, means that entries are already flooding in for the race. However those who miss the closing date of 24th February will still have a chance to enter ‘on the line’ on the day of the race.

1st March 2006

Saturday’s 45th Eddie Soens Memorial Cycle Race will see the introduction of the very latest in Progressive Race Analysis Technology Systems (PRATS). Such devices are more commonly referred to as ‘Lap Boards’.

In what leading historians believe is only the second time in the race’s long and illustrious history, an all new state of the art device will replace the previous version which was devised by KJ Matthews World Press Productions as a cunning initiation test for new club members.

The outgoing system comprised numerous enormous sheets of highly flexible and absorbent hardboard - each significantly taller even than the event’s Chief Commissaire. Their unpredictable handling characteristics in the hurricane strength winds and horizontal sleet so common at Aintree presented a significant challenge to even the most skilled operator.

Many tried but few succeeded. The only escape from this fate was to train as an aerospace engineer and leave the area or - in the most desperate recorded case - the individual concerned had to become the event organiser.

In recent years it has become necessary to import specially skilled operatives from overseas (the Wirral) in order to cope with the demands of the role.

Now all this is set to change with the roll-out of PRATS. Utilising the very latest hi-tech developments in wood, screws and paint, the device was developed after several minutes of careful design and testing in our development garage laboratory. Operated by two human interface devices (H.A.N.D.S.), and incorporating a highly effective retention device (S.T.R.I.N.G.), extensive wind tunnel testing has proved that PRATS is marginally less likely to blow away than the system it replaces. 

 PRATS in the final stages of testing

 Sadly all technical specifications for PRATS were destroyed in a freak waste bin fire.