On 19 August 2017 the streets of Bristol will once host one of the UK’s most exciting and challenging city-centre circuit races: the Bristol Grand Prix.  This year the Bristol Grand Prix is proud to be working with local charity Bowel Cancer West to help them raise the £10,000 needed to fund a ground-breaking study that aims to develop new ways to diagnose and treat bowel cancer in young people across the South West.

Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common form of cancer in the UK, but it’s the second biggest cause of cancer death. While more often associated with older people, it’s becoming more common in younger people, with those under 40 representing 4% of the bowel cancer population.

It may seem a small number, but rates are rising – and getting a diagnosis early is essential. Young patients more often present an advanced stage of the disease, requiring major surgery which can lead to worse treatment outcomes along with a higher chance of the cancer reoccurring. Long term impacts can often include a patient requiring a colostomy bag for the rest of their life which can be devastating for a young person wanting to live an action-packed life.

To raise awareness of the disease and much-needed funds, Bowel Cancer West will be the Bristol Grand Prix charity partner for 2017. Working together, we hope to raise £10,000 that will help fund a new study into new technologies that could change the lives for those with the disease.

Colorectal Surgeon Sebastian Smolarek, representing the Bowel Cancer West Research Committee, explains why the research is needed:

“Recent advances in medical technologies can make a big difference and it’s about recognising what’s out there and making the most of that technology. For example, tests that can help recognise cancer in early stages (such as a breath test), assessing new treatment options through 3D printing or technology to reduce post-operative complication rates and improve post-operative quality of life which is so important for any young person wanting to live a normal life after surgery”.

As part of the partnership, Bowel Cancer West will receive the entry fees and additional donations for those taking part in the Love Your Bike Lap – a chance for mere mortals to ride the course before the racers take centre stage later in the day.

Race Director Phil Adkins describes why the Bristol Grand Prix is working with BCW: “Cancer touches every family at some point and we are proud to be working with Bowel Cancer West to raise awareness and funding for this potentially deadly form of the disease.

“We encourage everyone who wants to ride with us to dig deep and show their support to Bowel Cancer West. The research project could help to change lives and we encourage everyone who comes to the race this year to understand what the charity does, and how they can get involved.”

Bowel Cancer West is a regional charity that funds research, training for health professionals and raising awareness of symptoms and screening for the disease. It’s a small, efficient and effective charity with 84% of its income invested directly into its charitable aims in the past two years.

TV personality Thom Hunt who lives near Bath explains the difference the new research proposed by BCW could make to young people: “As someone who experienced bowel cancer at the age of 27, this is such an important campaign for BCW to be leading on. More and more young people are being diagnosed who need to be made aware not only of the symptoms, but the expert support that’s available if it does happen.

“I think many young people get diagnosed and have no idea what to do. I encourage individuals and local business to club together and get this campaign off the ground so more young people can go on and enjoy an amazing life as I am now doing. The incredible spectacle that is the Bristol Grand Prix is a brilliant way to launch this appeal- as much as anything, I can’t wait to see the centre of town taken over by high-speed racing!”

Now in its third year, the Bristol Grand Prix is a tough city-centre circuit race that’s becoming a fixture on the national calendar, attracting competitors from across the UK to battle it out on the streets. This year’s race will act as the showpiece event as Bristol celebrates its status as the European City of Sport.

Taking place over an undulating city-centre course, the circuit incorporates some classic Bristol landmarks including hosting the start/finish on Park Street, the historic cathedral and an iconic Banksy graffiti. The challenging, 1.3km figure-of-eight circuit is packed full of tight bends, short rises and speedy straights that will test riders and delight spectators.

Organised by cycle collective Le Sportif, the all-day programme will feature races for veterans, youth riders, and racers of all categories – including elite (professional) riders.

Describing this year’s Bristol Grand Prix, Race Director Phil Adkins says: “The Bristol Grand Prix keeps growing, and this year promises to be the biggest and most exciting yet. The course is fast, hard and challenging – it’s everything racers and spectators want from a city centre race. This year we’re working with race teams, sponsors, Bristol City Council and British Cycling to create a race the city can be proud of.”

The event begins at 10:30am with the ‘Love your bike’ ride brought to you by Bowel Cancer West, offering everyone the chance to ride around the circuit at a leisurely pace and finishes at 7:15pm with presentations following the conclusion of the Elite category men’s race.

The event is completely free, with spectators able to choose where to view the action. The unique design offers viewers the chance to see riders twice per lap, with sprint prizes adding to the excitement. As the race builds to its conclusion the excitement will mount as riders and teams push for the win.

For more information on the Bristol Grand Prix, please visit: bristolgrandprix.com. For more information on Bowel Cancer West, visit bowelcancerwest.com.