As day turned to dusk in downtown West Chester, focus was directed to the Start/Finish Line of the Iron Hill Twilight Race Series adjacent to the title sponsor Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant. Spectators lined the fences and enjoyed dining outdoors at the local restaurants just a few feet away from racers traveling at speeds upwards of 35 mph. First up was the Rothman Institute Amateur Men’s Criterium, fueling the spectators and cycling enthusiasts in the crowd. Riders raced through the streets of historic downtown West Chester on a 0.6-mile course over 8 city blocks, featuring four 90 degree turns and one short rise. Speed, adrenaline, random crashes and a visit by Jordan Hicks of the Philadelphia Eagles provided a thrilling start to the evening.
Competition continued with two more races, both being the 2016 TUFMED USA CRITS Championship Series Finals. Brumbaugh Wealth Management Pro Women’s Criterium and Iron Hill Pro Men’s Criterium attracted more riders than ever and provided some of the best racing West Chester has ever seen. Women and men cyclists raced for equal prize money for the first time in the history of our Iron Hill Twilight event, all thanks to our new sponsor, Brumbaugh Wealth Management Group. Pro women and men cyclists from around the country and beyond battled for a cut of the $23,000 total prize purse.
The Iron Hill Twilight Race Series was a full day of family activities, in addition to the amateur and pro racing events. There was entertainment throughout the center of West Chester for all ages. The Kid’s Zone provided frozen treats, an inflatable obstacle course and giant tower slide plus more, all free to the public. The Benchmark Community Festival, sponsored by the Benchmark Federal Credit Union, offered attendees the chance to interact with event sponsors and some of the region’s most engaging companies many of which are Chamber member businesses, including health and fitness offerings, home improvement vendors and service providers, tantalizing foods and treats, non-profit agencies, faith-based organizations and more. The Market Street Block Party hosted a sidewalk chalk area, face painting, great food and live music.
Racing competition began earlier in the day with the West Chester Dental Arts Kid’s Race, offering children between the ages of 3 and 10 the opportunity to join the excitement riding their two-wheelers, tricycles and Big Wheels on the same course as the pros. Spectators and family members cheered as they passed by, usually with a Dad or Mom running alongside trying to keep up. One motivated racer, who incurred some minor scrapes after a spill, commanded the most support from the crowd who roared with encouragement as he passed by the main stage and finished the race strong.
The Tolsdorf Twilight Trike Challenge pushed the level of competitive intensity up a notch. Twelve teams participated in the 5-person relay race on adult-sized tricycles. The competition was heated. The defending champs, Dave’s Automotive Repair Enterprises (D.A.R.E.), was defeated just prior to the final round. Ultimately, the trophy went to Kelly’s Sports as the 2016 champion. A portion of the proceeds benefited The Fame Fire Company No. 3, one of three 100% volunteer fire companies that make up the West Chester Fire Department. Many activities and much fun occurred throughout the day before the twilight racing events began.
One of West Chester’s biggest community events was an enormous success. Sincere thanks goes to our volunteers, without whom this event couldn’t happen. Special appreciation goes to the sponsors, partner organizations and businesses, the variety of services and departments of the borough of West Chester and the local law enforcement.
The Iron Hill Twilight Race Series – It’s not just a bike race,. . . it’s a day of family fun. See you next year!