Gran Prix of Beverly Spotlights New Layout, Sponsors 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Paul Boudreau, Race Director,
Goldberg Properties Gran Prix of Beverly, presented by Kelly Automotive Group
978-335-3513
paul@granprixbeverly.com
Web site: www.granprixbeverly.com

WHAT: The Goldberg Properties Gran Prix of Beverly, presented by Kelly Automotive Group 

WHEN: 4-8 p.m., July 26, 2017

WHERE: Downtown Beverly, Massachusetts, on Boston's North Shore 

WHO: Top professional and amateur cyclists from New England, the United States and Canada

WHY: Men's state championship race and women's elite race, featuring top local and national pros, two amateur categories, bike valet, and a free kids' race and parade


BEVERLY, MA (July 6, 2017) – The 9th annual Goldberg Properties Gran Prix of Beverly, presented by Kelly Automotive Group, will once again transform the Garden City's downtown into a mid-summer race track on Wednesday, July 26, jump-starting Homecoming Week with a cast of top-flight cyclists, including a state championship men's field, pedaling at high speeds before standing-room crowds. 

"It's a throwback to the wonderful downtown crits we use to have in New England, which are now mostly gone," said New Hampshire's Timothy Shea, a veteran racer who makes the annual trek to Beverly. "Places like Lowell, Nashua, and Fitchburg. Racing in a downtown setting, where you can draw a local non-cycling audience, support the local businesses, and provide for exciting racing, is just great. Beverly exemplifies this, right? In fact, two of the best races in New England are neighbors – Beverly and Salem."

After serving as the state's criterium championship for women (sanctioned by the sport's national governing body, USA Cycling), the Gran Prix will crown the men's champion this year. The women's championship, which has called Beverly home the past two years, will be held at the Witches Cup in Salem on Wednesday, Aug. 9. 

"For 2017, we continue the recent tradition of sharing the State Championships with our neighbors over the bridge in Salem," said Gran Prix race director Paul Boudreau. "We've found this partnership benefits both races, and the racers enjoy coming to the North Shore for two unique mid-week events."

In cycling, a criterium, or "crit," is a high-speed chess match held on a short-circuit course, featuring competitors constantly maneuvering for position at speeds of up to 35 miles an hour, and closer to 45 mph during the final furious sprint to the finish. Each race lasts just about an hour, and consists of several "races within a race," called primes (pronounced "preems"), ensuring non-stop action for racers and spectators.

This year, the Gran Prix course features a few important changes, necessitated by recent downtown improvements to Cabot Street. "The city added curb bump-outs on the race course's first corner," said Boudreau. "Bump-outs are great for pedestrians as they reduce the distance when crossing the street. They also tend to slow vehicular traffic, both things that are very much needed on Cabot Street."

"Unfortunately for the race, this makes our first corner unusable. The turn is simply too tight to get 75 to 100 riders through safely at speed," he said. "With the new configuration, riders will turn from Cabot Street onto Knowlton Street, then turn right onto Dane Street. On paper, this turn looks pretty tame, but we believe this course will be fast and technical."

In addition to the new course design, the race welcomes two new primary sponsors, Goldberg Properties and Kelly Automotive Group. Goldberg Properties partner Andrew Goldberg said he and his brother Bill stepped up this past spring after learning that the race was struggling financially.

"We felt the Gran Prix was an amazing event for downtown Beverly. It has something for all ages, is great for families and a fantastic way to kick off homecoming," said Andrew Goldberg. "We've been a downtown Beverly company for multiple generations. We have a tremendous partnership with the city and Beverly Main Streets, and anything to promote downtown Beverly and the businesses located there in such a positive way, we're in favor of."

Brian Heney, chief operating officer of the Kelly Automotive Group, said race sponsorship made perfect sense for a company that set down roots in the city more than a half century ago, when Roland Kelly opened his first dealership.

"We enjoy being a part of our local communities," said Heney. "Many of our employees live in the area, and we obviously have some deep-knit ties with Beverly. This partnership is all about supporting the people that support us."

To attract more female participants, race organizers continue to offer equal prize for both the men and women. In all, the Gran Prix features more than 240 racers, with an Amateur Men's race at 4:15 p.m., a Masters 40-plus Men's race at 5:05 p.m., Elite Women's race at 5:55 p.m. and the Men's State Championship race at 6:50 p.m.

Race organizers are again recruiting volunteers, with each volunteer receiving a free T-shirt (visit www.granprixbeverly.com for details), and the Beverly Bike Committee is offering complimentary bike valet services at the First Baptist Church. As in past years, local restaurants and businesses are expected to take advantage of streets being transformed into a race course/walking mall, setting up outdoor cafes for spectators and racers alike. The Gran Prix of Beverly will also continue to offer the popular Kids Race (5:10 p.m.) and Parade (5:45 p.m.). 

For more information, including photographs, please contact Gran Prix race director Paul Boudreau at paul@granprixbeverly.com.

KEYWORDS/TAGS: Gran Prix of Beverly, Beverly Bank, Pro Cycling, Women's State
                                    Championship race, Men's Elite race, Criterium, Beverly, MA,
                                    Kids Race & Parade, Bike race, North Shore, Essex County Velo.