Thousands turn out for New Haven Grand Prix

(WTNH / Josh Scheinblum)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The sounds of crews moving fences filled in downtown New Haven Friday afternoon. The fences would help keep cars out, and bring bicycles in around the green. Friday marked the first New Haven Grand Prix.

In all, there were three races that organizers describe as NASCAR on bikes.

“You see these guys come screaming around down the corner,” said volunteer Donald Kimball. “If you’ve ever ridden a bike, coming around a corner where there is granite sidewalks and stuff like that, one wrong move and they’re in the hospital.”

Safety of the riders was one reason emergency services officials were out in force, many experienced with bicycle races of this magnitude.

“We basically do bike races full-time throughout the season,” said Internal EMS Coordinator Michael Baril. “I do the two way radio dispatch, so if the race officials radio something that there is a crash, my job is to dispatch the medical people to check out the incident and then report back to me.”

Organizers estimate 15,000 people came out to the Grand Prix and many also hope that this event sparks a new interest in New Haven in bike racing.

“A big bike race like this is great and it can mean only bigger and better things as the race grows over the years I’m very excited,” said Matthew Feiner, who worked in the pit crews.

More than 100 people, many professionals, participated in the races.

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