This evening will see the annual Dave Rayner Fund Dinner take place in Leeds. The fund has been going since 1996 and is named after the young British cyclist who died tragically at the age of 27.
Rayner came to the fore in the late 80s on the UK scene where he performed particularly well in The Milk Race. He won the U-22 competition a record three times, in addition to finishing in the top-10 overall. He would also win the Kelloggs criterium in Dublin in 1990 amongst other wins in various city centre races. These along with other results brought him to the attention of Jan Raas.
He joined Raas’ Buckler team for the 1991 season and he stayed with the Dutch team for two seasons. Arguably his best result was third in a stage of the Dauphiné Libéré behind Wilfried Nelissen and Jean-Claude Colotti. However, this was not enough for the Yorkshire man to be retained by Raas. In 1993, he signed for the I.M.E. Healthshare team in the US, before returning to the UK in 1994 the following season to join the Lex-Townsend team.
Rayner returned to winning ways taking victory in a number of criteriums as well as the Manx Trophy. Tragically though, at the end of the season, Rayner died after an altercation with a bouncer outside a nightclub. Two years later, a charity was set up in his name with the aim of helping young cyclists to make the breakthrough in cycling.
Since its inception, the fund has raised over £600,000 to help young riders to pursue a professional cycling career. Amongst the first to receive a grant was David Millar, and others since include Charly Wegelius, Ian Stannard, Ben Swift and more recently, Adam Yates.
However, it’s not just British riders who have been helped with funding. Numerous Irish riders have also benefitted from the fund. Amongst these are Dan Martin, Matt Brammeier, David O’Loughlin, Paidi O’Brien, Philip Lavery, Ronan McLaughlin and Tim Cassidy. The most recent recipients of funding have been Conor Dunne, Eoin McCarthy and Jack Wilson.
Both David Millar and Adam Yates will be in attendance at the fundraising dinner for the fund which continues to grow from strength to strength.