WOKING Football Club were strongly represented in the recent Downslink Challenge, a demanding off-road cycling test covering the 48 miles between Brighton and Knaphill.

This year, the sixth renewal of the event which follows the old Downs Link railway line, began with Woking captain Josh Casey leaving Knaphill at 6am on Sunday to ride to Brighton, despite having played 90 minutes in a 1-0 defeat by Grimsby the previous day.

Josh, accompanied on his ride by organiser Steve McKeown, was applauded into Brighton by Woking FC director John Katz, team manager Alan Dowson, and former players Lloyd Wye and Scott Steele. 

The group then made the return journey to Knaphill, with some water stops along the way. 

“It was tougher this year because of the mud on the trails and having to negotiate fallen trees,” Steve said.

“It was all good, though, plenty of banter, and speaking as someone who has ridden the course many times in the last six years, we smashed previous ride times in some of the segments, so full credit to guys. 

“We arrived back at the Garibaldi pub in Knaphill at about 5pm to applause from Woking FC staff, the chairman Rosemary Johnson and the local community.

“And it was great to see another previous Woking captain, John Cassidy, come along to show his appreciation for the team. Rosemary then awarded the team their medals.

“Woking Football Club’s ride has raised £1,449 with gift aid so far, pushing our total up to £14,225 with Gift Aid.”

The previous five challenges have raised almost £90,000, with the money raised each year split between Woking & Sam Beare Hospice and a guest charity. This year’s guest is the Little Roo Neonatal Fund at St. Peters’ Hospital, Chertsey.

“I’d really like to thank Woking FC and all the riders who support us so well each year,” Steve added, “and, of course, the Garibaldi in Knaphill for hosting the event for us.” 

* TO donate to Downslink 2021, please visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/downslink2021. For more information on the event, visit www.saddlesore.bike.