Tour of Britain 12 - 19 September

AA Patrols support Britain's premier cycling event

Mark Joselyn (left) and Stewart Topp provided breakdown support for the 2009 Tour of Britain

The Tour of Britain is the UK's biggest professional bicycle race and a centrepiece of the British sporting calendar, attracting over a million spectators to the roadside in 2008, and hundreds of thousands more on television and via the internet.

This year will be the fifth year running that the AA has joined the race convoy to provide breakdown assistance to official vehicles, team and race support vehicles throughout this gruelling 8 day event.

The 2009 race starts on Saturday 12 September in Scunthorpe and ends on the following Saturday in London with 10 laps of a circuit taking in iconic landmarks such as Big Ben, the Tower of London and the London Eye.

The AA team, which will be running just in front of the 'broom' vehicle in the convoy will be Mark Joselyn from Ascot, Berkshire and the current AA Patrol of the year, Stewart Topp.

Stewart, who joined the AA 13 years ago, normally works in the 'hustle and bustle' of central London and holds the honour of being the first ever AA patrol to use an electric patrol vehicle – a Vectrix electric scooter.

Stewart will be providing progress updates via Twitter ( and will also be carrying a GPS tracker throughout the event. Check out Stewart's current location here.

How did it go?

At the beginning of the week Stewart and Mark set themselves the goal of ensuring that every single vehicle that started the 2,000 mile journey would make it to the end.

The AA helped official vehicles, police and volunteer motorcyclists during the week At the end of each stage there would be a queue of people wanting help – from changing a headlight bulb to fabricating brackets for motorcycle side panniers and even making a complete indicator assembly for a motorbike from a plastic water bottle and an orange bulb.

"Overall we had a very busy week with lots of breakdowns", said Stewart. "We attended 70 vehicles, including police motorcycles and those of the National Escort Group – a volunteer group of motorcyclists who assist the police. We also assisted official support vehicles and an articulated lorry but unfortunately didn't get our hands on the helicopter!"

Only two vehicles failed to make it to the end – two motorcycles which collided and were damaged beyond repair.

Stewart and Mark both agreed that the highlight of the week, was driving through the towns and villages under police escort with hundreds of school children cheering at the sight of the AA van as they tooted the horn and flashed the lights.

"It was amazing how much more attention the AA van received in comparison to the other vehicles in the procession. Perhaps it was the big white rubber gloves that we had blown up like balloons and used as hands to wave at everyone!! Whatever the reason, we certainly got a lot of attention.

"All in all, we had a very busy, very enjoyable and very successful week!"

Join the discussion in the AA zone


22 September 2009