Northern Automotive Systems has manufactured almost 2,500 medals for the entrants of this month’s Championship Sportive – the largest-ever quantity in the firm’s 106-year history.
Specialists at the Gilwern-based company spent nearly six weeks creating the accolades ahead of the event on June 28th.
The painstaking task, which began in early May, required nearly 50 kilogrammes of top-grade aluminium and more than two kilometres of ribbon.
A team of six full-time staff and two apprentices are said to have dedicated “countless hours – and many sleepless nights” to their production.
The final batch rolled off the production line at 3pm yesterday afternoon.
In total, the firm has produced 2,489 medals – one for each cyclist on the Gold, Silver and Bronze routes through Monmouthshire.
A spokesman for Northern Automotive Systems (NAS), the title sponsor of the National Road Race Championships, said the medals had a retail value of £4,000.
But Vice President Geoff Hancock said the opportunity to congratulate entrants with a memento of value was worth “every penny”.
“The Championship Sportive is a major event for amateur cyclists from across the UK and from further afield, many of whom will be travelling great distances to take part.
“As such, we felt that each rider should receive something of value – a cherished keepsake to remind them of the race and of the county.”
NAS hit the headlines earlier this month after it was revealed as the Road Race’s title sponsor.
The premium automotive decorative specialist, which employs 462 permanent staff, said passing up the opportunity to be involved in one of the UK’s most prestigious sporting events was “simply unthinkable”.
Production work on the medals, which each weigh-in at 19.7 grams, began “in earnest” the moment the deal with event hosts Monmouthshire County Council was struck.
Liam Davies, 19, an apprentice from Abersychan, who is in his second year, is among those to have worked on the medal’s creation.
He said: “There is no doubt that this has been a challenging exercise for all involved. The sheer number of medals required caused us quite a few sleepless nights!
“But the task has also been a satisfying one, and we are all delighted that our hard work has paid off in time for next week’s race.”
Hancock said NAS has also manufactured commemorative plaques for each of the winners of the professional races.
He said the A3-sized pictures – which feature Abergavenny and the Sugarloaf mountain – were cast from aluminium and weigh-in at 357 grams.
“The plaques are our way of presenting something extraordinary to some extraordinary athletes,” said Hancock.