The Houston Police Officers Bicycle Patrol will hold a preliminary qualifying session on Saturday, May 13 at Memorial Park to determine the top 60 riders for the 3rd annual Grand Prix Challenge.

Due to the tremendous interest among the officers to compete in the Challenge, the field has expanded for 2000 from 30 officers to 60. Over 120 officers are expected to compete in the qualifying session. Saturday's program is part of the City of Houston's Fun Day in the Park.

Houston Cellular, already a major supporter of the Houston Police Department, is the presenting sponsor of the Challenge. "We are proud to be involved in the sponsorship of the Challenge as it enhances our continuous support of the Houston Police Department and their efforts to support community safety," said Houston Cellular President, Don Kovalevich.

The qualifying session on Saturday, May 13 at Memorial Park will begin at 10:00am. The competitors will run a three-mile time trial. Following the time trial is additional competition including an obstacle course and a miniature bicycle race. All events will be scored to determine the winning police station in the Houston area. There will be 15 stations competing.

During the 3rd annual Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of Houston which will take place September 29, 30 and October 1, the sixty officers, racing their bikes two laps around the 1.53 mile, 10 turn grand prix course, will compete for a cash purse to be donated to the Houston Police Department's Assist the Officer Foundation. The racers are expected to hit speeds of 30 mph as they careen around the course on their two-wheeled racing machines.

HPD's bicycle patrol started in 1990, with 14 officers patrolling the downtown streets. The Houston bike patrol, the nation's largest, has grown to over 400 officers on the street and nearly 700 certified as bike patrol officers.