Rebecca Gardiner and Rory Gravelle claimed Youth A wins as the first round of the National Youth Circuit Series kicked off over the weekend at Pembrey 2-Day, held at Pembrey Country Park, Llanelli, while William Coles and Grace Upshall were victorious in the Youth B categories.
The weekend consisted of tight, neck-to-neck racing on every lap, with riders tackling a multi-stage weekend over the time trial, short criterium, sprint and full criterium, banking points to claim their overall positions.
Youth A Girls
Erin Boothman (East Kilbride Road Club) started the weekend in good form, taking the win in the prologue time trial with a time of 02:32.17, followed by Carys Blowers (JRC-INTERFLON Race Team) just one second behind, while Rebecca Gardiner (Lee Valley Youth Cycling Club) came in third.
An exciting pace was kept for stage two as Gardiner pipped Anna Lloyd (VC Londres) to the win, and Abigail Miller (Clifton CC) finished just behind.
Day two opened with the sprint stage, which saw a respectable battle between Gardiner and Lloyd for the win. Gardiner banked the top sprint points, maintaining her position in first place overall. Lloyd followed in second and Evie Smith (Shibden Cycling Club) in third.
In the final stage, a sudden downpour saw riders having to power through to complete the race. Miller put in a strong performance taking the win in stage four, followed by Phoebe Taylor (ESV Manchester) and Smith in third.
Overall, Gardiner took first in the Youth A Girls category, followed by Lloyd in second, and, after her strong performance in the full criterium, Miller rounded off the podium in third.
Youth A Boys
Rory Gravelle (Velo Myrddin CC) took a dominating win in the stage one time trial with a time of 02:14.82, ahead of Henry Hobbs (Welwyn Wheelers CC) and Luca Bednarek (Kirklees Cycling Academy), with just 0.03 seconds separating second and third place.
Stage two was a close, competitive race with Max Hinds (Evolution Racing Academy) taking first place, followed by Harrison Dainty (Cystic Fibrosis Race) in second and Seth Jackson (Acrog-Tormans) in third. By the end of day one, Hinds held the top step of the podium by just 0.05 seconds.
Gravelle powered through in the sprint race, claiming top sprint points, to take the win. Hobbs followed in second, and Matthew Kent (Beeston Cycling Club) in third.
Going into the final stage, Gravelle put in a strong performance in the criterium and continued to collect those all-important sprint bonus points, as well as the victory. Hinds took second and Kent followed in third.
Overall, Gravelle showed his dominance, winning three out of four stages to take the overall win. Despite a 17th place finish in the sprint stage, Dainty had done enough to secure second place, and Seth Jackson (Acrog-Tormans) took home third overall after consistent performances.
Youth B Girls
The Youth B girls’ category was dominated by three strong riders, interchanging podium positions throughout the different stages.
On Saturday, Katie Robertson (Clifton CC) took the win in the prologue time trial with a powerful time of 02:38.99, just over two seconds ahead of Melanie Rowe (Deeside Thistle CC) in second and Tilly Hofert (Clifton CC) in third.
In the short criterium, Robertson continued her lead, taking the win and claiming first position overall after the first two stages. Grace Upshall (Poole Wheelers CC) took second, and banked some all-important sprint bonus points, meaning she now stood in third place overall at the end of the first day. Rowe followed in third and stood in second place overall going into day two.
The sprint race saw Upshall take the win this time, with Rowe in second and Eloise Ward (Lee Valley Youth Cycling Club) in third.
Going into the weekend's final race, just 0.04 seconds separated the top three riders. Once again, Upshall claimed victory, banking top sprint bonus points for a second time. Hofert came in second, with Ward following in third.
After a close battle, Upshall took the top podium overall, with Rowe taking second and Robertson claiming third.
Youth B Boys
The Youth B boys’ category was a competitive group, with the opening time trial seeing first and second place separated by 0.05 seconds. Deian Roberts (Rhyl Cycling Club) took first place with a time of 02:30.63, with Finlay Storrie (Maindy Flyers CC) in second and teammate Daniel Davies in third.
In the short criterium, Freddie Winkley (ESV Manchester) took first place, William Coles (Evolution Racing Academy) in second and Finlay Burns (Maindy Flyers CC) in third.
Winkley sat in first position going into day two by just 0.01 seconds, with Coles and Storrie neck-and-neck in second and third.
Coles came back to day two refreshed and ready for the competition, taking first place in the sprint race and banking the top sprint bonus points. Another strong performance from the Maindy Flyers Team saw Davies take second and Burns in third.
Going into the final race stage of the weekend, the final push for riders to claim their overall positions took place. Storrie took the win in the full criterium, with Coles following closely in second and Winkley taking third.
After an exciting weekend of racing, it all came down to the final points, with Coles having secured first place, narrowly followed by Storrie in second and Winkley in third.
The second round will see the youth riders head to Scotland over 8-9 April for another multi-stage event at Spokes 2-Day.