Manchester Velodrome was the magnificent setting for the Youth Omnium Final this weekend, with over a hundred youth riders their families and supporters able to take advantage of this world class cycling venue.
Organised by Jenny Gretton and the well drilled Manchester squad of officials, the whole event of over 22 races was run like clockwork, with riders rolling onto the track to start as the winners were still taking applause from the previous race.
Emily Haycock (Maindy Flyers) began proceedings with a fine sprint win in the youth B girls 5km scratch race, followed by Stuart Balfour (Edinburgh RC) snatching victory in the youth B boys race. The big guns in the shape of youth A girls looked awesome as they raced around the banked track with Ellie Coster (Bush Healthcare RT) claiming the first of her two wins of the day. Zachery May (Cardiff JIF) won the 10 km youth A boys event. The best performance of his day, May jumped clear with three laps to go and the other riders just looked at each other. Jacob Scott (Planet X) was the first to react but May had gapped them all and although fading towards the line he managed to start his day with a brilliant victory.
It was inevitable that a crash would occur and it came in the youth C points race, Jess Roberts (Towy Riders) had just broken clear of the field when a sliding rider caused mayhem in the bunch. The race was stopped and the walking wounded left the track. On the restart Jess was given her advantage by the officials and managed to keep clear for the final four laps to the line. Fred Wright (VC Londres) was the winner of the race having collected valuable points before the crash.
Chris Lawless (Maxgear RT) is proving to be a very versatile bike rider, and he rode the 10km youth A boys points race perfectly to claim his biggest victory of the day. Riding aggressively but also very cleverly he accrued points without chasing down unnecessary attacks. They youth C 2km scratch race was also a great race to watch, Fred Wright (VC Londres) engaged turbo charge with three laps to go and left the whole field in his wake. The young VC Londres rider didn't glance back keeping his cool and more importantly his winning margin right to the line. Tomos Owens (Mid Shropshire Wheelers) was the overall winner in the youth C category, although equal on race wins with Fred Wright, Tomos proved to be the quicker in the time-trials, securing him overall victory.
Grace Garner (Leics RC), Paige Milward (Lyme RC) and Megan Barker (Maindy Flyers) had a real battle for the top three places in the youth B girls races. With wins in the elimination sprint and time trial races, but a relatively poor performance in the points race, Garner was equal on points with Milward with Barker only one point in arrears. The time trial was the real test and placed all three riders in their final position, Garner winning, Milward and Barker second and third respectively.
The youth B boys was much more straightforward, with Joseph Fry (Welwyn Wheelers) a clear winner. Fry won the devil, points race, second in the sprint and finished with an outstanding time trial to blast away all the opposition.
Ellie Coster (Bush Healthcare) and Emily Kay (Halesowen) battled all the way through the youth A girls races with Coster winning by just one point. With both young women having a poor result in either the elimination and scratch races they were equal until the time trail. Ellie Coster was just fractions of a second faster than Emily Kay, giving her the overall victory.
The youth A boys final result was more evenly matched if you took Chris Lawless (Maxgear RT) out of the equation. But unfortunately for the rest Lawless was on superb form and although he won only one event, he was consistently good in all the others. The Maxgear team rider, racing on his home track, fought off very tough opposition from Jack Hoyle, Adam Lewis and Zachery May to win by a huge margin.
If the boys and girls at Manchester this weekend are representative of the quality of young athletes the sport of cycling is attracting, then we are in for a very bright future. The quality of racing and their dedication, commitment and enthusiasm for the sport is truly inspiring. Just a few years ago the likes of Mark Cavendish, Ben Swift, Ian Stannard and Lizzie Armitstead were all competing in this type of event at Manchester, they are now world class athletes. The next generation is ready and waiting and we saw them in action this weekend.
Youth A Boys
1. Chris Lawless (Maxgear RT)
2. Jack Hoyle (Team Terminator)
3. Adam Lewis (Wolverhampton Wheelers)
4. Zachery May (Cardiff JIF)
5. Tao Geoghegan Hart (CC Hackney)
6. Ollie Wood (Aire Valley Racing Team)
7. Jacob Scott (Planet X)
8. Owen James (Towy Racing CC)
9. Rob Westwood (Cwmcarn Paragon RC)
10. Tom Arnstein (Equipe Velo Ecosse/Montpeliers)
Youth A Girls
1. Ellie Coster (Bush Healthcare CRT)
2. Emily Kay (Halesowen A & CC)
3. Amy Hill (Newport Youth CC)
4. Angela Eggleton (Solihull CC)
5. Emily Nelson (Halesowen A & CC)
6. Danielle Khan (Solihull CC)
7. Imogen Farlie (Team Terminator)
8. Rebecca Hunt (Cardiff Ajax CC)
9. Keira McVitty (Kings Cliffe Flyers CC)
10. Lauren O'Brien (Aire Valley Racing Team)
Youth B Boys
1. Joseph Fry (Welwyn Whls CC)
2. Joel Partington (Eastlands Velo)
3. Stuart Balfour (Edinburgh RC)
4. Jack Plumley (Welwyn Whls CC)
5. Jake Howes (Hillingdon Slipstreamers)
6. James Ireson (Wolverhampton Wheelers)
7. Aidan Woolven (Sutton CC /Der Ver Cycles)
8. Thomas Rotherham (Sport City Velo)
9. Ryan Philips (Wolverhampton Wheelers)
10. Jack Escritt (Wolverhampton Wheelers)
Youth B Girls
1. Grace Garner (Leicestershire Road Club)
2. Paige Milward (Lyme RC)
3. Megan Barker (Maindy Flyers CC)
4. Emily Haycox (Maindy Flyers CC)
5. Eleanor Dickinson (Beacon Wheelers)
6. Victoria Kinrade (Royal London 360 Isle of Man)
7. Abigail Dentus (Palmer Park Velo RT)
8. Lulu Bartlett (Edinburgh RC)
9. Lucy Harper (Welwyn Whls CC)
10. Abby-Mae Parkinson (RST Racing Team - Trigon)
1. Tomos Owens (Mid Shropshire Wheelers)
2. Fred Wright (VC Londres)
3. Thomas Humphrey (Wakefield Junior Tri Club)
4. James Tillett (Newport Velo)
5. Rhys Britton (Newport Youth Velo CC)
6. Jessica Roberts (Towy Riders)
7. Charlotte Cole-Hossain (VC Londres)
8. Harry Yates (Lichfield City CC)
9. Joseph Nally (Carnegie Cyclones)
10. Cameron Thomson (Palmer Park Velo)