Location: Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, Glasgow
Event: 18 & 19 May 2013
Report: Paddy Hill/ BUCS
Last weekend, Britain’s most talented student track cyclists travelled to Glasgow to compete in the venue named after an athlete they all dream of emulating, in a competition that Sir Chris Hoy had himself broken records and won gold medals; the BUCS Track Cycling Championships.
University teams travelled from far and wide to race on the track that promised quick times, and having driven 10 hours to attend, Southampton University were certainly hoping it was faster than their journey. It did not disappoint…
Saturday afternoon started with the men’s flying 200m time trial. It was a fierce competition, 22 riders battled it out, with only the fastest 18 qualifying to the sprint. Jonathon Mitchell (Glasgow) powered home in first place, smashing the BUCS record with a time of 11:02, to ensure that he was number one seed in the men’s sprint first round.
A strong field lined up in the women’s 200m time trial and they had big shoes to fill, with the current event record holder being Olympic gold medal winner, Victoria Pendleton, previously of Northumbria University, who set a best of 12:06. As the Women’s racing begun, Eleanor Richardson came through with a time of 12:43, to secure number one seeding, and stamp her authority on the sprinters, who included last year’s winner, Corrine Hall (St Marys).
Next on track was the men’s, and women’s, individual pursuit qualification. As current record holder, all the pressure was on Ciara Horne (University of Birmingham) however she did not let it get to her, with the round’s stand out performance, beating her own BUCS Record, set last year, with a time of 3:41:78.
The saying, ‘it’s a marathon, not a sprint’ was not true as the riders competing in the men’s individual sprint took to the track. In a tactical game of cat and mouse, Jonathon Mitchell (Glasgow) showed he had the brains to match the brawn, as he negotiated past Thomas Parry, of Loughborough, to reach the next round.
The Women’s individual pursuit final followed, and as records were falling quicker than pins at the BUCS Tenpin Bowling Championships, it was no surprise that Ciara Horne (Birmingham) went where no women has gone before, setting yet another BUCS record, and taking gold in the Women’s Individual Pursuit with a time of 3:40:93. It may have been a case of ladies first with Ciara’s victory in the women’s event, however Tom Arnstein (Strathclyde) was not to be out done, securing gold in the men’s individual pursuit final, ahead of Mark Stewart of Abertay, for whom this silver medal was just the beginning….
There was also a notable performance for Peter Anderson (Glasgow), who, having never competed in a 4000m individual pursuit before this weekend, was pedalling home with a bronze medal around his neck. The men’s kilo time trial was on the track next and Kenneth Ayre, continued Glasgow’s fine performance in the sprint events, by taking gold.
It is safe to say that everybody has heard the name Victoria Pendleton, and in the future, people may have to get used to hearing about Eleanor Richardson (Manchester Met), who ensured it was her name up in lights, winning the 500m tt and beating Victoria Pendleton’s previous BUCS Record (36.85) with a time of 36.17.
The second day of the Championships began with a new BUCS men’s team pursuit record, as the long standing Heriot-Watt record from 1997, set by a team including Sir Chris Hoy, was beaten by the University of Central Lancashire, who wheeled in with a time of 4:37:04. The University of Glasgow weren’t to be outdone, taking gold, and yet another record of Sir Chris Hoy’s Heriot-Watt team, in the men’s team sprint final, scoring 50:59.
Jonathon Mitchell (Glasgow) also finished what he started on Saturday, battling the lactic acid, to win the gold his 200m flying tt record deserved, in the men’s individual sprint.
The women’s team pursuit made its first appearance in its new 16 lap format at this year’s championships. Three teams entered from Cambridge, Southampton and Strathclyde but with only three teams, there could only be a gold medal awarded. The final between Cambridge and Strathclyde was a short-lived affair and a stronger Cambridge side achieved a catch on their opponents just five laps in earning them a gold medal.
In the women’s team sprint, Birmingham qualified fastest beating Manchester Met into second place in the qualification rounds. With the fastest two qualifiers fighting it out for gold in the finals, the tables were turned when Manchester Met took gold retaining their title for the second year running. Eleanor Richardson took her third gold medal of the weekend in the women’s individual sprint beating last year’s sprint champion Corrine Hall in two straight rounds.
Mark Stewart of Abertay beat 16 riders over 120 laps, to be crowned king of the points race, ensuring that he went home with a hat-trick of gold medals.
Full results from this the BUCS Track Cycling Championships can be found here.