The 2015 British Cycling National BMX Series kicked off in fine style at the home of British Cycling in Manchester and there were some awesome results for the Olympic Development Programme athletes. The two-day event featured 940 entries from across Europe with riders ranging from 5 to over 50.
The Elite Men’s class was showcased across the weekend with a UCI points race on Saturday evening. There was a truly international flavour to the event with riders from across the globe amongst the entries, all focused on picking up vital UCI points.
The atmosphere in the arena was electric as the main event of the evening took to the gate, and when they dropped it was British Cycling’s Tre Whyte who hit the front and he was easily the fastest all night and dominated the final.
As he crossed the finish line, there was a 25-metre gap back to the second place rider, Renaud Blanc from Switzerland, after the Dutch rider Jelle Van Gorkom bobbled on the technically demanding third straight. Third place went to Van Gorkom’s countryman Twan Van Gendt. Kyle Evans and Quillan Isidore from the GB squad were also in the final, but Evans was riding injured from a crash earlier in the evening and settled for seventh with Isidore in eighth after he took a spill in the race.
In the second day of competition Isidore more than redeemed himself with a solid lap to second place behind the Dutchman Van Gendt, with Whyte in third and the young gun of the team, Paddy Sharrock in fourth.
Once the dust had settled, Whyte commented: “I’m happy to take the win yesterday and get third today. A podium both days wraps up a decent weekend here in Manchester.”
And Sharrock added: “What a weekend! First in Junior Men last night and fourth in Elite Men today. I’m absolutely over the moon with how I rode - I couldn't have asked for a better weekend. Thank you very much for everyone's support and keeping me going all weekend!”
The Championship women’s class featured British Cycling’s up-and-coming Academy riders, and it was Blaine Ridge-Davis who dominated the class throughout the first day’s domestic competition.
Ridge-Davis went unbeaten through all of her heats, qualifiers and the final to put her on the top step of the podium, from where she said: “I had a good weekend’s racing. I put in some good laps and it was nice to mix it up with some of the Elite girls. Thanks to my sponsors for their help and support.”
Second place went to her Peckham club mate Katurah Davidson and third was Identiti Bikes Factory Team rider Joey Gough.
The evening programme had the Elite Women on track and it was Denmark’s Simone Tetsche Christensen who tamed the track to take the win from Venezuela’s Stefany Hernandez and Germany’s Nadja Pries. The top Brit on the night was Haro Bikes Abbie Taylor who had some great lines throughout the racing.
Hernandez was fired up for the second day of racing and showed her Olympic quality with the win from the Swiss girl Louanne Juillerat and the Czech Republic’s Aneta Hladikova.
Amongst the top Elite riders was the young Brit, 16-year-old Emily Green from Torquay. Green had used her trademark fast starts to get herself through the qualifying rounds to the final and proved her worth with a superb sixth place finish.
Green was elated and said: “I had such a good time racing this weekend in Manchester, with fourth on Saturday after a bad gate, and sixth today. Well done to those who raced in Championship women, there was some tough competition.”
Across the Challenge classes there were a number of fine performances including Harry Banks in the 6 and under class who only lost one lap all weekend to take the top step of the podium twice. That feat was matched by Burnham BMX Club’s Taylor Hunt in the 8-year-old boys.
Manchester’s Ethan Duffy showed the home track advantage as he went unbeaten throughout the weekend among the 11-year-olds. Lucy Hutt showed that if the boys can be dominant, then the girls can do the same as she also kept a clean sheet for Runnymede in the 7-8 girls with Betsy Bax also having it all her own way in the 9-10 girls.
In the cruiser classes there were popular wins in the 17-29 class as Cyclopark’s Owen Baxter took his first win and also in the 40-44’s with Ian Archibald doing the business for the Cumbernauld Centurions. Both Cyclopark and Cumbernauld will be holding rounds of the series later in the year.
The Championship Men were dominated by ex-elite racer Cal Strickland from Manchester who had so much power and style he was head and shoulders above the rest. Ross Cullen from Preston was firing on all cylinders in the 15s as he took wins both days as did Adam Brazil from Burnham in the 17-24s.
The Series moves onto Cyclopark in Gravesend, Kent for rounds three and four on 11-12 April which takes the series outdoors and adds the weather into the equation.