First for Foresters
Late March once again saw Sutton Grammar School's Sports Ground invaded by groups of excited children from local primary schools, eagerly looking forward to taking part in the fifth Sutton Primary Schools Cycling Championships.
Their schools had already benefited from special selection sessions run by British Cycling's Go-Ride coaches working with instructors from the London Borough of Sutton's Cycle Training Unit. The Championships are run as a team event in teams of three, with different riders completing each of the three elements:
• Skills & Road Safety
• Cross Country
• Keirin Elimination (or Devil) Race.
Teams of riders were chosen from school years five and six to contest morning and afternoon heats of the Championships on Wednesday 24th March, with the best six teams from each session going through to the Finals on Monday 29th March. Over the one and a half days of competition, 99 children, making up 33 teams from sixteen schools participated.
The Deputy Mayor of the London Borough of Sutton, Cllr John Leach, was present to watch the Wednesday morning heats and start the races. On finals day it was the turn of Tom Brake, MP for Carshalton & Wallington and President of Sutton CC/De Ver Cycles.
The various elements of the Championships test a range of abilities:
• agility, control
• road safety
The Skills / Road Safety element is organised by the London Borough of Sutton Cycle Training Unit. The riders manoeuvre round obstacles to demonstrate control, much as in Level 1 Bikeability, and are also tested on their knowledge of road safety and the Highway Code. The element has its own special trophy, the Moore Trophy, won by Brookfield Primary School for the second year running.
Monday's finals were designed to be more difficult than the heats and a more testing Cross Country Mountain Bike course had been devised for the finals. The course was longer and harder, with more single track and an uphill finish. The event was still closely fought right to the end with the decisive moves made on the last climb up to the finish.
The last event was a Keirin Elimination Race, or Keirin Devil. In a Keirin, riders follow a pacer, usually on a motorbike, but in this case a Go-Ride Coach on a Mountain Bike. The pacer eventually pulls out leaving the riders to finish; and in a Devil (devil take the hindmost) the last rider(s) over the line in designated laps are eliminated until three remain for the final lap. All the riders grasped the tactics and rules of this unique race - to race just hard enough not to cross the line last, until (of course) the final lap.
Afterwards, in the Pavilion, club organiser Peter Fordham remarked that all the riders had improved even since the heats and hoped that they would use the vouchers they had been given to come along to a Saturday morning club session. Club members were encouraged to race - three former Club members had won National Championships and one, Joanna Rowsell, had even gone on to become a World Champion. He thanked all the children, teachers and helpers from the schools and the team assisting with the organisation for making it such an enjoyable event. He pointed out it had benefited from the support of the London Borough of Sutton, Smarter Travel Sutton, Sutton Sports Council, British Cycling and Sutton Grammar School and thanked them all for their contribution.
After congratulating the winners and presenting the prizes, Tom Brake praised all the competitors, saying how good it was to see so many children taking part in sport and obviously enjoying themselves.
In addition to the Sutton Primary Schools Cycling Championship Trophy, the winning team from Foresters Primary School received a voucher from Smarter Travel Sutton for 30 children to try track riding at the famous Herne Hill velodrome, used in the 1948 Olympics, and Go-Ride cycling jerseys from British Cycling.
1st Foresters Primary School, Team 2
2nd Stanley Park Junior School, Team 1
3rd Brookfield Primary School, Team 1
Participating schools were : Abbey Primary, All Saints Benhilton CofE Primary, Barrow Hedges Primary, Brookfield Primary, Camden Juniors, Cheam Common Juniors, Devonshire Primary, Dorchester Primary, Foresters Primary, Homefield School, Laleham Lea, Nonsuch Primary, St Dunstan's Cheam C of E Primary, Stanley Park Juniors, Tweeddale Primary, and Westbourne Primary.
Sutton CC/De Ver Cycles - Secretary
(020) 8642 0285
Sponsored by De Ver Cycles of Norbury - www.devercycles.co.uk