Spurred on by the performance of Team GB’s cyclists, 35 youngsters aged 5 - 14 tried mountain biking at the Sutton Go-Ride Games in August - the same day as the Olympic Women’s Mountain Bike Race.
For the morning's Go-Ride Racing, coach Gavin Cook created a tight, twisting course making full use of the sloping sides of the grassy dip at the Club’s regular venue, Sutton Grammar School's Walch Memorial Sports Ground in Cheam.
Go-Ride Racing is intended for Under 16 Novices (those new to racing, or to a particular discipline), so any experienced Club riders either rode in a Category above their age (rode "up") or were ranked separately.
The racing started with a one lap Hilly Time Trial for each age group, but omitting a particularly technical section for the Under 8s and Under 10s. The Under 12s and Under14s / Under16s rode the full course.
All the riders showed real competitive spirit and determination in the mountain bike races that followed, and were cheered on by all the spectators. The number of laps varied with the age group, but everyone wanted to complete their full distance, even two girls who were lapped on the line! The hillsides were hard work on single speed BMX bikes, so their riders were pleased to hear that they could get off and run if they wanted.
Afterwards there were presentations of Go-Ride Games T-shirts in Olympic colours for the winners, and Go-Ride Games water bottles for the runners-up. Everyone received a certificate and a Go-Ride wristband. Full results are attached.
14 of the riders were newcomers, and their parents commented on the friendly, welcoming club atmosphere. They thought it was great to see so many children on bikes, and were asking when would the club would be doing it again, as it was a perfect introduction to racing.
For their part, the club coaches were impressed by the standard over all the age categories - it had been real morning’s racing!
For more information on all available Go-Ride activities, please visit the Go-Ride homepage.