Over 90 riders turned out for the final event of 2011’s Manchester Go-Ride Racing League; a race series which has been designed to bring clubs and riders together to build a competitive and supportive environment for young riders new to bike racing.
The Grand Final saw riders from various clubs race indoors as the National Cycling Centre provided the backdrop to the competition with Manchester Velodrome and the recently built indoor BMX Arena providing the terrain.
Riders – who have been competing against each other all year in all disciplines from road to mountain bike to cyclo-cross – were split into teams outside of their clubs and then into Groups ensuring each rider competed against riders of similar ages or abilities.
Those on the boards competed in a fast paced track championship format, where the action was packed and constantly evolving. More experienced riders were drafted in to support the younger, novice track riders and to help build a team ethos amongst the groups.
Both sprint and endurance based racing was catered for with scratch, devil, pursuit, points race and match sprints all included on the race schedule, with riders from clubs including Mossley CRT, Manchester Tri, Beacon Wheelers, Manchester Cycle Sport, Eastlands Velo and Velocity 3-in-1, gaining points towards their team’s overall total.
While that action was taking place, the Manchester Go-Ride Racing League hosted another form of competition in the BMX arena, with the results being put together to create the overall team standings.
Riders new to the BMX environment were first provided with a coaching session, which was delivered by National Cycling Centre staff, before competing within a time trial event using the indoor track.
The riders excelled to make the step up to compete over such challenging terrain and in the end, the race results of the BMX had a major impact on the overall team success with the track scores. It was the second placing of the BMX team race and the track team which gave the North West team the race meeting win on the day.
The meeting brings to a close 2011’s race schedule for the Manchester Go-Ride Racing League, but organiser and North West Go-Ride Coach was delighted with the final day’s racing, and saw it as a fitting finale to a great series.
“What an event to finish off a brilliant year!” Tom Hodgkinson said. “A big Thank You to John Daly and the Young Volunteers who did the club proud, club managers in supporting young volunteers, and the events staff for keeping the event on track!
“On the day we gave over 30 riders a new race experience. A lot of the younger riders were really nervous, but to finish with a Keirin and mixed age group Italian Pursuit with those younger riders involved was so good to see. The standard of racing from the invited regional standard riders was fantastic and they produced a thrilling finish to the Points race, with some very advanced tactical riding. They also had a positive impact on the younger riders during the event and will inspire them on their transition into regional racing.”
At the end of the day, a Rider of The Year Award went to the competitor who epitomises the philosophy of the Manchester Go-Ride Racing League, which is to give every rider the opportunity to race in every discipline and confidence to move onto regional racing.
This year, the rider who best represented those goals was Karl Richter. Karl took part in every race, two Manchester Youth Cups, regional circuit racing, regional cross racing (top 10 finish) and was present at youth club runs with his feeder Go-Ride club Mossley CRT.
With this year’s racing brought to a close, Tom reflected on the achievements of the riders and is looking forward to 2012.
He added: “Over the Christmas period we will take a break to allow riders to get into regional racing structures. The Go-Ride clubs will start to develop their coaching plans for the season and set out new event formats to suit our new intake of riders for 2012, which I’m sure will be another fantastic year for all racing cyclists.
“Again I would like to state that without committed Club Managers, Young Volunteers, Parents, and Riders the Manchester Go-Ride Race League would not be the success it has been this year. At every event new parents, new young volunteers and club coaches have got immersed in the support of race meetings and supported every club regardless of club colours in delivering 10 fantastic Go-Ride Racing meetings.
“What a year to be a novice racer and club member of Manchester Clubs and the Manchester Go-Ride Racing League.”
North West Regional Events Officer Jenny Gretton was encouraged to see the Young Volunteers taking such an active involvement at the event and will be identifying future opportunities to engage them as event organisers and volunteers.
"There was a great atmosphere on Sunday, generated by the enthusiasm, support and unique approach of the young Team Managers,” Jenny said. “Overall the Manchester Go-Ride Racing League has been a fantastic initiative, bringing together clubs, volunteers and young riders to help them take the step in to regular competition.”
The Manchester Go-Ride Racing League will return in 2012, please keep upto date with developments here and on the league website www.mgrrl.com and @GoRideMCR on Twitter.