Krispin Gardiner’s recent success in the under-16 British Cycling Para-Cycling Circuit Race Champion is even more remarkable given that he is relatively new to the sport.
Despite coming from a cycling family with some pedigree (his father, uncle and both grandads were all racers in their day) his first love of sport was rugby and it was only a chance conversation with Paralympic gold medallist, Mark Colbourne, that proved to be the necessary catalyst.
After joining the Bristol Cycling Development Squad (BCDS) Krispin has never looked back. However, pedal back 16 years and Krispin’s arrival into the world was also an eventful moment when, at seven weeks premature, he was delivered on the hard shoulder of the M4 near Swindon.
Although now diagnosed with cerebral palsy (Krispin is classified as C4), it was not until he was nine years of age that he was given the necessary MRI scan to confirm what his mother, Natasha Walker-Gardiner, had always been pushing from a very early stage in his childhood.
At the National Championships at Darley Moor in Nottinghamshire Krispin and fellow BCDS team mate Oliver Thomas, both of whom were riding in the Youth A category, were up against some very tough opposition which was made up of 60 (C1-C5) male and female riders.
The very windy conditions made the race even more challenging and having to concede a lap due to the handicap system meant that the pair would have to work hard as a team. An early move by two Senior (C4-C5) riders ripped the field apart and with restricted gears neither Krispin nor Oliver could match the pace on the fast tail wind section.
However, not put off Krispin showed excellent form and was able to power out of the final bend of the finishing straight and lap by lap was able to overhaul his handicap deficit on other riders.
On the final lap and with both Krispin and Oliver in with a chance of the national title it was only Krispin’s earlier work rate that had created the necessary gap that Oliver was unable to close.
Crossing the line with arms held aloft Krispin won the coveted striped national jersey and gold medal; acknowledging the effort of his BCDS team mate saw Oliver awarded the silver medal. A marvellous performance.