Abergavenny Youth Criteriums

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Abergavenny Youth Criteriums

June 26, 2009; Abergavenny
Thanks to David James

For the second consecutive year, the Get Connected Abergavenny Open Criterium was preceded by youth races and a total of 78 riders turned up to compete. First race off was the Under 10s and Under 8s, with a field of 28. Taking turns and moving things along at the front of the race were Nathan Ford, Ieuan Best, Megan James (Abergavenny RC) and Samuel and James Tillet (Newport Velo). With a lap to go it was the Tillet brothers (whose sister was also going well a little way behind - yes - triplets!) who had a small lead over Nathan Ford and they managed to hold on to that all the way around the 750 metre circuit to record a family 1,2 with James being the winner.

Close behind in one of his rare appearances on the road was a strong looking Nathan Ford. First Under 10 girl was Megan James who followed the boys home in 5th place overall, just a few seconds behind the winner. Second girl home was Lowri Thomas (Abergavenny RC) and rounding off a fantstic family 1,2,3 was third girl Emily Tillet.

Under 8
In the Under 8's race there were two stand-out riders, Kieran Morris (Mid Shropshire Wheelers) and Huw Higgins-Worrall (Abergavenny RC), who were racing well up amongst the under 10s. These two were well ahead of the rest and despite Huw's best efforts, it was Kieran who stayed at the front for the whole race and he came over the line a few bikes lengths in front. Third under 8 boys was Rhys Thomas and first under 8 girl was Rowena Smith (both Abergavenny RC)

For the first three over the line in the race a real surprise was in store, because three convertable cars rolled onto the circuit to take them on a parade lap. First place had the pleasure of waving to the crowd in a brand new yellow Ferrari California, second in a white BMW and third in a Mini Copper. All the cars were kindly supplied by Dick Lovett and there were envious looks from lots of parents (and commissaires) as the children did the parade lap. One young rider, who after being told what was on offer, actually thought the winner was going to walk away with the Ferrari!

Under 12
As the cars rolled back to the start area, the 24 under 12s were lined up on the line eager to get going. It was not long after the flag was waved by Damien Cole from Get Connected to start the race that five riders were stretching away from the rest of the  pack. It was the Maindy Flyer train of Harry Lock, Megan Barker, Emily Haycox on the front with Joe Holt (Clwb Beicio Llyn Cycling Club) and Ffion James (Abergavenny RC) keeping them company.

Although the Maindy Flyers were taking turns on the front driving along the race at a fast pace they could not shake off Joe and Ffion and it was that order as they came through the start finish area for the bell lap. Up to the finish and it was two Maindy Flyers sprinting to earn the spin in the Ferrari, with Emily Haycox coming first just inches in front of Harry Lock, with Megan Barker a further few bikes behind completing a Maindy 1,2,3. Joe Holt maintained his position to finish second boy followed by third girl Ffion James then third boy Dylan Cordukes (Newport Velo).

Under 16s and Under 14s. 
Lining up on the start line were 28 riders which included 8 girls. It was not long into the race that the winners of each of the categories started to show themselves. In the Under 16 boys it was Owain Doull (Cardiff Ajax) who was riding away from the rest of the field and he was pulling out a considerable lead despite the best intentions of Matt Haase (Newport Olympic), Sam Anstice (Newport Velo), and William Worrall (Towy Riders) who were chasing hard behind.

By the finish line it was Doull who recorded the win, with Haase in second and Anstice in third. Not having things quite so easy in the Under 16 Girls was Elinor Barker (Cardiff Ajax) who was being matched pedal for pedal by Stephanie Higgs (Chippenham Wheelers). With just a couple of laps to go though it was Elinor who started to get away and despite a fantastic effort by Stephanie it was Elinor who recorded a fairly comfortable win in the end.

Third under 16 girl was Sarah Crowley (Cardiff Ajax). It was the Under 14 boys where there was the closest race of the night. Early on it looked liked Robbie Westwood (Cwmcarn Paragon) would manage to get away from the chasing pack, but despite building a lead it was chased down by Mathew Cross (Newport Velo) who managed to bridge the gap and get on to Westwood's wheel. It was looking increasingly likely that it would come down to a sprint between the two riders, but coming up the home straight on what they thought would be the bell lap they were passed by Under 16 leader Doull.

Neither rider seemed to realise the importance of this and continued racing for another lap, but it was Cross who came over the line first behind Doull meaning he was declared the winner on the night, with Westwood a close second. Third Under 14 boy with a strong ride was Owen James (Towy Riders). In the Under 14 girls it was the predictable battle between Amy Hill and Rebecca Hunt (both Newport Velo) to decide the winner, and it was Hill who emerged victorious. Third Under 14 girl was Olivia Griffiths (Towy Riders).

Once again the first three over the line were treated to the parade lap, but a surprise was in store for the top three in each category as Giant's Olympian mountain biker Ollie Beckingsale was there to present prizes up on the British Cycling podium in front of the large and enthusiastic crowds. With the sun shining, despite the very heavy rain during the day, a great night was had by all!