Report: Dot Tilbury
A total of 13 riders from the Team Royal London 360 competed with great success in the recent Errigal International Youth Tour in Co. Donegal, Ireland.
The three-day event was run in the hilly district surrounding the village of Churchill and consisted of four special stages, including two road races, a time trial and a town centre criterium around the streets of Letterkenny.
Recording the biggest victory of his career so far, Matthew Bostock took the overall honours in the highly competitive under 16 category. Nathan Draper was a fine third, with Owen Dudley and Michael Moss 16th and 20th respectively in a top class field of more than eighty riders.
Bostock laid the foundation for his win in the opening stage's road race, dropping breakaway partner Simon Tuomey (Cork County CC) to take the win by a healthy 45 seconds. Meanwhile, Draper and team mates Dudley and Moss were working hard in the main bunch to neutralise all attacks.
On the last lap Draper and Aaron Swan (FBD Ireland) rode clear, with Draper leaving Swan on the final climb to make it a Manx one and two. Dudley and Moss finished safely in the chasing group in 16th and 20th places respectively.
In the remaining stages the pressure was on the team to protect Bostock and Draper's positions. Dudley and Moss rose to the occasion, especially on stage three's tough road race where the riders had to tackle the infamous Keelogues category one climb - complete with Alpe D'Huez type crowds - five times.
Draper finished a fine third and Bostock seventh, with Dudley and Moss not far behind in 21st and 35th positions. At the end of the second day Bostock was still in pole position on GC but with a slightly reduced lead, while Draper had dropped to third overall after losing time in the preceding time trial.
On the final day's flat-out criterium in Letterkenny Dudley and Moss once again marshaled the race for their two team mates. At the finish Dudley was the top Royal London 360 rider and first 15 year old in a very good sixth place, with Draper ninth, Bostock 18th and Moss 20th.
The result gave Bostock the overall victory a clear 41 seconds ahead of Ireland's Aaron Swan, with Draper third a further four seconds down. Bostock also won the kimg of the mountains competition.
In the under 14s age group Conor Davies just missed out on a podium position, finishing fourth on GC just 28 seconds behind third placed Tomos Owens (Brooks Cycles). Elizabeth Holden took the girl's honours in 13th place overall four positions ahead of William Draper in 17th spot. Daniel Scarffe was a respectable 35th on his debut in the Emerald Isle and Phoebe Ferguson, who lost time with a puncture on the opening day, ended the tour in 38th spot.
Conor got off to a flying start in stage one, taking second place in a four-man sprint for the line. However, a fifth place in the following day's time trial time dropped him down to fourth overall - a position he maintained after finishing sixth in the afternoon's punishing road race and seventh in stage four's criterium.
Holden, who was riding down a class as is the custom for girls in Ireland, was the leading girl in all but one of the stages. Putting her climbing ability to good use, she was 14th and 15th in the two road races, 11th in stage two's lumpy time trial and ninth in the criterium to top the girls' standings in 13th slot overall, two places and 23 seconds ahead of her friend and nearest rival Eleanor Dickinson (Beacon Wheelers).
Top thirty finishes in the opening road race, the time trial and the criterium plus an impressive 11th in the second road race put first year under 14 rider William Draper in 17th position overall. Things were not as straight forward for Daniel Scarffe and Phoebe Ferguson who both lost a lot of time in separate incidents - Scarffe with a bad bout of cramp during stage three's road race and Ferguson with her puncture on stage one. However, excellent top forty finishes in the criterium moved them up the standings to 35th and 38th overall.
Eleanor Davies was the Manx star in the under 12's class, winning the girls' event and finishing a brilliant third in the overall standings. Adam Scarffe was a fine sixth on GC, Tosh Teare ninth and Emily Bridson 17th.
Davies posted a fifth in the opening road race, a seventh in the time trial and a seventh in the second road race to put her in fourth place overall going into the final day's criterium, some five seconds down on local hope Dylan Traynor (Errigal CC).
However, she clawed back the difference, and more, in the Letterkenny criterium where she finished an impressive third to leap into third place on GC and take the girls' award 17 seconds ahead of Ellie Russell (Mid Shropshire Wheelers) in seventh spot overall
Scarffe and Teare both rode well for their top ten placings. Scarffe was ninth and fifth in the two road races, eighth in stage two's race against the clock and 11th in stage four's criterium, while Teare was tenth in both road events, ninth in the time trial and sixth in the crit. Emily Bridson also produced a string of good rides to finish 15th on stage one, 20th on stages two and three and 16th on stage four for 17th overall and third 12 year old girl.
Rounding off a very successful trip, the Royal London 360 squad won the team prizes in the under 16 and under 14 classes and were the runners-up in the under 12's category.