Under clear skies and a blazing sun, the British Cycling Youth Circuit Series arrived at Hillingdon cycle circuit in West London for the fifth round of the 2014 series.
The season-long battle between Finlay Tarling of West Wales Cycle Racing Team and James Brown of Palmer Park Velo continued at Hillingdon, and this time it was Tarling who finished on top – breaking away from the field with two laps to go to take a commanding 14-second victory – the biggest winning margin of the day.
Brown, though, maintained his series lead, winning the bunch sprint for second place from Pascal Giret of GS Henley and Joel Hurt of Stockton Wheelers.
Carys Lloyd of San Fairy Ann CC took first place in the girls race by half a wheel from Millie Coleman of Hillingdon Slipstreamers and Greta Carey of Palmer Park Velo. Lloyd’s win strengthens her position as first girl in the series while Coleman and Carey close up on second places Esther Wong of Salt Ayre Cog Set.
It’s tough to get away at Hillingdon – despite the hairpin before the short climb that can be challenging for the younger riders – and the Under 10s race set the pattern for the day with plenty of action at the front culminating in a bunch sprint at the end of the long finishing straight.
You might have thought you were in Wales in the early stages with Sam Smith of Towy Riders, Joshua Tarling of West Wales Cycle Racing Team and Zoe Backstedt of Maindy Flyers Youth CC all at the head of the race in the early stages.
As the race progressed it was Tarling and Ben Askey of Lichfield City CC who did the bulk of the work, stretching the field out and even looking as though they might get away at one point. It wasn’t to be, though, and it was Series leader Askey who edged out Tarling on the line with James Higham of Eastlands Velo and Lewis Dolan of Marton Race Team just behind.
Backstedt’s work on the front was rewarded with the win in the Girls with her team mate Ella Maclean-Howell second and Caitlin Loveless of Hillingdon Slipstreamers third.
Robert Donaldson of Mossley CRT has a commanding lead in the Series but certainly shows no signs of easing up.
He tested the resolve of the bunch early on, taking George Southby of East Bradford CC – winner of the previous round in Milton Keynes - with him for company and the two were away again at half distance – along with Matti Egglestone of Beacon Wheelers. But there’s nowhere to hide at Hillingdon and the breaks always came back.
In the final sprint, though, it was Donaldson who was back on the top step of the podium, edging out Egglestone, Gabriel Banner of Hillingdon Slipstreamers and Billey Gilbey of VC Londres.
Becky Surridge of VC Londres continued her domination of the Under 12 Girls category, taking the win from Danielle Parker of Towy Riders and Isabella Escalera of Hillingdon Slipstreamers.
With a couple of placings earlier in the day it was time for a home team victory and the honour went to Lorna Bowler of Hillingdon Slipstreamers who went from a long way out and won the closest race of the day, less than a tyre width ahead of hard charging Series leader Anna Docherty of Clifton CC.
A close finish was always on the cards – the race having stayed together throughout – apart from sprints for the primes. It was ridden at a brisk pace – brisk enough for the pack to be strung out for much of the race – but never quite fast enough to split the field. Eve Martin of Ribble Valley Juniors took third place.
After a slight delay to allow riders held up when the M25 was briefly closed, the Under 14 Boys race was one of the most animated of the day with Alistair Fielding of Poole Wheelers pulling out a 10-second lead early on and several other attempts to split the field in the later stages.
Ieuan Woods of Charlotteville CC tried to use a prime as a springboard and Halley Woods of Eastlands Velo had a pop off the front. Then a useful looking group consisting of Thomas Gloag of VC Londres, Ben Healey of Solihull CC, Alex Ridehalgh of Kirklees Cycling Academy and Oscar Mingay of Cardiff JIF slipped off the front before being swallowed up again.
So it was another bunch sprint – and one where the Series leaders were nowhere to be see with Fielding rewarded for his early efforts, just clear of Charley Calvert of Bournemouth Arrow with Benjamin Moody of Achieve-Skinnergate on the head of the line behind the highest placed rider in the Series – 11th going in this round.
The most dramatic finish of the day came in the Under 16 Girls race where Charlotte Broughton of MG Decor, tapped from behind by Jessica Roberts of RST Racing, finished the race sideways as her rear wheel shed most of its spokes – but still hung on to win.
Phoebe Martin of Lichfield City CC pulled out a five-second lead in the closing stages and as she came back to the bunch Roberts’ team-mate Eleanor Dickinson tried to slip away. She was back in the bunch at the finish and took third place behind Elizabeth Bennett of Cardiff JIF.
Roberts – who had tried to squeeze through a gap between Broughton and Bennett which disappeared before she got there – crashed heavily, but crossed the line alongside her bike and still took fourth place.
The Under 16 boys race was fast and furious – as ever – with a number of breaks in the field of 75 riders being given some space before being reeled back in.
Oliver Peckover of Sherwood Pines Cycles SRAM RT and Calum Fernie of Nottingham Clarion CC went early on – with Fernie falling back to the bunch and leaving Peckover out on his own before trying a solo break of his own later in the race.
Then it was the turn of Theo Hartley of Bolton Hot Wheels and Cameron Orr of Matlock CC who got a 10-second gap but couldn’t stretch it out. Josh Copley of Willesden CC tried to make his local knowledge count with another solo effort, but couldn’t stretch his lead beyond 10 seconds and was only away for a lap and a half.
Then Matthias Barnett of Edinburgh Road Club and Harry Hardcastle of Kirklees Cycling Academy had a go but again struggled to get more than 10 seconds up the road and only stayed away for a lap or so. Then Robert Scott of PH Mas Cycling Team got away and pulled out a 25 second lead. Perhaps – for the first time since the Under 8s race – a break would stick.
But the bunch picked up the pace and ensured that the final race of the day would end in another sprint which saw Dan Tulett of Specialized Racing take the win from Sebastian Dickens of Sports Traider Race Team and Thomas Pidcock of Chevin Cycles.
Under 8 boys
1 Finlay Tarling West Wales Cycle Racing Team
2 James Brown Palmer Park Velo RT
3 Pascal Giret G.S. Henley
4 Joel Hurt Stockton Wheelers CC
5 Stanley Kent Hillingdon Slipstreamers
6 Finlay Hawker Hillingdon Slipstreamers
Under 8 girls
1 Carys Lloyd San Fairy Ann CC
2 Millie Coleman Hillingdon Slipstreamers
3 Greta Carey Palmer Park Velo RT
4 Bobbie O'Brien Hillingdon Slipstreamers
5 Rebecca Codd Maindy Flyers Youth CC
6 Lucy Allsop Summit MTB Club
Under 10 boys
1 Ben Askey Lichfield City CC
2 Joshua Tarling West Wales Cycle Racing Team
3 James Higham Eastlands Velo
4 Lewis Dolan Marton Race Team
5 Caelan Miller East London Vélo
6 Jed Smithson Hillingdon Slipstreamers
Under 10 girls
1 Zoe Backstedt Maindy Flyers Youth CC
2 Ella Maclean-Howell Maindy Flyers Youth CC
3 Caitlin Loveless Hillingdon Slipstreamers
4 Caitlin Harvey Lichfield City CC
Under 12 boys
1 Robert Donaldson Mossley CRT
2 Matti Egglestone Beacon Wheelers
3 Gabriel Banner Hillingdon Slipstreamers
4 Billy Gilbey VC Londres
5 Joshua Giddings Heanor Clarion CC
6 Joe Nethell Maindy Flyers Youth CC
Under 12 girls
1 Becky Surridge VC Londres
2 Danielle Parker Towy Riders
3 Isabella Escalera Hillingdon Slipstreamers
4 Jemma Bowler Hillingdon Slipstreamers
5 Anna Wadsworth Beeline Bicycles RT
6 Maddie Wadsworth Beeline Bicycles RT
Under 14 girls
1 Lorna Bowler Hillingdon Slipstreamers
2 Anna Docherty Clifton CC
3 Eve Martin Ribble Valley Juniors
4 Kim Baptista Mid Lancs BMX
5 Pfeiffer Georgi Giant Cycling Club - Halo Films
6 Isabel Darvill VC Lincoln
Under 14 boys
1 Alistair Fielding Poole Wheelers CC
2 Charley Calvert Bournemouth Arrow CC/Hotel Collingwood
3 Benjamin Moody Achieve-Skinnergate Racing
4 Jack Ford Holmfirth Cycling Club
5 Euan Cameron East Bradford CC
6 Conor Gallagher
Under 16 girls
1 Charlotte Broughton MG Décor
2 Elizabeth Bennett Cardiff JIF
3 Eleanor Dickinson RST Racing Team
4 Jessica Roberts RST Racing Team
5 Sophie Williams Cardiff JIF
6 Jessica Willett Squadra Donne
Under 16 boys
1 Daniel Tulett Specialized Racing
2 Sebastian Dickens Sports Traider Race Team
3 Thomas Pidcock Chevin Cycles
4 Oliver Peckover Sherwood Pines Cycles SRAM RT
5 Matthew Draper Team RL360 Isle Of Man
6 Matthew Walls Velocity WD-40