Round six of the British Cycling Youth Circuit Series was a single-day, two-stage race featuring a prologue time trial followed by an afternoon circuit race at the Llandow motor racing circuit in South Wales.
The under 16 overall winners were women's series leader Ellie May Dickinson (RST Racing Team) who won the prologue and finished second to her team mate Jess Roberts in the circuit race, and Anthony Anderson (Sigma Sport) who dominated the boy's event, winning both stages.
At this stage of the season the youth and junior field is often thinned by the amount of riders traveling to the Tour of Assen, so it’s testament to the depth of quality in the field, and the commitment of the riders that all categories were packed and the racing at times frenzied. There were also at least five new national champions jerseys being worn proudly in the summer sunshine.
Dickinson, complaining of ‘empty legs’, nevertheless looked classy in taking the overall win in the U16s but it was Roberts who probably came away from the day happiest with the circuit race victory.
“It was tough” she admitted afterwards. “The main straight was so windy it was really hard to get away.”
The two RST girls did at least try though, and Henrietta Colborne, (Beacon Wheelers) was also characteristically often driving the pace but in terms of breaks, nothing would stick.
With a sprint inevitable Dickinson attempted a long one, only to take Roberts out of the pack and at the line the positions from the recent National Championships were reversed with Roberts this time the stronger sprinter.
The time gap from the earlier TT prologue was sufficient that Dickinson comfortably won the general classification. At the same time the under-14 girls were racing on the circuit, giving the opportunity for the stringer riders to stay in the bunch with their more senior counterparts and watch as rider by rider the huge combined peloton thinned as the pace increased lap by lap.
Recently crowned national champion Pfeiffer Georgi took the win in the sprint, Holding off Anna Docharty (Clifton), a straight repeat of the prologue positions which ensured the overall standings were also the same.
The under-16 boys race was remarkable in that two riders, Anthony Anderson (Sigma Sport) and Ethan Hayter (VC Londres), managed to escape the main field mid-way through the race and sustain it to the line.
This was highly impressive given that the early pace of the race was so fast none of the repeated attacks managed to stay away. When the two did manage to gap the field the early pace had been so relentless that few were keen to do any work in chasing them down apart from Joshua Waters (SRAM) who made a Herculean effort to get across the gap solo which only just failed.
There was agony for Hayter in the final chicane when he came off after going in too fast in trying to gain an advantage for the sprint. Anderson rolled over the line unchallenged while Hayter was forced to run across the line, narrowly finishing ahead of the fast finishing Waters.
“I feel really gutted for him,” said Anderson of Hayter's luck after the race. “We were really working well together and he was such a stronger rider today, it shouldn’t have ended like that.”
Anderson is something of a long break specialist himself and has been seen going off the front alone on many such occasions, his lowly points standings in the series overall a reflection of the fact that if attacks of this nature don’t work, you often end up with nothing. This one did and it was well deserved, following on from a narrow win in the prologue TT, while Anderson also took the overall ahead of Hayter.
The under 14s races were no less hotly contested, the circuit race being won by Adam Kelly form the Isle of Man, his only previous showing in the series being four points from round three.
Zach Bridges (Cardiff JIF) had made a heroic long breakaway effort that lasted pretty much half the race only to be pulled back. Kelly won the ensuing bunch kick but the overall win went to Charley Calvert following his prologue victory.
Both the under 12s and combined Under 8s and under 10 categories races a slightly different format with two circuit races combining for the GC instead of a prologue TT.
In the under 12s race, two national champions jerseys were on show as the boys and girls race concurrently in this category, and both acquitted themselves well. Robert Donaldson (Mossley CC) won the first race at a canter with an extended, solo breakaway effort that saw him win by 46 seconds. He backed it up with a win in race two by a slightly smaller margin but comfortably took the win on GC.
Under 12 girls national champion, Becky Surridge (VC Londres) had a ding-dong battle in both races, finishing each in the same group as Ava May Oxley-Szilaggi (Kirklees Cycling Academy) the two placing 9th and 8th respectively on GC high up amongst the best boys.
Not to be outdone, the youngest category on track, also provided long distance, solo attacks from Joshua Tarling of West Wales CRT, which comfortably secured the GC, while the highest finishing girl placed 8th, Zoe Backstead (Maindy Flyers) giving the promoting club plenty to cheer about.
Two rounds remain in the series, the next being Susie’s Youth Circuits at the popular Castle Coombe Motor Racing circuit in Wiltshire on 3 August.