The cream of youth cycling from across Britain were in Scotland on Sunday, as Paisley staged the British Cycling National Youth Circuit Championships.
The events in the city centre began with four non-championship events for the Under 8 and Under 10 Boys and Girls – and with the Under 12s being run for the last time this year, they provided an interesting glimpse into the future with the fields consisting mostly - but not entirely – of local riders and siblings of riders in older categories.
One of those siblings - Elise Hawkins of Palmer Park Velo – took the Under 8 Girls Race, 23 seconds ahead of Melanie Rowe of Ythan CC with Ines Morrice of Glasgow Riderz a lap behind. Local riders took the first three places in the Boys’ race with Struan Straw of Royal Albert CC a lap up on Gregor Burn of West Lothian Clarion and Adam Murray of East Kilbride Road Club.
In the Under 10s, James Donaldson of Mossley CRT and Awen Roberts of Towy Riders wrapped up the Boys and Girls races by riding away from the field and working together to put half a minute between them and their rivals. Finn Hawkins couldn’t match his sister’s win in the Under 8s, but beat Calum Moir of Barking and Dagenham CC in the sprint to take second in the Boys’ race with Isla McCutcheon of Johnstone Wheelers 33 seconds ahead of Stirling Bike Club’s Anna Reid in the Girls’.
None of the live music acts that appeared on the stage between podium ceremonies sang ‘Four Seasons in One Day’ – but we were treated to all of them, nonetheless. A grey start for the non-Championship races was followed by drizzle and heavy rain during the Under 12 Girls and Under 14 Boys races – after which it was mostly grey, with a couple of bouts of sunshine drying out the roads for the later races.
The Championship races were run over a longer version of the rolling, twisting course which featured an uphill finish with a tricky right hander at the end of the finish straight which falls away quickly down towards the river. With a gusting wind and the rain blowing in and out, it looked like the perfect set-up for some fantastic racing.
The first of the Championship races was the Under 12 Girls and this saw an early and decisive breakaway with Maya Teufel Tarlton of Lee Valley Youth Cycling Club, Libby Smith of Fossa Racing, Isabella Escalera of VC Londres and Anna Wadsworth.
Dominant in the National Circuit Series this year, Escalera was the favourite to take the win and sure enough she dropped the other three riders on the run-in – after the quartet had lapped the rest of the field.
She rode away on the uphill sprint – winning by a clear seven seconds with Smith taking second in the three-way sprint. One of the trio was going to miss out on a podium spot and with Smith taking second and Teufel-Tarlton taking third it was Wadsworth had to settle for fourth.
Next up was the Under 14 Boys and we were treated to another breakaway with Dylan Westley of Albarosa CC, Samuel Watson of Chevin Cycles, Zach Bridges of Cardiff JIF, Lewis Askey of Lichfield City CC, Samuel Watson of Chevin Cycles.com and Ben Tullett of Beeline Bicycles distancing themselves from series leader Alfie George of Discovery Junior Cycling Club – a major threat if it had come down to a bunch sprint.
George was in the bunch, but Max Walker of Team RL360 Isle of Man was stuck in no man’s land between the breakaway and the bunch – or, at least, he was until the last lap when a monumental effort put him on to the back of the bunch.
It was slightly too late, though, as the sprint was contested ahead of him with Askey holding off Watson and Westley to take the title – and he was clearly delighted – and the group’s tactics were backed up when George led the bunch sprint home.
The Under 12 boys were up next and a rather different kind of break away with the two leading contenders in the National Series – Finlay Pickering of Clifton CC and Max Poole of Bike Box Alan/Envelopemaster – riding clear of the rest of the field, and staying clear.
With over two minutes in hand by the end, it was clear that the winner was going to be the strongest up the finishing climb and – although it was very close – it was Poole that had the legs to take him to the line to claim the jersey. With just one place left on the podium, it was Billy Gilbey of VC Londres and Joshua Giddings of Heanor Clarion who had pulled clear of the pursuing bunch and it was Gilbey who snatched third on the line.
After three breakaways of different types, the Under 14 Girls took a different turn with the first bunch sprint of the day – albeit a relatively small bunch. The top 10 were still separated by less than 10 seconds by the line as the uphill finish stretched the bunch out – but the first two could hardly have been closer. Poppy Wildman of Nottingham Clarion CC had the momentum at the line, but Ella Barnwell of Cranc Cyclesport had the advantage on the road and she held it – just – to take the title. Third went to Josie Griffin of Welwyn Wheelers.
The Under 14 Girls race was always tentative and stayed together from start to finish with few serious attacks. The Under 16 Girls race also looked like it would finish in a bunch sprint – and the lap-by-lap splits might suggest an uneventful race, but it was anything else.
With Jess Roberts of RST Racing Team having dominated races that ended in sprints – and Lauren Davy and Pfeiffer Georgi of Giant Cycling-Halo Films having won a couple of break-away races – there was always going to be a conflict of tactics and it looked as though Roberts was going to be in pole position as every move was nullified.
In the closing stages, Rhona Callander of Stirling Bike Club tried to get away but was pursued – by Roberts, Davy and Georgi and the race came back together. But team mate Jenny Holl surged away on the penultimate lap and, while the gap was all but eliminated - thanks to the efforts of Roberts and Georgi – over the course of the last lap, it wasn’t enough to stop her taking the title. Roberts had to settle for second, with Georgi taking the final step on the podium.
The final race of the day was 80 minutes long – enough time to see a couple of concerted attempts at breaks and a bunch finish at the end. The first significant break saw Anthony Andersen of Sigma Sport and Conor Davies of Team RL360 Isle of Man get a sizeable gap on the bunch, before two groups of riders bridged across and the race came back together.
The sharp end of the final sprint was crammed with riders who have had podiums in National Series races this season with Harry Hardcastle of Marton Race Team fifth behind team mate Theo Hartley. Thomas Pidcock of Chevin Cycles.com took third with Jake Stewart of Solihull CC in second, leaving the top step of the podium to Fred Wright of VC Londres.
Under 8 (Non-Championship)
1 Elise HAWKINS Palmer Park Velo RT 14’54”
2 Melanie ROWE Ythan CC @25"
3 Ines MORRICE Glasgow Riderz @1 Lap
4 Bethan KITCHIN Edinburgh RC
5 Orla BURN West Lothian Clarion CC
6 Ella DICKIE Johnstone Wheelers Cycling Club
1 Struan SHAW Royal Albert CC 15’00”
2 Gregor BURN West Lothian Clarion CC @1 Lap"
3 Adam MURRAY East Kilbride Road Club
4 Joe BARNES Glasgow Riderz
5 Finlay MILLAR Johnstone Wheelers Cycling Club @2 Laps"
DNF Neal MC SHANE Royal Albert CC
Under 10 (Non-Championship)
1 Awen ROBERTS Towy Riders 13’08”
2 Isla MCCUTCHEON Johnstone Wheelers Cycling Club @30"
3 Anna REID Stirling Bike Club @01:03"
4 Christina MCGORUM Peebles CC @01:06""
5 Chaorainn HART Johnstone Wheelers Cycling Club @1 Lap
6 Una MORRICE Glasgow Riderz
1 James DONALDSON Mossley CRT 13’06"
2 Finn HAWKINS Palmer Park Velo RT @32"
3 Calum MOIR Barking & Dagenham CC same time
4 Elliot ROWE Ythan CC st
5 Cormac MCCONVILLE East Kilbride Road Club st
6 Jamie THOMSON Johnstone Wheelers Cycling Club st
1 Isabella ESCALERA VC Londres 22’25”
2 Libby SMITH Fossa Racing @07"
3 Maya TEUFEL TARLTON Lee Valley Youth Cycling Club same time
4 Anna WADSWORTH Beeline Bicycles RT st
5 Alexa HAWKINS Palmer Park Velo RT @1 Lap
6 Natalie BLOOMER VC Londres
7 Eva YOUNG Royal Albert CC
8 Imani PEREIRA-JAMES Glasgow Riderz
9 Grace LISTER Wolverhampton Wheelers
10 Eilidh SHAW Royal Albert CC
1 Max POOLE Bike Box Alan/Envelopemaster 27’03”
2 Finlay PICKERING Clifton CC same time
3 Billy GILBEY VC Londres CC @2'18"
4 Joshua GIDDINGS Heanor Clarion CC same time
5 Innes HARVEY VC Londres C @2'40"
6 Benjamin PEATFIELD Bolton Hot Wheels CC same time
7 Lewis DOLAN Marton Race Team st
8 Ben ASKEY Lichfield City CC st
9 Zachary WALKER Team RL360 Isle Of Man st
10 Tyler HANNAY Team RL360 Isle Of Man st
1 Ella BARNWELL Cranc Cyclesport 39’25”
2 Poppy WILDMAN Nottingham Clarion CC same time
3 Josie GRIFFIN Welwyn Wheelers CC st
4 Anna ARMSTRONG Border City Wheelers CC st
5 Amelia SHARPE Team RL360 Isle Of Man st
6 Ava OXLEY-SZILAGYI PH-MAS VCUK Womens Cycling Team @3"
7 Anna SHACKLEY Glasgow Riderz same time
8 Eve MARTIN Ribble Valley Juniors st
9 Lucy NAYLOR Cycle Sport Pendle @5"
10 Elena SMITH Fossa Racing @10"
1 Lewis ASKEY Lichfield City CC 53’11”
2 Samuel WATSON Chevin Cycles.com Trek same time
3 Dylan WESTLEY Albarosa Cycling Club st
4 Ben TULETT Beeline Bicycles RT st
5 Zach BRIDGES Cardiff JIF st
6 Max WALKER Team RL360 Isle Of Man st
7 Alfred GEORGE Discovery Junior Cycling Club @1'18"
8 Thomas GLOAG VC Londres same time
9 Hamish MACLAREN Johnstone Wheelers Cycling Club st
10 James CODD Maindy Flyers Youth CC st
1 Jenny HOLL Stirling Bike Club 1:09'37"
2 Jessica ROBERTS RST Racing Team same time
3 Pfeiffer GEORGI Giant Cycling Club - Halo Films st
4 Jayati HINE RST Racing Team st
5 Lorna BOWLER Hillingdon Slipstreamers st
6 Gwenno HUGHES Energy Cycles Junior Road Team st
7 Elizabeth BENNETT Cardiff JIF st
8 Kim BAPTISTA Nutcracker Racing st
9 Samantha VERRILL Marton Race Team st
10 Anna DOCHERTY Clifton CC st
1 Fred WRIGHT VC Londres 1:21'54"
2 Jake STEWART Solihull CC same time
3 Thomas PIDCOCK Chevin Cycles.com Trek st
4 Theo HARTLEY Marton Race Team st
5 Harry HARDCASTLE Marton Race Team st
6 Jacob VAUGHAN VC Londres st
7 Alfie FRANKS Zappis Racing Team st
8 Carl JOLLY Hillingdon Slipstreamers st
9 Daniel TULETT Specialized Racing st
10 Joseph NALLY www.Hardie-Bikes.com st