Inter Regional Track Championships

Inter Regional Track Championships


Published: 23 August 2013

Inter Regional Track Championships 2013

The annual event organised by British Cycling is now in it's fourth year, and allows young riders to compete in a team environment. This year it will be held at Glasgow's Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome in Glasgow.

The Scotland Team

Jack Carlin

Ben Forsyth

Stuart Balfour

Rhys Donnelly

Emma Borthwick

Katie McLean

Rhona Callander


Assistant Team Coach, Martin Harris shares his experienses on the Inter Regional Track Championships!

“I applied for and was delighted to be offered the Coaching support role to the Inter Regional Track Team to represent Scotland at the event in Glasgow held over the weekend of 24th - 26th August.

Team manager Laura Irwin, Talent Team Coach Mark Young and newly appointed performance Coach Gary Coltman were responsible for selecting the team. The team is made up of four boys and three girls. The riders to get the call up were Stuart Balfour, Ben Forsyth, Rhys Donnelly, Jack Carlin, Rhona Callander, Emma Borthwick and Katie McLean.

Prior to the event, we were able to have one training session together at the velodrome on the Wednesday evening. The main aims of this were to practice the team events: Team Sprint, Team Pursuit and the Madison. Most of the riders had raced against each other and knew each other, all had competed at events I have organised, so knew me, even if not from the coaching side of the fence! As a number of the riders had just returned from the Nationals, I was not looking for 100% effort, but enough to ensure that the drills planned and required for the events worked well.

From the start it was important to get across how to complete a good warm up on the rollers, as access to the track for warm ups would not be possible once the meeting was underway. The practice drills went well, with only a few techniques needing sharpening, feedback being taken on board and followed by the riders. After two hours, it was away, for all, arranging to meet on the Friday afternoon at 16:00.

Everyone gathered together, packing bikes, rollers and spares into the SC cage at the velodrome. We were lucky to have local Paisley Lad Jack Carlin on board to direct me to the WSU accommodation. On his advice, (and ignore the sat nav) we eventually found the desired location! With everyone booked in, fed and watered we all gathered together for a team meeting. As well as Laura (Team Manager), Leigh Marshall was the designated Team Helper. Races were confirmed and riders were briefed on what was expected of them and backup and help they would get thought out each day.


Day 1

Sprint - Jack Carlin, Stuart Balfour & Emma Borthwick

All the riders put in strong qualifying times in the 200m TT, with Jack taking second place and the resultant easier draw into the next round. Emma by qualifying 8th on the other hand raced against National Champion Sophie Capewell. Sophie won the heat in round 1 despite a very dubious move impeding Emma that went unpunished, Emma taking 8th place for Scotland. Stuart also won his first round heat, eventually finishing 11th. Jack meanwhile used good tactical awareness to progress through to the final, just losing out to Joseph Trueman.

Scratch Race - Rhys Donnelly, Ben Forsyth, Katie Mclean & Rhona Callander

First up were the boys. Both took the race to the other riders, involved in most of the action, probably doing more than they needed to, but being in the right place at the right time. Rhys had a huge effort in the final laps, only to be caught and swamped in the final run in, Ben finishing in 10th.

In the girls race Rhona again was in the mix throughout, with Katie trying and maintaining her place in the bunch. Rhona’s effort being rewarded with a 9th place spot.

Points Race

There was no rest for the endurance riders as they were all up for the points races in the afternoon. Rhona was tasked with getting points in the third sprint and Katie to try and get points, but to make sure she was comfortable in the bunch. Perfect execution saw Rhona collect points in the requested sprint, then continuing to be involved at the front of the race, including a couple of hard attacks. A very competitive race saw a lot of girls taking points, with Rhona finishing 14th and Katie being the fastest non points scorer in 15th place.

Rhys and Ben took on advice, not to do all the work, but to make sure they both scored points. Both were very active throughout, finishing in 11th and 12th places.

The results placed Scotland in 8th place at the end of day 1, with a podium place for Jack.


Day 2

Keirin - Jack Carlin, Ben Forsyth & Rhona Callander

With Sophie Capewell in Heat 1 all the riders were probably looking to go into the reps. In the reps, Rhona was asked to finish in the top 3, which she did with comfort. In the B final she was in second place before contact from the North West rider, finishing 4th. A polite request saw a review and promotion to 3rd place at the expense of the North West rider.

Jack controlled his heat comfortably from the front, easily qualifying for the A/B finals. Ben took 4th in his closely fought heat to move to the C/D finals. Ben followed instructions to a tee, finishing second in his semi to move into the C final and another controlled performance from Jack saw him into the A final. Ben took an excellent 2nd in the C final. In a masterclass A final Jack finished 4th, despite having riders come down early and touch wheels in the last turns.

Individual Pursuit 2KM - Rhys Donnelly, Stuart Balfour, Emma Borthwick & Katie McLean.

Katie now had the chance to use the gates for the first time recording 3.0510, spot on her target for 17th place, Emma taking 11th with a 2:54.36. In the boys draw, Rhys stopped the clock in 2.34.71 and Stuart broke the Scottish record with a 2.26.43 for 5th. 3rd to 6th covered by less than 6 tenths of a second.

500m TT Rhys Donnelly, Jack Carlin, Katie Mclean

Katie’s second time out of the start gates saw her recover from a bad start to record 44.06 for 12th spot. In the boys event, Rhys took 12th with a 37.38, whilst Jack broke the Scottish record, took second with a 34.98. If he hadn’t clipped a sponge in the last turn, superb bike handling kept him upright, he would have taken top slot.

Madison - Rhona Callander, Emma Borthwick, Ben Forsyth & Stuart Balfour

You never know what’s going to happen in the Madison, but two fantastic races ensued. Both teams looking natural, in a very specialised event. The girls taking the race to everyone, with some teams being spat out early on and well down on laps. Plenty of aggressive attacking made the race hard for everyone, an excellent result saw them take 5th place. The boys also produced an excellent performance, watching following and leading, being aggressive and positive throughout. Into the last three laps on possibly the last change, Ben was brought down by a rider undertaking, resulting in a few scrapes and a cut finger and broken forks. This resulted in 3rd place overall, another point in the last sprint, if they hadn’t been impeded could have seen second place.

End of day 6th Overall, 2 podiums and two Scottish Records


Day 3

Finally the team events, with hopes high of challenging for 5th place in the tables.

Team Sprint - Katie McLean, Emma Borthwick, Jack Carlin, Ben Forsyth & Stuart Balfour

The girls went first, finishing 10th with a 41.41 in a close contest. The boys event was just as close, with Scotland qualifying for the finals in 4th spot by 100th of a second. Up against Eastern, they just missed out on a podium slot.

Team Pursuit - Everybody.

The practice from the previous session certainly helped, the changes and performance of the team spot on. The girls put in strong performance to finish in 7th.

The boys also put in a polished performance, working well together, but just down on schedule to see them into the finals, recording 5th best with a 3.34.28, against the second place 3.33.60. The final between the North West and South West was very close, both teams losing rhythm in the final laps. Man two from the North West looked across and celebrated, only to look over his should and see that man 3 was not there......

Overall I was extremely impressed with the effort, commitment and professionalism shown by the riders. They jelled together well as a team and were there to support each other when needed. It was hard work and emotional at times, but from everyone at Scottish  Cycling, including Laura, Leigh and myself would like to thank the riders for their efforts and of course the parents for their support.  Also massive thanks to the management team at the event.

7th Overall, two Scottish records and three podium places, results of excellent efforts. All the boys move up to the junior ranks next year, but watch for Emma Borthwick and Rhona Callander potentially coming back for more. In my opinion and stating the obvious: now that we have the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, given time and the right coaching training opportunities the gaps in the top regions will come down. I think 7th is a great result but looking for 6th or HIGHER next year!!”