Published: 17 June 2019
Images and Words: 5311 Media
The future stars of Scottish Track Cycling battled it out at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome over three days, with titles won and records broken. As well as seasoned track cyclists, this event would also see graduates from Scottish Cycling’s taster sessions get their first taste of this level of competition.
The event started on Friday evening with the Junior Men 3000m Individual Pursuit. Making their way through the qualifying rounds and into the B Final were the Spokes Racing Team riders Oscar Onley and Logan Maclean. Maclean wasted no time in pulling out a lead on his teammate which Onley just couldn’t make up, giving Maclean the bronze medal, and a Cat 1 license. The A Final saw Aaron King (Spokes Racing Team) line up against Matti Dobbins (RT23).
As the riders powered out their starting gates, it was Dobbins who asserted himself straight away, pulling further ahead with each lap. King gave a spirited effort, however, there was only ever going to be one winner here with Dobbins taking the gold medal and a new Scottish Record for the event with a time of 3:18.97, nearly 6.5 seconds faster than the previous record.
The next event was the Junior Women 500m Time Trial, where impressive rides saw Anna Shackley (Team 22) and Rowan Andrew (Glasgow Riderz) earn podium spots. Neither, however, could better the time set by Lizzie Winton (Stirling Bike Club) who took gold and the title, with Andrew taking silver and Shackley bronze.
The Youth A Girls 500m Time Trial was next on track, and another rider dominating her class was Imani Pereira-James (East Kilbride RC). She won the gold medal convincingly, with the battle for silver medal won by Kirsty Johnson (Edinburgh RC), with bronze going to Eva Young (Pedal Power RT).
The Youth B Boys & Girls 8k Scratch Race was next, and there wasn’t much to split the riders, with nobody able to gain too much of a lead before being reeled back in. Everything hinged on the last lap, where Jamie Thomson (Johnstone Wheelers CC) won the sprint to the line for gold, just ahead of Luis Ryder (Edinburgh RC) and Isaac Small (Deeside Thistle CC). Barely a second behind the boys were the girls, lead by Isla McCutcheon (Johnstone Wheelers CC) in the gold medal position, followed by Molly Evans (Deeside Thistle CC) for silver and Sarah Johnson (Edinburgh RC) for bronze.
The Youth A Boys 12k Scratch Race saw a game of cat and mouse between Daniel Kain (Squadra Scozzese) and Kieran Riley (Rotor Race Team). Riley, who travelled up from his home in Loughborough for the weekend, was shadowed by Kain as the race reached the final few laps. Both riders stayed high as the race entered the final lap, powering home with Riley taking victory by two bike lengths from Kain, with Murray Lawson (East Kilbride RC) taking third.
In the Youth A Girls 10k scratch race, Imani Pereira-James (East Kilbride Road Club) would claim her second gold medal of the weekend, leading home Eva Young (Pedal Power Store) for silver and Eilidh Shaw (Edinburgh RC) for the bronze.
Saturday opened up with the Junior Women Sprint 200m. Rowan Andrew, Hannah Paton-Harris (Team JRC) and Elizabeth Winton (Stirling Bike Club) battle it out over three heats. Winton would dominate both her heats to claim gold with a best time of 0:12:500, with Andrew in the silver medal position, with Paton-Harris in bronze. In the Junior Men Sprint 200m, team-mates Jack Cruden & Jamie Penny (Glasgow Cycle Team) would battle it out. Training together each day, Cruden & Penny would set extremely close times, but Penny would have to settle for silver, with Cruden coming out on top in two of their three heats with a best time of 11:34 to claim gold.
In the Youth A Boys 500m Time Trial, Daniel Kain (Squadra Scozzese) would be looking to get revenge on Kieran Riley (Rotor Race Team). Setting a time of 34.870 Kain would earn his second silver medal of the weekend, with Ross Birrell (Edinburgh RC) claiming the bronze with a time of 35.120, but it was Riley would win another gold with a time of 34.150.
In the Youth B Girls Omnium, Isla McCutcheon (Johnstone Wheelers CC) would claim victory in all three events; the 500m Time Trial, Keirin, and 8k Scratch Race, earning her second gold medal of the weekend.
Filling the 2nd, 3rd and 4th places respectively in the first two events were Molly Evans (Deeside Thistle CC), Evie White (Deeside Thistle CC) and Sarah Johnson (Edinburgh RC). In the 8k Scratch, it was Johnson who would take second behind McCutcheon, with White third and Evans fourth. The overall points total was unaffected, however, with Evans taking silver by one point from White who took the bronze.
In the Youth B Boys Omnium it was a similar story. Jamie Thomson (Johnstone Wheelers CC) would take the win in all three events to earn his second gold of the weekend. Going into the 8k Scratch Race, Isaac Small (Deeside Thistle CC) was looking comfortable having taken two seconds in the TT and Keirin. Behind him, with one point splitting them were Samuel Edgar (Johnstone Wheelers CC), and Cormac McConville (East Kilbride RC). Small would take a 6th place in the Scratch Race, and after a bit of arithmetic, he claimed the silver medal by 1 point, from McConville who secured bronze with a 4th place in the Scratch Race to overtake Edgar in the final standings.
The Youth A Girls 15k Points Race had Morven Yeoman (East Kilbride RC) challenging her club mate Imani Pereira-James for the gold medal, with further challenges coming from Eilidh Shaw (Edinburgh RC), Eva Young (Pedal Power RT) and Isla Long (Deeside Thistle CC). Yeoman, Shaw and Young all scored points in the sprints, but nobody could match the power of Pereira-James who took maximum points to secure yet another gold medal to her collection. Yeoman took a strong second for the silver medal, with Shaw just three points behind for the bronze.
The Youth A Boys Points 15k Race was a close fought affair, with sprint points scattered across the entire field of 15 riders. By the time they crossed the finish line for the last time, only 4 points would separate the top four riders Fergus Robinson (Glasgow Riderz) would just miss out on a podium spot by 1 point, with Alexander MacLeod (Deeside Thistle CC) earning a bronze medal, just two points behind the silver medal winner Kieran Riley (Rotor Race Team). Riley had started the final lap on 13 points, which put him in a gold medal position at that point in the race. Ross Birrell (Edinburgh CC), on the other hand, entered the final lap on 4 points, which was well off a podium spot.
That was clearly of no concern to Birrell who put in a storming final lap to cross the line first, earning him a valuable 10 points, and the gold medal, just 1-point clear of Riley who failed to score on his final lap.
The final race of Saturday was the Junior Men 20k Scratch Race. A field of nine riders took to the track for 80 laps, but 25 laps in and disaster struck. Entering the home straight, a group of riders came together sending them tumbling down the track with a bang. Hamish MacLaren (Sprockets CC) came off worst and it was a few minutes before he exited the track. The race was red flagged and all the other riders would regroup and start again after a short break, with the full 80 laps reinstated. Sadly MacLaren would not join the other riders for the restart. Also involved in the crash was Matti Dobbins (RT23) who dusted himself down and, once the race restarted, it was business as usual. A few sprints and probing by riders as the race progressed never really amounted to much, and it was only with 8 laps to go that the Spokes Racing Team duo of Oscar Onley and Logan Maclean broke away, taking themselves a good quarter of a lap clear. They held that gap until the start of the final lap, when the other riders, lead by Dobbins, swept past them. Sporting a cut to his right knee from the earlier crash, Dobbins would hold that lead until the line to claim the gold medal just ahead of Aaron King (silver)and Adam Mitchell (bronze) (both Spokes Racing Team).
On to Sunday and, whilst some riders contesting multiple events may have been feeling a little tired by this stage, they certainly weren’t showing that on the track. The day got started with the Youth A Girls Sprint, with the East Kilbride RC duo of Kiera Chan and Imani Pereira-James going head to head over a series of rounds. Chan used all her skill to try and outfox her opponent, but had to settle for the silver medal as Pereira-James used her power to win her fourth gold medal of the weekend.
In the Youth A Boys Sprint, the crowd were treated to some excellent tactical racing, with track stands aplenty, riders never letting their eyes stray too far from their opponents
By the time the riders were whittled down to the last four, Daniel Cutler (East Kilbride RC) would face off against Cameron Brown (Discovery Junior CC) for the bronze medal. Cutler had been looking good in the earlier rounds, but was narrowly edged out in Match A (12.48s) and Match B (12.24s) by Brown to take the bronze medal, the winning margin in both matches being less than a bike length. Competing for the gold and silver medals were Ross Birrell (Edinburgh RC) and Daniel Kain (Squadra Scozzese). In Match A, both riders stayed high, Birrell in front, checking over his shoulder for Kain, before swooping down for the final sprint to the line. Kain gave chase but couldn’t catch Birrell who took the first match by just over a bike length in a time of 11.5s. In Match B, both riders again took themselves high up the track with Birrell in front. In an almost carbon copy of Match A, Birrell would lead the charge for the line, with Kain closing in. Birrell held on though, winning with a time of 11.63s to take the old medal, with Kain in the silver medal position.
The Junior Women’s Keirin was contested by Elizabeth Winton (Stirling Bike Club), Rowan Andrew, and Hannah Paton-Harris (Team JRC). Paton-Harris would lead the riders out, Winton happy to sit back until the derny exited the track, then blasted off underneath Paton-Harris and Andrew, leaving both in her wake. Winton would take gold convincingly, with Andrew three seconds behind for silver, and Paton-Harris taking the bronze medal.
In the Junior Men 1k Time Trial four riders battled it out, with Jamie Penny (Glasgow Cycle Team) first to put in a time, coming home in 1:06.920. Next to go was Aaron King (Spokes Racing Team) who knew he would have to do something special to beat Penny, but that’s exactly what he did, with a time of 1:06.590. Third man was Matti Dobbins (RT23) who couldn’t match the pace of Penny or King, setting a time of 1:09.950.
Last to go was Alexander Ball (Edinburgh RC) who just missed a podium spot with a time of 1:10.720. Gold taken by a delighted King, with the silver going to Penny, and the bonze to Dobbins.
The Youth C Girls Omnium event was hotly contested by Arabella Blackburn (Deeside Thistle CC), Erin Boothman (East Kilbride RC) and Anna Birrell (Edinburgh RC). Each girl would win one event each, Birrell winning the 500m Time Trial, Blackburn winning the Keirin, and Boothman winning the Scratch Race. Blackburn picked up two second places to go with her win to give her a points total of 5 to claim gold, Boothman ending up with 6 points which was good enough for silver, and Birrell on 7 points for the bronze. It was a slightly different story in the Youth C Boys Omnium, with a dominant Adam Murray (East Kilbride RC) winning all three events to claim the gold medal. His nearest rival was James Sweeney (Stirling Bike Club) who took silver with a points total of 7, ahead of his club mate Struan Shaw for bronze with 11 points.
The Junior Men Points Race would see the riders battle it out over 100 laps. Seven riders would begin the race, but only five would finish. Everyone started out strongly, swapping the lead, breaking away to see who would follow. It was only with 44 laps to go that the race saw riders bow out, first to go being one of the favourites Matti Dobbins (RT23). He was followed soon after, with 38 laps to go, by Kyle Thomas (Edinburgh RC). This would leave Alexander Ball (Edinburgh RC) at the mercy of four strong riders all representing Spoke Racing Team, Aaron King, Logan Maclean, Adam Mitchell and Oscar Onley.
Onley had been scoring steadily during the sprints, often to be seen leading the riders and keeping himself in a good position, but after the departure of Dobbins and Thomas, Maclean took the opportunity to add to his points tally winning sprints at the end of Lap 50 and Lap 70 to put himself 4 points clear of Onley and Mitchell. It was Mitchell, however, who had the strongest showing in the closing stages, winning sprints at the end of Lap 80 and 90.
King would storm back to finish the race with a sprint win and 10 points to add to his tally, followed home by Maclean, Mitchell, Onley and Ball in that order. By the time the points were added up Ball would have 8 points and King 18. Winning the bronze medal was Onley with a total of 18 points. The silver medal would go to Maclean on 30 points, with gold going to Mitchell who scored 31 points.
In the Junior Women 2k Individual Pursuit, Anna Shackley (Team 22) would take the win and the gold medal over Beth Morrow (Edinburgh RC). Shackley set a blistering pace, not only good enough for the win, but setting a new Scottish Record in the process, with a time of 2:30.5.
The Youth A Girls 2k Individual Pursuit saw Eilidh Shaw (Edinburgh RC) up against the East Kilbride RC duo of Morven Yeoman and Imani Pereira-James. After qualifying heats it would be Shaw and Pereira-James lining up for the gold medal ride. Pereira-James would continue her undefeated run with an emphatic win, setting a time of 2:36.270 for her fifth gold medal of this Championships, Shaw coming home in 2:48.520 for silver, with the bronze going to Yeoman.
The Youth A Boys 2k Individual Pursuit saw some close racing in the qualifying heats, but two riders set themselves apart from the rest of the field, Daniel Kain (Squadra Scozzese) and Kieran Riley (Rotor Race Team) earning a place in the gold medal ride. The bronze medal would be contested by Ross Birrell and Alexander Gibb (both Edinburgh RC). Birrell would claim the bronze with a time of 2:24.930, with Gibb coming home in 2:26.650.
In the gold medal ride the pace was electric, both Kain and Riley trying to better the times they had set in qualifying. After qualifying, Kain set a new Scottish with a time of 2:17:720. Riley had also beaten the old record with a 2:17.810. In the gold medal ride neither could quite match their earlier times, but Kain would claim gold in 2:18.050, still ahead of the old record. Riley would take silver in 2:19.700.
This Championship weekend saw incredible racing from all the riders, some seasoned campaigners, others in their first year of competition, but everyone giving 100%, and most importantly enjoying themselves. If these riders are the future of Scottish Track Cycling, then the future is bright and they should all be rightly proud of their accomplishments during these Championships. Thanks to all the Commissaires, Officials, First Aid and volunteers who made the weekend such a success, not forgetting the parents, and everyone else who attended to support their riders.