Over 30 enthusiastic young riders took to their bikes at the Redditch Festival in Headless Cross on Saturday 18th August, as Redditch Road and Path Cycling Club hosted a Go-Ride Games event for under 16s new to the sport of cycling.
For most of the youngsters, it was their first experience of any form of competitive cycling, but with the club providing encouragement and coaching advice for individuals on the course, all of the riders were ready to take to the start line once they felt more confident.
The competition was split into different age categories with two courses running parallel. Course one was for ten year olds and younger and course two for eleven year olds and older. Individuals raced to complete the course in the best time they could with no penalty points. Penalties were incurred if any of the markers were clipped, the bottle not picked up or set down correctly (course wwo only), failing to stop (track stand) at the appointed place or knock the limbo off its perch. There was determined riding and a strong competitive edge present throughout. Several riders came time and again to improve their performance and beat their own time in an attempt to be the best in their age group.
Three year old Lauren Oldfield was the youngest competitor and completed Course One in a very respectable 57.09 seconds to take a very special gold medal, T-shirt, certificates and water bottle. Ten year old, Paige Challoner showed some natural talent on her first ever competitive cycling event as she was the fastest girl in any of the age groups on course one with a time of 27.64 seconds. She took the silver medal in her age group, beaten by only 1.2 sec from ten year old Scott Matthews who was the quickest and most skilful on the day (26.44 seconds on course 1) winning the gold medal for the age 10 group.
Fraser Salkeld was the fastest 11 year old with a time of 27.29 seconds and beat all the other under 16 competitors who competed on course two. Amelia Matthews (13 yrs) was the fastest girl on course two (47.21 sec).
The Mackie brothers were the most successful family who took part, taking home gold (Patrick 12yrs), silver (Dominic 8yrs) and bronze (Gregory 7yrs) medals between them.
Each age-group winner received a gold medal, certificates, commemorative T-shirt and water bottle, all of which had been provided by British Cycling (BC). Second and third places received silver and bronze medals respectively, certificates and water bottles. Every competitor was awarded a commemorative certificate and water bottle from BC and a goody bag supplied by Worcestershire County Council’s ‘Choose How You Move’ initiative. However, the key hope is that the experience of taking part in Go-Ride Games will encourage the young riders to come back for more.
Certainly, with so many new faces at the event on Saturday, volunteers with Redditch Road and Path Cycling Club are hoping to see lots of the riders return for regular club sessions.
Pam Yates (RRPCC Youth Secretary) was really pleased with the turnout for the event and the number of riders who took part. She said: “We were really looking forward to this special event which we hoped would attract lots of young riders who had been inspired by the performances of Team GB at the Olympic Games. We think these grassroots races are absolutely crucial if we are to make sure the London Games leaves a lasting legacy through inspiring young people to take up sport. All newcomers are welcome to join us at our weekly club training sessions in Headless Cross and the Abbey Stadium and we look forward to giving as many people a taste of cycling as possible!
We’re always keen to attract new members to the club as we believe cycling is a great sport for people of any age to try so we hope to see lots more people at our regular weekly events.
I would also like to thank the dedication of the 15 volunteer club members, and Louise Day (British Cycling Go-Ride Coach for the West Midlands), who provided practical support throughout the day. Without them the event could not have taken place. Thank you.”
The Redditch Road and Path Cycling Club, based in Redditch, is a British Cycling Go- Ride accredited club with an active membership from age 3 to 83. The club promotes participation in all disciplines of cycling and provides opportunities for coaching and competitive cycling to the local community. For more information and contact details, visit www.rrpcc.co.uk.
For more information on all available Go-Ride activities please visit the Go-Ride homepage.