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Report: Manchester Youth Omnium
Northern Area Youth Omnium (part of National Track Youth Omnium Series)
Event: 11th June 2011
Promoted by: Eastlands Velo
Venue: National Cycling Centre, Manchester
Report: Ian Bury
100 youth riders descended on Manchester Velodrome for the final round of the Northern Series of the Youth Omnium. The large entry, rumoured to be the largest ever entry for a regional omnium gave the organisors a nice headache organising the program to ensure that the event could be run in the time allocated and also ensure that a fair result was achieved.
Riders appeared from Scotland, The Isle of Man, The North East and also the Midlands. There were many riders who were regulars in the omnium series from previous years and also some riders who very first timers to the omnium experience.
The program was rearranged in the week leading up to the event to secure extra track time and also split the youth A races into 2 races for each bunch race.
In the hotly contested under 12 category there was one clear winner; Thomas Humphrey of Wakefield Junior Triathlon Club who have produced a number of talented track riders over the years. Thomas produced an impressive 1500m pursuit time of 2min 14sec putting almost 6 seconds into his nearest rival and then continued his domination by winning all his races despite close attention from Eastlands riders Lewis Hartley, Thomas Lowe and Luke Cheetham who finished in 2nd, 3rd and 4th position overall. Callum Shackley continued to show his good form from last year and the full track shows that there is an abundance of talent developing for the future.
In the Under 14 girls category it was a real ding dong battle between Grace Garner of Leicester and Paige Milward with the girls trading places every race. Going into the last event a 500m time trial Paige was leading by 1 point overall and the pressure was on both girls to produce a result. Grace got a strong start and maintained pace throughout the two lap sprint taking the victory in the event, drawing level points with Paige within the omnium and then taking overall victory because of the fastest time trial. Very impressive racing indeed..... Indeed Grace's time was faster than all the under 14 boys aswell clearly a girl who knows how to handle pressure!
Under 14 boys saw 22 riders hotly contesting the Omnium, with Thomas Rotherham clearly stamping his mark on the track. Intelligent riding ensure that Tom was positioned well in all events, clearly local knowledge of Manchester Track and clear commitment to aggressive riding ensured that his lowest position was second easily securing overall victory. Battling for 2nd, 3rd and 4th was a three way battle between Chris Dowling, Reece Wood and James Risk . There was never more than a bike length between them and at the end there was only 1 point between the three of them, the 500 time trial confirming the podium positions.
The U16 girls category was closely contested and had riders venturing into omnium races for the first time along with the more experienced riders who have been riding at Manchester for years. Aire Valley Wheelers as per the Under 16 boys provided positions 1 and 2 for the podium, Melissa Lowther winning all of her events bar the time trial.
In the U16 boys races the large crowd and organisers were treated to some fast, quality racing which was of a standard way above the boys' age. The two heats per bunch race worked well with the young people racing with strength, bravery and real tactics to ensure that achieved the best results in each race. The ride of the day was from Oli Wood of Aire Valley RT in the points race. He managed to clip off the front of the fast moving bunch and for 6 laps fought to try to lap the field. He closed to within 50 metres of the bunch and then bunch accelerated to contest a mid race points sprint. This left him with work to do and his expression certainly showed it was hurting. He dug in and finally he managed to catch up the back of the bunch to the delight of the crowd and the organisers. Oli, however, was not content with finishing in the bunch and picked up his heels again and rode to the front of the bunch finishing in first position.
Aire Valley Wheeler rider Oli Wood took the overall with team mate Jake Womersly taking 2nd. Jake Ragan of Wallis Cycles finished off the podium in third.
Having organised this event last year it was great to see riders returning a year wiser, stronger and very keen to ride their bikes on the wooden boards of Manchester. We were impressed last year by the quality of racing, this year we overwhelmed with the track craft demonstrated by the young people. Surely cycling's future is safe if what we saw today is a demonstration of the UK talent?
Prizes again were very generously provided by Paul Hewitt Cycles of Leyland who continues to show their support for the future stars of cycling.
British Cycling would like to thank the organising team, officials and everyone else who helped promote this event. Our sport could not exist without the hundreds of people, many of them unpaid volunteers, who put in many hours of hard work running events, activities and clubs.