The turbulent British summer conspired against the riders and organisers at the Youth Omnium Finals at Halesowen Athletic and Cycling Club as rain disrupted the smooth running of the event. However, it failed to dent the spirits of most of the riders who braved the weather and saw the completion of the event under glowering skies of Birmingham.
There was a good turnout from across the country for the Finals of the Youth Omnium Series, the event that Laura Trott has just thrust into the forefront of the national consciousness with her stunning win in the Olympic velodrome. In fact Trott, herself would have been racing here not many years ago and one couldn't help but wonder if the next track star in waiting was riding the grey tarmac at Halesowen.
The early rounds of the scratch races were completed in glorious sunshine with little or not mishap and the event had moved onto the devil, or eliminator, when the rain came sweeping across the hills and prompted a halt to proceedings. Racing had been fairly cagey in the early stages with only a crash in the Youth A Boys elimination causing a flurry of excitement.
As umbrellas went up across the track, the officials looked worriedly up at the sky, hoping that it would clear to allow the racing to continue. An hour and a half of rain followed, enough to drive most of the riders back to their cars, and some to abandon the idea completely and head for home. At last a break in the cloud appeared and the rain started to ease, leaving the track slick with standing water and no prospect of racing until it was dry.
However, the officials are well used to dealing with the vagaries of the UK climate and brought cars onto the circuit to try and disperse the standing water and speed up the drying process.
By late lunchtime racing began again, albeit with the time trials now brought forward to allow the track to dry further before the completion of the bunch races. To accelerate the programme, 4 riders were set off each lap rather than the usual 2, which made for exciting racing and numerous 'catches' of the slower riders. By the end of the Time Trial rounds the preliminary results looked this:
Under 16 Boys: Leon Gledhill (Planet X)
Under 16 Girls: Grace Garner (RST Race Team)
Under 14 Boys: Matt Walls (Velocity 3-in-One
Under 14 Girls: Sophie Capewell (Litchfield CC)
Under 12s: Noah Ridgway-Brown (Preston Park Youth CC)
With the event now dragging on into the later afternoon, the points race and the sprints were undertaken at a fast pace but with no changes to the overall rankings.
Download Full Results Spreadsheet (60kb xls file)