Published: 19 August 2013
Photos: Andy Whitehouse
Young Welsh cyclists took to the boards of Manchester for the 2013 National Youth and Junior Track Championships, competing against the best of the youthful British cycling talent.
Joe Holt of County Cycles RT walked away with two golds and a silver after a very strong start to his week by winning the U16s Pursuit. His win in the pursuit set the tone for the rest of the week with an impressive win in the Points race followed by a silver in the Scratch race at the end of the week.
Megan Barker of Cardiff AJAX claimed a silver medal in the Scratch race event after a nail biting sprint to the line. Barker who took the race on in the final stages managed to hold off a hard charging pack to claim the silver.
In the U14 Girls Omnium, it was a very impressive Welsh 1, 2, 3 with Jess Roberts of Towy Riders on the top step of the podium followed by Sophie Williams of Cardiff JIF in second and Emily Tillett of Cardiff JIF taking the bronze. Roberts and Williams were equal on points going into the final event, the 500TT, but it was Roberts who produced the fastest time to take the overall win. Tillett was delighted with her bronze medal after some strong performances in the match sprint part of the competition put her in the running for a medal.
Rhys Britton of Cardiff JIF was in inspiring form in the U14 Boys Omnium by winning all four events. Britton’s sheer speed and power was consistent throughout the competition and he never really looked in any trouble on his way to the title. Fellow Welshman Oliver Postle finished in 10th, James Tillett just outside the top 10 in 12th.
Elynor Backstedt of Maindy Flyers was making a name for herself in the U12 Girls Omnium by taking silver and really made overall winner Anna Armstrong work hard for her gold. It came down to the final TT event of the omnium where Elynor came second by the narrowest of margins but this was enough to give Anna the overall win. Towy Riders' Ella Barnwell, who started riding on the track in January, secured bronze in the omnium.
Zach Bridges of Newport Olympic CC walked away from championships with a well deserved bronze medal. Zach battled hard throughout the day putting in some strong performances in the sprint and TT events to earn himself the bronze.
Thomas Scammell of Performance Cycle Coaching was back on form after a season dogged with injury by taking victories in the Sprint and Keirin competitions. Scammell claimed the sprint title by beating fellow Welshman Max Nethell of County Cycles. Nethell, who has been away from the sport for a few years, made his intentions clear with some impressive rides to gain a place in the gold-silver ride off.
Joe Wiltshire of Cwmcarn Paragon came close to a bronze medal in the Junior Men’s Points race by taking a lap late on in the race but his breakaway companion Joe Evans picked up points in an earlier sprint to edge Wiltshire out of bronze.
There was a good spread of medals for the Junior Women across most disciplines at the Championships. There was gold for Amy Hill of Abergavenny RC in the Women's Points with Hayley Jones taking the Bronze. Hill claimed the title from Emily Kay after a hard fought battle. A sprint mid race had to go to a photo finish which then needed to be looked at again for confirmation after the finish. Hill was given the maximum points by a few mm’s.
In the Individual Pursuit Hayley Jones took silver with fellow Welsh rider Emily Nelson of Bike Pure Racing Team claimed bronze.
Ellie Coster of Bush Healthcare claimed two bronze medals in the Women’s Sprint and 500m TT going up against the recently crowned World Junior Champion, Danielle Khan, in both events. Coster put up a really good fight against Sophie Capewell in the sprint semi finals but it was Capewell who narrowly made it into the gold medal ride off.
The championship provided a fantastic week of racing for the Welsh riders and the future of track racing in Wales has never looked stronger.