It was time again to head to CJ’s least favourable circuit for round 4 of the National Youth Circuit Series and this time he would be a pup amongst the older under 12 big dogs. Preparation was not ideal though as he spent the best part of the week being away from home at his first school vacation (PGL) and sneaking in games of Connect 4 after lights out with his friends and only coming home the day before exhausted from the full days of activities.
Anyway, he knew there would always be many more races but that would be the last time with his school friends as they all move on later in the year to school/pastures new….. Now, lets say his rookie year in the class has been interesting and he can now visually see the size and strength of the older boys/girls and can feel it in their attacks but time and nature waits for no manchild so deal with it he must, though I once explained in context to his train set that no matter that a D cell battery maybe the same voltage as a smaller C cell, it can push more current when required (simples).
Now a field of 69 racers were entered and with no grid position he was unfortunate to be on the back row and as the action started the main players quickly got the pace to the red zone as he fought just to move up in the pack. By lap two things were shaking out as the likes of Bevan Smith, Luke Prenelle, Billy Gilbey, Joel Corbishley and others attacked and covered attacks at random and CJ says at one point the option of getting dropped looked rather appealing already fatigued.
Soon near half the racers had been jettisoned and were now finding smaller groups and allies in order to just finish the race as the front-runners created havoc with the pace in the ten lap War of the Under 12’s. CJ hovered around mid-pack in the lead group just trying to get a flow with his team-mate Noah Hobb’s either in front or as rear gunner. Escapes were tested by Max Poole, Luke Prenelle and Owen Lightfoot as well as Eastern/Central League cyclocross winner Joe Kiely. Soon things settled down and CJ had found his second wind and was now in for the duration or as Ice Cube once rapped “This is a Gang, and I’m in it”….
It was now going to go down to the bell for the spoils and CJ was still mid-pack and not looking anywhere near contention but soon enough he and his team-mate started to move forward after the final climb and down the back straight. Now frenzy is the description as the racers came into view down the approximately 200 metre finishing straight with parents screaming in anticipation of their youth and sure enough the next ten seconds plus was fever pitch.Joshua Giddings appeared to be holding them off to the line but Billy Gilbey using his track skills to great advantage focused on the prize ahead as Max Poole and the others in close proximity battled to get to him as they crossed the line. CJ rolled in a few seconds later to the rear of main group taking 23rd boy and looking not best pleased as I wondered why he’d dropped back from the last position he was in whilst in view. Eventually he informed that he was punted of the circuit on the penultimate corner by an erratic racer sending him grass tracking and by the time he hit the tarmac again the race was done with only scraps to fight for.
Soon the results were out and Gilbey had indeed snatched his second victory in the Series and showing again the promise we’d seen a couple of years ago at Kent CycloPark. Not a classico for CJ but least it was a victory for the Southerners so we’ll take that for sure. CJ also gave a shout to Ayrton Smith with a good result and Owen Lightfoot who he remembers racing at Alconbury Airfield a couple of years ago and still looked good style wise on a bike.
Strangely a lot of the talk was about the new rules for next season and the requirement for deep sections to be under 40mm due to costs ‘perceived’ or otherwise! Now looking at the pictures there are deep sections a plenty but other than a ‘perceived’ advantage most youths/adults just like the look of damn things. So now a market opens up for 24mm or 30mm hoops or even some Zipp 202’s at a grand. Token waste of time as a parent whose son is on the Olympic Programme said to me “the term ‘Youth’ has nothing to do with what’s going on, I’m spending thousands”…. Also, remember Bradley Wiggin’s mother was £50,000 in debt due to him wanting to spin a wheel though Antipodeans, Colombians and a particular Kenyan would laugh at the thought and they are in the Peloton. Let’s put it this way, a salesman in a Cycle Surgery City branch took a sale for over £400.00 with a customer wanting helmet and glasses for an under 10… He knew it was wrong to take the money as against say buying a more expensive but safer car seat for your child, but he took the money anyway… Brits spend money on their siblings because they can indulge them, but be wary as one day the indulgence may become a necessity that will not be ‘perceived’ or otherwise so start saving just in case.
Ciao for now…