Now to say things started on the backfoot was an understatement as a few days before the race CJ was sent home from school after damaging his toe playing football meaning he could not put pressure on the pedals without pain. Operation ‘Stop the Inflamation’ came into play and luckily with some Ibuprofen, larger shoes and padding he was able to get ready for the eagerly awaited under 12’s Championships.
Upon arrival yet again LVYCC had done the Redbridge Cycling Centre proud with great organisation as always and only the dark brooding weather was looking to put a dampener on the day. Now with a 10.00 a.m. signing on time and the race scheduled for 11.30 a.m. CJ had plenty of time to warm up on his rollers (whilst his mother held a brolly over his head) as things only looked to clear up once Murray was on Centre Court for the finals later in the day.
Soon they were corralled to the holding pen on the alpine section which was not in use on the day where CJ sat at the back before being allowed to head to the ‘bus stop’ section at the lower circuit where there would be no gridding in play. Most parents now headed for the first climb as the whistle was heard in the distance starting the riders as eventually they came past to words of encouragement before heading calmly over the crest.
Ben Askey of RST Racing Team was now pushing the pace causing a slight split in doing so. The first signs of a early breakaway was then put into action on the top circuit short climb and a decent enough gap was evident with only CJ and Zachary Walker of Team RL360 Isle of Man being able to respond on the descent. For a while it looked like the break might hold but eventually they were checked back into the now depleting pack as normal service resumed yet again.
With the rain now falling heavier than the drizzle they started with the pace seemed to temper to a canter for a few laps until Jed Smithson of Hillingdon Slipstreamers again on the top circuit launched a blistering solo attack to make a breakaway. The others watched to see who would make the move to cover as Smithson did a lone descent to the bottom circuit until the commentator informed the crowd that the group were now back together yet again.
Soon enough the bell rang out and with still a large group it was all to play for as they descended for the final loop of the bottom circuit… Now normally most attacks are made once on the climb but this time a Hillingdon Slipstreamer racer went early causing everyone to react sooner rather than later meaning that at the top of the slope everything was still up for grabs.
On the descent now to the final uphill turn CJ placed 5th doggedly holding Askey’s wheel on the outside line as they both now looked like taking two places and sorting out the podium places with Walker already on the front. Alas, as they went into the turn Askey starting drifting wide and eventually off road and like a moth drawn to the flame, CJ for a split second almost went with him before pulling in and launching his final sprint to the line taking a hard fought 2nd place.
Eventually the trophy’s were presented by none other than Maurice Burton the first black British champion in cycling, Also, to our surprise Maurice remembered a photo of CJ and his son Germain (former National Circuit Youth Champion) when they met three years ago as CJ would stalk Germain’s progress on the internet before eventually meeting him and getting a sit down interview to his delight.
Lastly, video here and many thanks to all those involved… Ciao for now.
Congratulations. CJ is doing so well. What an exciting journey. Let me know if you’re ever at the Gravesend Cyclopark, I’ll come up and say hi.