When round one of the National Youth Road Series was announced to be held on the English Riviera at Torquay, it was a sigh of relief after travelling to exotic places such as Bradford for cyclocross. If the Mid Devon Cycling Club could put on the organisation to match the venue, all signs said this could be a corker and especially if the weather held as the racers would have the seafront as their backdrop.
Arrival for the sighting lap was scheduled between 8.30 – 8.50 a.m, so the racers had very little time to get familiar with the course which admittedly was basically a u-turn dash along the front with a small climb and a loop around Torre Abbey before dropping back to the riviera view. Now from CJ’s initial reconnaissance it was obvious that the final left turn and the sprint was going to sort out the win unless the time trial boys made for an early get away.
A third row start was on offer for CJ after the warm up lap behind the pace motorbike and it was obvious with strong time trialists such as Joshua Tarling (West Wales Cycling Club) and Jamie Whitcher (Poole Wheelers) the start was going to be high octane from the gun and if the winds increased it would make for e a tough day in the saddle… 10.30 a.m. and it was now time to see which of the 72 under 14’s racers had what in their legs.
From the gun Whitcher pushed the pace along the seafront trying to make an early break with no one being able to reel him quickly due to the concertina effect on the first u-turn. Soon the lead group organised themselves and were maintaining a fast tempo which would bring him back to the fold of about 35 racers, as the rest were ejected by the high pace and a spike in their heart rates. But soon another attack followed along the front, this time causing a split and a breakaway group of 10.
Eventually after half a lap some of the chasing group including CJ and Lewis Dolan (Manilla GRN Cycling) took strong turns to bring themselves back, and the front runners now numbered at approximately 20 racers as the tempo eased with some more short flyers by Whitcher which would only string out the group. The dispatched second group from chase kept up the fight and as the lead pack played cat and mouse it was only a matter of time before they caught back on.
Soon enough the group increased to approximately 35 and it was all even pace other than some rare attacks. CJ amongst them along with Noah Hobbs (Lea Valley Youth Cycling Club) and Nathan Hardy (CC Ashwell) taking the opportunity to spread there legs along the front for the crowd and the British Cycling officials in attendance… Now with a few laps to go it was probably the last chance for the non sprinters to play their Joker, but it appears that they had played their cards too late as the bunch were fresh enough to bring whom who tried back into the fold.
Soon the bell sounded and some of the parents of the lead group shouted for positioning of their racers as it was now going down a bunch sprint, CJ placed himself second wheel with half a lap to go behind Mattie Dodds (Velo Club Londres) going down the straight of the final turn as Riley Blackmore (PH-Mas/ Paul Milnes Cycles) went for an early sprint with Noah Hobbs behind. CJ now placed third as Dodds fell back when on the final corner the eventual winner Ben Partridge (Hetton Hawks Cycling Club) took CJ wide and slowed his corner speed giving him more to do in the sprint. Now onto the final straight came the racers going blitzkreig as CJ held his position until the final 10 metres when Jed Smithson (Worx Factory Racing Team) got the drop on him and took the final podium position by a split second.
You Tube VIDEO LINK: RIVIERA YOUTH CLASSIC RND 1 TORQUAY
1 Ben Partridge (Hetton Hawks Cycling Club)
2 Noah Hobbs (Lee Valley Youth Cycling Club)
3 Jed Smithson (WORX Factory Racing)
4 Caelan Miller (Welwyn Wheelers)
5 Euan Woodliffe (Welwyn Wheelers)