2018 racing success comes early to Otley CC

Fortunately, the unexpected and mayhem-causing snow that fell Thursday 8th March quickly melted meaning club members could race at the weekend – and what a fruitful weekend it proved to be with wins and high placings for many of our younger riders.

Jack Coates was our leading road and circuit racer in 2017 and he’s continued his winning ways in 2018. Riding the Barnsley Road Club Spring Crits  on 10th March at the Wakefield BKAT Cycle Circuit, Jack took the victory U16 Boys race.

No to be outdone, some our under 12 racers also stood on the top step of the podium the same day and the following day, Sunday 11th March. Thanks to Stuart Hall for reports and photographs.

It’s been a very busy weekend for some of our younger racers! As well as the club velodrome trip, this weekend was week 3 of the Leeds Cluster Track League and the BSCA National and Yorkshire CX championships. We had a great showing from our younger riders at all three events and it was great to see so many of them out there, despite the inclement weather on Saturday!

In terms of race results, it was also a fantastic showing. At the Leeds Cluster Track League U10 race, Isla Aylward battled through the first U10 race to take 2nd place, with Amy Hodgkins finishing in 3rd place, while Oscar Hall endured a very fast start, but held to his race plan, passing the early leaders to take an excellent 2nd place. In the second race Isla and Oscar improved further and both won their respective categories. In the first U12 race, Ruaridh spent the entire race in a two-man break, stubbornly holding the wheel of the leader and refusing to take the bait and be pushed into the front. A sprint finish to the line had him just pipped into 2nd place. Alex meanwhile spent much of the race battling in the following group of riders and came out ahead to finish in third. For the final race, both riders fought well and stayed in the lead group and the race ended with a nail-biting group sprint finish, with Alex taking 3rd place and Ruaridh coming home in 4th.

After an evening interlude at the Manchester Velodrome for Oscar, the action moved to Spen Valley High School for the BSCA National and Regional CX championships. This is a hotly contended event with 160 riders competing to be crowned national or regional champion. Oscar and Isla represented Otley CC in the U9 race. As expected, a highly competitive field resulted in a fast-paced race. Oscar held off an early challenge from fellow track racer Cormac Denwood from Harrogate Nova to take an excellent 5th place (national) and 3rd place (regional) – a first visit to the podium in his first season racing CX! Isla battled tough, muddy conditions to finish in 5th place (national) and 2nd place (regional). In the U11 race, a lot of familiar faces from the Yorkshire Points CX races indicated that this would be a fast, tough race and so it proved to be. With plenty of spills on a now very muddy course, Ruaridh played the long game and battled strongly throughout to take 11th place (national) and 5th place (regional) in a field of 38 riders.

Provisional Results:

Leeds Cluster Track League – Race 3:
Isla Aylward – 2nd, 1st
Oscar Hall – 2nd, 1st
Ruaridh Aylward – 2nd, 4th
Alex Hodgkins – 3rd, 3rd
Amy Hodgkins – 3rd, 3rd

BSCA National and Regional CX – Spen Valley:
Isla Aylward – 5th (national), 2nd (regional)
Oscar Hall – 5th (national), 3rd (regional)
Ruaridh Aylward – 11th (national), 5th (regional).

See further on in this article for a report on races Ruaridh and Oscar also competed in earlier in the year.


Joe Howcroft decided on The Race of Truth for his weekend competition, riding to a category win in the classic 27 mile hilly Circuit of Ingleborough time trial (TT) on 10th March, promoted by Pendle Forest CC. Thanks to Joe for the report.

The morning started off very wet with slight wind coming from the west. Over 90 entries for this early season classic time trial but the weather brought around 20 non-starters including defending champion and course record holder James Gullen from pro team JLT.

With a headwind start it was going to be hard over the first leg of the course to Settle but my coach Tom Murray had given me a good plan on how to race the circuit. I started number 35, five minutes behind Gethin Butler a previous course record holder and multiple winner of this event. Age hasn’t slowed Gethin down too much and he finished in 3rd position with a time 1:05:40.

After the start I soon got into my rhythm catching a number of riders before Settle. FRom Settle it was cross tail wind and I felt I was on a good ride. To the finish from Ribblehead was a strong tailwind where on the down hill sections I quickly ran out of gears.

The finish couldn’t come soon enough and I knew I had got everything out. I finished with a time of 1:11:05 which was good enough for 8th overall and first Junior. Only slightly quicker than last year but given the conditions I was happy with my performance and not a bad opening race for my season with Otley CC.

The event was won by BAR rider and former national record holder Richard Bideau from the promoting club Pendle Forest with an amazing time of 1:03:13.

All in all this is a great event promoted by Pendle Forest and next year hope to see more of the Otley CC riding. Finally for my efforts my Dad let me ride home, he’s a good lad my Dad.

Looks as though Joe might be angling for a new bike Tim!

Full results and report courtesy of CTT and Snowdon Sports.


Four of our junior riders – James Coates, Robbie Pollard, Toby Kitching and Harry Hunt – travelled to Aintree Racecourse to ride the 57th edition of the Eddie Soens Memorial Race, a 50 mile handicap event for Elite, 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th category male and female riders held on the motor racing circuit at Aintree.

The event was won by Elite rider Jonathan Mould of JLT Condor, with all four Otley riders happy to finish, albeit slightly disheveled.

Full results courtesy of the BC website. Thanks to Harry Hunt for the photographs via his Facebook page.


Eleanor Hunt and Morgan Leeming-Sykes were in action at Tameside Cycle Circuit in Ashton-under Lyne on Sunday 11th March. Thanks to Jon Hunt for report and photographs.

Eleanor started this years racing season off with the Mossley CRT Early Bird round 2 (Round 1 postponed due to the weather) at the Tameside circuit, Eleanor’s first race as a Youth A rider. The 1km circuit has some fast technical bends and on the day quite a hard headwind in places.

30 Laps was the race distance and they all stayed together until the half way mark when Flora Knight (Pink Jersey Race Team) rode away from the group to form a solo break and when no one chased her down Eleanor decided it was time to go, sprinting off the front of the group giving it her all into a strong headwind. Eleanor caught Flora within half a lap and they worked together to increase their lead to half a minute. 5 laps later Flora went again this time Eleanor had nothing left to give and did well to stay away from the chasing bunch. Second for her first race in a new age group is a great start to the season.

Morgan Leeming-Sykes, following in brothers Dexter’s steps, was also racing in the Youth B race. The race wasn’t just her first road race of the year but her first road race ever after having her first winter riding cyclo-cross.

Morgan fought hard to stay with the group but after eventually losing the wheel she battled on her solo ride not giving up to finish the 20 mile race. Great effort for her first road race and Mo will only get stronger as the season develops.

Well done to both girls who are both looking forward to round 3 next Sunday (18th March).


On the same day but at the opposite end of the age spectrum, Stephen Broadley and John Barnett took part in the Yorkshire Cycling Federation 10 mile TT Sunday 11th March on the V910 course based at Fairburn.

An early season event is quite often a struggle and word around the HQ after the finish was that it was just that for many riders, a crosswind making for a difficult ride on the outward leg. Someone obviously didn’t tell Simon Beldon of Team Bottrill/Vanguard how hard it’s was as he recorded a fantastic 20:53 to win the event, 32 seconds faster than the runner-up Richard Sharp of Team Swift, who’s Fiona’s Sharp was fastest woman with 24:48.

Stephen and John, both riding their first event of 2018, recorded 29:13 and 29:53 respectively.

Full results courtesy of CTT.


Ruaridh and Oscar, eager to get back to racing, started the 2018 season outside of Yorkshire in the muddy conditions of a Midlands cyclo-cross on 27th January. Thanks to Jonathan Aylward for report and photographs.

With no local races to compete in after Christmas, Ruaridh and Oscar, with a good season of proper ‘ard Yorkshire cross in their legs, decided to test their mettle further afield.

So down to Nottingham the boys travelled…ready to do battle with the Midlands lot…Sherwood Pines, Derby, Bolsover etc being the local clubs for the final race in the North Midlands cross calendar at an army base just south of Nottingham.
Race preparations weren’t perfect as their Chauffeur cut things a little fine and the boys only had time for 1 warm-up lap before the race started.

Never mind, both boys were ready for action although things were made a little more difficult as ruaridh was only gridded on the third and Oscar was in the free-for-all at the back. During the race, which was on a mainly open grassland course, with a few twists and turns, both boys rode a fine race with ruaridh making up a few places by the finish and Oscar a massive 25 places to finish in 33rd.

It was cold and the rain appeared half way through the event, but overall it was a good event.

Generally, the standard seems higher than that in Yorkshire…with larger field.

Race Name: NDCXL 2017-18 Round 11 Under 12.


Ruaridh Aylward Otley CC U12M place overall 14 place category 14
Oscar Hall
Otley CC U12M place overall 33 place category 30