Podiums, placings and points aplenty

Another couple of weeks of successful competition for those in Otley colours in road and circuit racing.

Lots of points won in bunch racing. And a first ever podium place at The Big One, our home town event!

In the albaRosa CC Summer Series #3 Saturday 23rd June at the local Brownlee circuit Otley girls scored two wins.

Morgan Leeming-Sykes was the victor in the U14 Girls category, gaining her 3 points.

Lucy Ellmore, still riding after her spill 17th June at Round 6 of the North East Youth League, also gained 3 points for her first place in the U16 Girls. Lucy’s written about her race.

“I was the only U16 girl, so naturally won the race! My wrist was fine and only ached a bit. I rode with the splint on, to make sure that it was supported.

“I raced with the two U14 girls that turned up, so it was a very uneventful race. I’m pleased for Matt (Lucy’s brother) who came 2nd and was his first podium”.

Photograph courtesy of Lucy.

Riding in the E/1/2/3/4 Women’s race, Megan Cullen finished 6th.

Jack Coates flew the flag for the boys, winning the U16 Boys category for 3 points with Dexter Leeming-Sykes in 4th.

In the 2/3 category Men’s race James Coates took Otley’s most individual points with 5 for 6th place.

Full results courtesy of BC.

Next day, Sunday 24th June, Joe Howcroft and Luke O’Connell rode a somewhat different type of race, the 120km/75 mile Cwmtillery Glass Centre Monmouthshire Junior Grand Prix.

Part of the British Cycling National Junior Road Race Series Event, the race was based 200 miles away at Hilston  Park in Monmouthshire, Wales.

Out of 84 starters Joe 31st and Luke 59th. Here’s Joe’s report on his race. Photographs courtesy of Tim Howcroft.

“Known for being very hilly and one of the hardest of the national series, the race consisted of one big 40km lap, and 3.5 smaller 23km laps.

“The race kicked off at 11 in the mid-day heat and an early break went straight out of the neutralised zone.

“Halfway round the 40km circuit a big crash occurred on a fast section of road and this split the bunch in two. Fortunately I was able to skid and weave my way through the carnage but unfortunately my team-mate Luke wasn’t so lucky.

“Luke hit the deck but picked himself back up, however his chain had tangled itself around his derailleur and took some time to sort out.

”I knew positioning was key as the shorter circuits were on tight narrow roads and so made sure I was at the front when we hit the 40km mark.

“A fast decent and then a sharp left hand turn onto a climb had the bunch lined out and with the leaders pushing on a split went just behind me.

”A small group of 10 had about 20 metres on the peloton. A second crash occured from this group and again I was able to swerve round but it caused a big pile up behind us.

“We raced hard to the bottom of the climb where the groups started coming back together. I managed to stay on up the finishing climb, however I ran out of legs whilst rolling round the top end of the circuit.

“By the time I got round to the finish line on the next lap, we had been caught by the second big group on the road. We ended up losing 3 minutes on the leaders and I finished 31st. Luke impressively made the time cut and finished after his crash and mechanical”.

Full results courtesy of BC

It’s the time of year for local town centre races, the first of those being the 2018 Ilkley Cycle Races on Wednesday 27th June. Organised by Ilkley Cycling Club, the races are held on a 1.5km circuit with the start and finish on The Grove.

The U14s were first away and the highest placed was Morgan Leeming-Sykes who was 7th in the Girls. In the Boys, Matthew Ellmore was 16th and Paul Wordsworth 19th.

The U16 races brought Otley CCs first points with Eleanor Hunt 5th for 5 and Lucy Ellmore 10th for 1 in the Girls event. James Wordsworth also took 5 points for 5th in the Boys race with Jack Coates scoring 3 for 7th. George Radcliffe finished 11th and Dexter Leeming-Sykes 17th.

Eleanor and Lucy didn’t just work hard in the race, they’ve both also taken the time to write a report on their Ilkley experience. Thank you girls!


“I knew it was going to be really tough this year with the heat and the relentless course.

“The race started as expected with a fast start straight up the hill. I tried to keep near to the front and I’m not sure when, but the girls group split to 5 at the front.

“There were no attacks from anyone – we were all just trying to stay on. Going round the last lap on the final corner I was at the front and cornered way in front of everyone else.

”I knew it would be silly to sit up and sit on the back of the group so I started my sprint from there. It was a big gamble though and as expected the group overtook me before the line and I took 5th place.

”I still really enjoyed the race and it was great to see so many people supporting”.


“I really enjoyed today’s race even though I found it really hard!

“The start was very fast and I got dropped on the hill on the first lap and couldn’t get back onto the group.

“I spent the rest of the race with
two other girls and we caught two more.

“On the 2nd to last lap, I overtook the girl at the front of our group and managed to open up a gap. I didn’t realise that it was so close to the end of the race and didn’t mean to attack, but I’m pleased that I did break away as it meant I didn’t have to sprint.

“I came 10th, which I am happy
with as my goal was to be in the top 10. The hill really tired me out, but I liked how it made the course more interesting and it was one of the races I’ve enjoyed the most.

“Well done to Eleanor, she was really fast today!”

In the 3/4 category event Luke O’Connell was 7th for 3 points. James Veitch finished 31st, Harry Hunt 45th and Liam Mealey 61st.

A mention for the winner Joseph Pidcock, younger brother of Triangle record holder Tom, who took his second victory of the night after winning the U16 Boys race earlier. And in second place was a certain Jonathan Brownlee who some of you may have heard of.

Mixing it with Elite riders in the Men’s E/1/2 category race, including Ilkley’s own World Tour rider Scott Thwaites, Joe Howcroft finished 25th and James Coates 38th.

Full results courtesy of BC.

We could forgive those who rode at Ilkley if they chose to have time off the bike the following night but some decided they hadn’t had enough racing and rode the CDPP Crit Series 2018 #11 at the Steven Burke Circuit near Colne on Thursday 28th June.

Eleanor Hunt obviously didn’t let her hard work the night before affect her as she took victory in the U16 Girls category, earning her 3 points. In the U16 Boys George Radcliffe took 1 point for 3rd place.

James Coates and Joe Howcroft rode the E/1/2/3 race, James finishing 4th for 6 points, with Joe finishing 13th.

Beth Zajac mixed it with the males in the 3/4 category race, finishing 21st.

Full results courtesy of BC.

The same evening at the Hammerstones circuit near Halifax White Rose Youth League Wednesday League 6 (on a Thursday!) Isla and Ruaridh Aylward competed in the U10 category, Isla taking 5th in the Girls, Ruaridh 7th in the Boys:

Full results courtesy of BC.

Closer to home on the tough 94km/58 mile Penny Pot circuit, in the Harrogate Nova Summer Road Race 2018 on Sunday 1st July three of the Race Team netted a fantastic total of 30 points in the Men’s 2/3/4 category event.

Photographs courtesy of Tim Howcroft.

Joe Howcroft got into a five man break which stayed away until the end, Joe coming in 5th for 14 points. James Coates led the chasing bunch over the line for 6th and 12 points with Tom Cullen grabbing 4 points for 12th. Luke O’Connell and Robbie Pollard finished farther back in the bunch.

Full results courtesy of BC.

Wednesday 4th July saw the action move to the club’s home town with the annual running of the town centre races, this year titled the LOGCO Otley Cycle Races.

The event has come a long way from its original incarnation when it was held as a single race on a Sunday morning, not on closed roads as it is now, the first winner in 1985 being Bradford’s Dave Mann who lapped the whole field.

The prestigious event now consists of five races, with the two main races, the Pinsent Masons Otley Women’s GP and the Property Development Otley GP being races in the HSBC UK National Women’s Road Series and the HSBC UK National CIrcuit Series respectively.

The weather this year was a complete contrast to that of 2017 with warm and bright conditions bringing hundreds of spectators out to enjoy a full programme of racing with Otley CC riders competing in all but the Property Development Otley GP.

And for the first time ever an Otley CC rider scored a podium place when Eleanor Hunt took 3rd place and 7 points in The WGC Landscapes Super Prestige Youth A Girls race with Lucy Ellmore in 11th place.

More points in The MAS Design Super Prestige Youth Boys race with Jack Coates winning 5 points for 5th place, George Radcliffe finishing 17th. George has written about the experience of at last being able to ride the Otley event. Photograph courtesy of George.

“Years and years of watching in the rain, wishing to be one of the lucky few to ride the closed streets of Otley finally became reality on Wednesday night. 

“The U16 field consisted of more than 30 riders including the likes of Joe Pidcock and Finley Pickering so it was always going to be a tough evening. My plan was to stay in with the main group for as long as possible and, if I felt strong enough, try and attack. 

“It was attack from the gun as the leading riders immediately tried to get away; the race was similar all the way through in that it was such a fast pace. 

With around 4 laps to go the speed increased shaking off the riders struggling to hang on.  Just 1 lap later as we sprinted up the short but sharp hill, I lost contact with the leaders. 

“Carrying on the effort me and one other rider tried, in vain, to regain contact with the group. Moments after receiving the bell I attacked the rider I was with (in photo) and managed to get away. 

“This left me to ride the remaining 2KM on my own and able, for the first time, to properly soak in the amazing atmosphere. Finished 17th but what a great evening. 

“Vive l’Otley!”

In the Chevin Cycles Classic Race James Coates was 7th for 4 points and Robbie Pollard 10th for 1 point. Luke O’Connell finished in 16th place, Joe Howcroft 32nd and Ben Kettleborough 47th.

Unfortunately, Tom Cullen suffered a crash on the last lap causing a broken elbow which will likely keep him out of action for the rest of the season. We wish Tom well.

Full results courtesy of BC.

8th July 2018