Road & circuit racing – The Blue Train success continues

Usually we’d present reports in chronological order but let’s break with tradition and celebrate a win at a local event, this time at the Skipton Town Centre Races on Wednesday 11th July, complementing the great performances in the Ilkley and Otley Town Centre events.

James Wordsworth took the win in the U16 Boys race, beating some notable riders in the process, and there were great performances from other Otley riders too. Chris Radcliffe has kindly provided a report and photographs from the races.

The Blue Train

“Skipton town centre was much quieter than the last year, something about a football match….. They should have come to watch Otley CC racing, plenty more action and a much better result! 

“We had 3 riders in the U14, with Matt Elmore, Paul Wordsworth and Morgan Leeming Sykes. After only a couple of laps there was an incident on the bottom corner causing Paul to come off and hit the barrier, Matt being held behind the crash but able to ride on, eventually finishing 11th.

“Unfortunately Paul fell hard on his arm and had to go for precautionary X-rays, but he is OK. Mo was not involved and looked to enjoy her race, finishing 2nd for 2 points.

“There were plenty of Otley riders and plenty of action in the U16, with and Jack Coates, George Radcliffe, Dexter Leeming-Sykes and James Wordsworth, with Lucy Elmore and Eleanor Hunt starting a few seconds later in the girl’s race. 

“Both races were fast from the start on the short and technical course. Otley riders were dominating the race, Jack leading for one lap, then George went off the front on the penultimate lap, followed by James who put in a great attack after the bell to finish 1st for 10 points, with Jack in 5th, taking 5 points. Dexter finished 16th and George 18th. 

“It was equally exciting in the girls race, their pack lapped by the boys, things up a bit, Eleanor coming in for 5th place (5 points) and Lucy 7th (3 points).

There was only James Coates representing OCC in the E/1/2 field, but he put up a very good showing and stayed with the main bunch for the whole race as many lesser riders dropped off the fast pace and were systematically pulled out of the race, finishing 20th for the last remaining point”

Well done to James W on his win and to all our points scorers and finishers!

Full Youth Races and E/1/2 results courtesy of BC.

On to events the night following the excitement of the Otley Town Centre races, held in the calmer surroundings of dedicated cycling circuits but still as competitive.

The White Rose Youth League 2018 Thursday League 5 was held Thursday 5th July at the Brownlee Centre, many Otley riders standing on the podium and scoring points.

Eleanor Hunt, fresh from her podium the night before, was our highest finisher, winning the U16 Girls category and 3 points, Lucy Ellmore in 2nd place for 2 points.

In the U16 Boys Dexter Leeming-Sykes was 2nd for 2 points and in the U14 Boys, Matthew Ellmore took 1 point for 10th place.

Isla Aylward and Amy Hodgkins were 2nd and 4th respectively in the U10 Girls, while in the corresponding Boys category Ruaridh Aylward was 4th and Oscar Hall 5th. Edward Holmes rode the U8 Boys event, finishing in 3rd place.

Full results courtesy of BC.

Over in Lancashire the same evening at the CDPP Crit Series 2018 #12 on the Steven Burke Circuit near Colne more points were being scored for Otley CC. James Coates and Robbie Pollard rode the E/1/2/3 event, James finishing 2nd for 8 points, Robbie taking 3 points for 8th. Jack Coates finished 11th.

In the U16 Boys, Sam Howcroft was 7th.

Full results courtesy of BC.

And yet another circuit race for Otley that evening at The Bike-Inn Summer Night Series #11 at Middlesbrough Sports Village where Luke O’Connell placed 8th in the E/1/2/3 race for 2 points.

Full results courtesy of BC.

The following weekend, Robbie Pollard and Joe Howcroft competed in a stage race near Darlington. Robbie’s written a report on his and Joe’s weekend ride.

“The weekend of 7th and 8th July Robbie and Joe took part in the Andy Oliver Memorial 2-Day Road Race event promoted by Ferryhill Wheelers in the north east, based at North Cowton.

“Stage 1 was a fast rolling 65 miles of racing in hot conditions, which provided an aggressive and tactical race as a lot of riders had teammates to work with.

“Robbie had a mechanical early on but managed to get on the back of the convoy and wiggle his way back into to a group to resume the race.

“As the race was such a high pace it was inevitable that it would be an elite group that would win the stage which eventually it did.

“A small group filtered off the front and the pace made it very difficult for other riders to get across to form a larger group. A few strong lads did bridge the gap and eventually formed a 16 man group which unfortunately both Robbie and Joe missed.

”They both worked hard to get across but it wasn’t meant to be and they finished 21st and 23rd on the stage. They learnt a lot from their tactical mistakes and Tim Howcroft, team manager for the weekend, made it clear what they were. (I bet he did!)

Stage 2 was another 60 miles of racing in very hot condidtions. This stage was very fast as it was a lot flatter and on faster roads.

“Again, a mega agressive start to the race and Joe and Robbie both knew they had to do something spectacular in the stage to get anywhere in GC.

”Both riders worked hard, getting in the early breaks but that wasn’t to last too long and after having a quick chat they both realised it was coming down to a bunch sprint which was going to be very scratchy as it was on a tight twisty road.

”They’d both agreed before the stage about which rider to follow in the sprint if they were together and if they were, for Joe to lead Robbie out for the bunch gallop.

“Luckily enough they got themselves together and Joe did a cracking lead out and got Robbie into the right wheels to follow. Unfortunately Robbie got a tad boxed in in the sprint but found some small gaps and wiggled his way into 8th on the stage, also getting into the money plus securing 2 points.

“The money was shared as they had pre discussed before the race, agreeing that if they worked together and won some then they would do so.

“All in all a great but hard weekend of racing for the boys, a lot of things to learn from and some great riding and tactical work to take away for the future. Brilliant well organised race, shame Tom Cullen who was meant to also be riding couldn’t make it but hopefully next year we’ll have a good team up there”.

Full results courtesy of BC.

While Robbie was sprinting for 8th place on Stage 2 of the Ferryhill Wheelers event, some of our younger riders were competing in the 2018 HSBC UK National Youth Circuit Championships at Oliver’s Mount in Scarborough.

Eleanor Hunt was 18th in the U16 Girls race and in the U16 Boys, George Radcliffe was 40th, Jack Coates 76th and Dexter Leeming-Sykes 80th.

Full results courtesy of BC.

Back to the Steven Burke Circuit on Thursday 12th July for the CDPP Crit Series 2018 #13.

Eleanor Hunt’s good form continues, winning the U16 Girls race and taking 3 points.

James Coates repeated his performance from 7 days earlier in round 12, taking 2nd place and 8 points in the E/1/2/3 race, cousin Jack Coates taking 14th.

Jack also rode the 3/4 category event, taking the victory but unfortunately no points as he was riding a different category race to his usual U16 allotted one. Harry Hunt finished 18th.

In the U16 Boys, George Radcliffe was 6th.

Full results courtesy of BC.

The same night, Luke O’Connell, riding The Bike-Inn Summer Night Series #12 in Middlesbrough, was bringing home 9 points – but from two different events.

Luke’s highest placing was 5th in the E/1/2/3 event, winning him 5 points, and he also took 4 points in the 3/4 category event in which he finished 6th. Chapeau Luke for riding two events on the day and day and scoring points in both!

Full results courtesy of BC.

Round 7 and the final round 8 of the North East Youth League (NEYL) were held Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th July and both events were important in Lucy Ellmore’s quest to win the series overall.

Round 7 including North East Youth Circuit Race Championships, promoted by Stockton Wheelers, was held on the Saturday at Middlesbrough Sports Village.

Lucy’s weekend racing got off to a good start with 2nd in the U16 Girls race, winning her 2 points.

Lucy has written about her race and how important it was to her.

“I raced the 7th round of NEYL, which was also the NE circuit championships, at Middlesbrough. The race was just U16 with 5 girls and 7 boys, so it split into a group of boys and a group of girls.

“The pace in our group was very slow, as no one wanted to do much work on the front, so I made sure I did my fair share, but it was hard to get off the front. It was frustrating, as everyone was resting at this slow pace, and I’m usually better when it is fast for most of the 50 minute race.

“We sped up on the last lap, and I ended up being on the front for the sprint. I managed to come 2nd which I am happy with, especially as I’m not a sprinter, it’s just frustrating that the girl who beat me barely did any work on the front.

“I didn’t get a result in the NE circuit championships, as I don’t live in the area. Round 8 is Stockton town centre and I need to make sure I beat the girl who beat me today to make sure that I win the overall NEYL”.

In the U16 Boys, Dexter Leeming-Sykes finished 5th.

In the U14s, Matthew Ellmore was 8th in the Boys for 2 points and Morgan Leeming-Sykes was 6th in the Girls.

Full results courtesy of BC.

The following day Round 8, also promoted by Stockton Wheelers and part of the Stockton Festival of Cycling, took place on the Stockton Riverside. Could it mean overall victory in the NEYL series for Lucy? We’ll let Lucy reveal the outcome.

“I really enjoyed today’s race along Stockton riverside. The circuit was quite boring with two long straights with tight corners at each end. I was at the back on the start line, so it was hard to move up the group and the tight corners meant that I had to slow down a lot but accelerate hard out of the corners.

“I kept getting dropped and chasing back on, but a gap opened up and I couldn’t get back onto the group, so I joined a group with two U14 girls.

“I did lots of work on the front, as I wanted to push myself as hard as I could and we were lapped on the finishing straight by the main group.

“There was a U16 girl in the main group that I know I could have beaten if I had got my positioning right at the start of the race, but I came 2nd which I am really pleased with, as it means I have won the NEYL overall”.

Well done Lucy on overall victory in the NEYL series!

Full results are still to be published.

Photograph courtesy of Lucy.

The HSBC UK Junior Mens and Womens National Road Race Championships were held Sunday 15 July at Witham on the Hill in Lincolnshire.

OCC Race Team Manager Tim Howcroft reports. Photographs courtesy of Tim.

“Sunday saw the National Junior Road Race Championship for both boys and girls promoted by Bourne Wheelers.

“The event took place close to Grantham in Lincolnshire on a rolling circuit with a couple of punchy climbs. 

“First up were the boys where we had Luke O’Connell and Joe Howcroft representing the club in a field of 140 riders. The race consisted of 6 laps totalling 70 miles. Luke’s bad luck seems never ending with a puncture on the 2nd lap ending his race.

“The race was fast averaging over 26mph with several breaks but all came to nothing. Joe was looking comfortable in the peloton and with a lap to go and all to play for.

“Unfortunately the last lap saw a major pile up with over 20 riders taken out and unfortunately Joe was one of them. Several riders were badly injured but other than a bump to the head and front wheel puncture Joe was ok and managed to limp home in 80th place.

“The event was won by Ben Tulett of Willebrord Voruit, the now National Junior Mens Road Race Champion.  

“Next up we had Meg Cullen in the girls race with a field of 68 riders.

”This race consisted of 4 laps totalling just short of 50 miles. Meg’s form has been good of late taking several scalps in the club time trial series so hopes were high.

“Meg looked comfortable in the bunch but on the 3rd lap got distanced and due to road closures and rider safety was pulled out soon after.

“The heat played a big factor (staged in the afternoon) with many riders retiring because of it and I know from talking to Meg this was a big factor in ending her race.

“The winner was Amelia Sharpe of Halo Cycles and is now the Junior Womens National Champion. 

“Fantastic experience for our riders riding at National level and the first time in my memory that we have been represented at a Junior Girls National road race championship.

“On the whole we were unlucky and did not get the results we wanted but luck has a way of evening its self out. The Blue Train moves onto the next race”.

Full results courtesy of BC.


21st July 2018