The club mountain bikers were out in force on Sunday for the Regional Mountain Bike Championship at Carver Barracks, Essex on Sunday. First place for Oli Stockwell – youth boys, Joe Kiely – juvenile boys, Lauren Higham – youth girls, and Joe Kiely – juvenile boys.
Oli and Joe started together in the youth/juvenile race over 4 laps in
around 70 mins. Oli was challenged in the early part of the race but broke clear after 2 laps finishing over 2 mins ahead of the next rider
Joe had a close fought battle throughout but at the 2 lap point appeared to be losing ground to rival Alex Dale of Lee Valley CC. Joe some how managed to catch up with Alex in the 3rd lap and they had a ding dong battle to the end where they emerged from the woods onto a long stretch of concrete road. Such was their gap to 3rd place they slowed almost to a stand challenging each other to break for the final 400m sprint. Alex took up the sprint and Joe chased in his wake to come through for the win less than 50m from the
line. A very good exciting finish to a good race.
Also racing in the under 12 category were Dylan Starkey, Rupert Cavill and Fin Woodliffe who all raced well and finished. (places to come) Nathan Blackmore rode the Junior race and Garry Blackmore the Vets race.
On Saturday Oli and Keith Stockwell rode the Easter Counties 10 mile Time trial event near Cambridge – Keith recorded a time of 21-12 but was beaten by his son – Oli who finished in 21-04 which beat the Wheelers under 16 -10 mile record in 21-04 (previously held by Pete Bissell) some years ago.
Also on Sunday Team Kinetic/Welwyn had three riders in the 80 strong field in the Banbury Star road race. A tough course with a steep hill each lap which soon split the field apart. Elspeth Grace was in the leading group of 15 as they approached the finish at the top of the hill and finished in 5th spot behind the winner Nicki Juniper. Rachel Haltenstall finished the race but Lesley Courtney was brought down in a crash and was a non finisher.
Archie Peet travelled to Winchester for the Park and Ride Town Centre Crits and finished in second place in the youth event.
Four Welwyn Wheelers travelled to the Sleepwell Hotels Isle of Man Youth Tour, a three-day event held over the Bank holiday weekend attracting the best riders from all over the country.
The first stage was a short prologue time trial held along the seafront promenade. Joe Kiely got off to a flier coming 3rd in his category under 14 boys. Next Oli Stockwell and Archie Peet managed 28th and 55th respectively in the under 16 boys and Lauren Higham came in 13th in the under 16 girls.
The second stage was set on a flat 3km circuit with a howling tail wind in the home straight. In all the races the Welwyn riders were up at the front trying to initiate attacks, but it was to be a day for the sprinters with all the WW’ers boxed in, but not losing time on the general classification.
In a Grand Tour the final stage would have been called the Queen stage. Set on a wild and rugged coastline the riders had to negotiate a steep climb once a lap and cope with the gusting wind from the sea. In all races the field was blown to pieces on the first lap and a race of attrition ensued as weaker riders were dropped each lap. Joe Kiely was 2nd, Lauren managed an excellent 9th and Oli came 11th on the stage. Unfortunately Archie Peet was involved in a crash and was forced to retire with a damaged finger.
With big gaps opening up between all the riders that left Joe in second overall and 3rd in the green jersey points classification. Oli and Lauren were up to 9th on GC and Archie 61st, licking his wounds, but coming away with a fantastic experience.
All in all a very successful and enjoyable event for the Wheelers.
By David Kiely
A number of the Wheelers youth riders were at the Hog Hill closed road circuit at Redbridge on Sunday for Round 1 of the British Cycling Roadseries.
One hundred riders lined up for the 90 minute Under 16 race on the main circuit including the tough Hog Hill which had to be climbed every lap. The pace was fast and furious throughout and a number of riders lost contact from the bunch each lap .
Lewis Askey (team RTS) broke away and Oli Stockwell rode
across to join him in the lead – after two laps he eased up and dropped back to join a break away group of three. The group worked well together sharing the pace and gained time
on the main bunch. They stayed together for the rest of the race. At the finish Lewis Askey won alone by 30 seconds – Oli was totally exhausted as he crossed the line in an excellent fifth place two minutes ahead of the main bunch. Jamie Dene rode well and finished in the bunch. Only 50 riders finished the race. Joe Bennett and Archie Peet were non finishers having been involved in mid event
The under 14 race had 93 riders for the one hour race – there were numerous attempts to set up a break away group but none succeeded and as the race entered the final lap only 35 riders were in contention – ascending the final hill in the correct position was crucial to a obtaining a good finishing position. Tom Sharples used his power and tactics to good effect and crossed the line
in 5th position with a superb ride. Joe Kiely was 27th and Euan Woodliffe 28th
Lauren Higham finished in the bunch in the under 16 girls race.
In the under 12 category event, Dylan Starkey was dropped from the bunch after the 3rd of 6 times up the hill but settled into a small chase group and finished about 23rd-25th out of 49 starters.
Excellent results in a highly competitive days racing on a tough course with a massive number of competitors in each race. Round 2 will be in tne Isle of Man in late April.
The Wheelers had another successful weekend racing in various activities.
Three riders travelled to the road circuit at Hog Hill on Saturday – Oli Stockwell won the Under 16 race in a sprint finish from the two riders who had broken away with him early in the race and they stayed away for the rest of the race. Joe Kiely won the under 14 event and Lauren Higham completed the picture by winning the girls race.
Also on Saturday the club hosted Round 3 of the Muddy Monsters cyclo-cross race at Gosling Sports Park. Sixty three riders signed on and were split into the various age groups – under 8, 10,12 and 16.
Each group had three races in he bitterly cold conditions and our thanks to all the helpers and officials who organised the day.
Eva McCabe won the under 14 girls group and Tom Oliver the under 12 boys.
Round 4 will be at CC Ashwell on Saturday.
On Sunday a good set of results were achieved in the Central League cyclo-cross event near Bedford, Oli Stockwell led Joe Bennett and Archie Peet for a 1,2,3 in the under 16 race while Joe Kiely was a comfortable winner of the Under 14 category. Ellen Bennett 3rd under 14 girl and Beth Bennett 2nd under 12 girl.
The closing event of the Eastern League will be near Norwich on Sunday followed by the series prize giving with the Wheelers youth riders scheduled to collect a large number of the trophies