REDDITCH Road & Path Cycling Club riders proved their credentials as they took on some of the best young talent from across the country in two events.
Firstly Ryan Oldfield from the Redditch club and Cameron Biddle of Solihull CC and a coach at Redditch travelled to the Isle of Man for the annual Youth tour.
The riders took part in the three-day event along with more than 300 other riders from all over the British Isles and Europe. The tour consisted of a prologue time trial, a road race and a circuit race at different venues around the island.
The first event saw all 339 riders take to the promenade in Douglas for the short prologue time trial. Biddle, riding in the junior category (16-18 years), managed 60th place but was just 13 seconds off first.
Oldfield took to the same course in the U10 category and came home ninth fastest, 18 seconds down on first.
Day two saw Biddle head out on to the roads around Peel on the west coast of the island for a 102km road race. He finished an excellent 14th, just 49 seconds down on a pair of riders who were the remains of a breakaway. This result propelled him up the leaderboard to 26th overall.
Oldfield’s course was a shortened version of the one ridden by all the other age groups. The course consisted of a long, fast descent on which he was hitting speeds of over 60kmh and then straight on to a very steep climb.
Again he finished ninth overall, losing a handful of seconds to the top three, but more importantly he lost an extra second to the rider in eighth.
Day three moved up to Ramsey at the north end of the island for the circuit race. The junior riders had to do six laps of a 15km course before heading down on to the Ramsey promenade for the finish.
The weather had taken a turn for the worst with heavy rain and strong winds and Biddle came home 37th and finished 24th overall, which is a fantastic result.
Oldfield’s circuit race was based on three laps of the very exposed promenade. Although the rain had eased by the time he raced, there was still the strength-sapping back straight to contend with.
He got off to a very fast start but was quickly caught by the top three who had dominated all weekend. For the next lap-and-a-half he worked well with the eighth placed rider to try and claw back the leading trio who, by this point, had started attacking each other to gain overall honours.
After a battle with his closest rider, Oldfield finished eighth overall and finished as highest placed of the first year U10 riders, which is a fine feat.
THREE other Redditch riders travelled to Penistone Hill in Haworth near Bradford for the British Schools Cycling Association (BSCA) National Mountain Bike Championships.
Sulli Berry competed in the U11 event, his brother Arly at just five years of age in the U7 event and their cousin and defending BSCA champion Lauren (Beany) Oldfield in the U7 girls’ event, with the trio all representing Mappleborough Green Primary School.
The conditions were windy and very cold with snow on the ground in places. The course was technical and was based around one of the quarries in the area.
The first race saw Oldfield and Arly take to the start line. Both riders tackled the course extremely well in getting past other riders with ease and Oldfield finished sixth overall and first girl to gain a further national title.
Arly finished two places further back to finish as seventh placed U7 boy – a fine result considering most of the other boys were nearly two years older.
Sulli had mixed fortunes in the U11 race, which saw them tackle an extended course. He was leading right from the whistle for a large part of the race until he was finally caught and overtaken with two laps to go.
A gap of 20 seconds soon opened between first and second place and Sulli had to dig deep to try and claw back the deficit.
After closing the gap to less than ten seconds, he hit a pothole at great speed which threw him straight over his handlebars and he landed very heavily on his right shoulder.
This crash put paid to any hopes of a win but, after collecting his bike out of a bush 20 metres away, he was able to ride the final half a lap home in great discomfort to hold on to his second position.