By Rachel Jary
This year VCL had riders in nearly all of the races. Everyone put in a valiant effort and did the club proud. We saw our first riders in the under 12 boys race. The race was fierce and the group went at a consistently fast pace. Kareem Akinibi and Alex Elms were our two riders; both of them did well, Kareem staying in the group for the whole race until sadly dropping off the back in the last lap. Alex however, positioned himself perfectly in the bunch on the last lap and did a very strong sprint finishing 3rd in the race despite having also put in some big turns at the front. Later on, after the gears had been checked again, the rider who finished second was disqualified for incorrect gears meaning Alex got second place overall. A massive well done to both our riders.
The next race of the day was the under 14 girls. VCL had 3 riders in the race Rachel Jary, Charlotte Cole-Hossain and Georgie Hopkins. The race was hard and fast, especially due to the adverse weather conditions making the tough corners even harder to take. All of the girls managed to stay with the group until more or less half way through when Georgie dropped off along with a few other riders. Towards the end of the race a breakaway of three riders got away from the bunch. Charlotte and Rachel were still in the main bunch though they were not quite strong enough to go with the three ahead. Charlotte put in some massive turns on the front to contribute to the chase but unfortunately couldn’t pull them back. On the last lap there was a sprint for 4th within the main group and Charlotte and Rachel finished 8th and 9th place overall. A good effort by all the riders considering they were all first years in their category.
Next up were the under 14 boys. Max Bergin and Thomas Finch rode in this race. They both stayed in the bunch the entire time, even though riders were constantly dropping off the back. It was an extremely high standard in this race and it was a huge field filled with the some of the biggest names in youth cycling. On the third to last lap, it seemed it was not Max’s day when he was sitting at the back of the field. However, the next lap he managed to claw his way to the front of the group but it seemed he was not as suited to the uphill sprint finish as some of the other riders were. Tom on the other hand, did a huge sprint and really impressed everyone by finishing 8th overall. He did extremely well to finish this high up in a field of the standard that were there and this was one of the best results of the day for the club.
In the under 16 girls VCL had one rider racing Abigail van Twisk. She rode a great race always sticking to a wheel so that a she made sure she had a place in the main group despite people dropping off the back quickly throughout the race. Abi finished the race in the bunch and put in a good sprint giving her 16th place overall, a brilliant ride from her.
The finale of the day was the under 16 boys. This was a very exciting race; there were 100 riders in the race with 2 of them being from VCL: George Jary and Oliver Cliff. On the fourth lap there was a crash that took lots of the peloton out. Neither of our riders actually crashed, however both of them had to stop to make their way around the crash meaning that they were both riding the second bunch. They chased throughout the race, both of them doing a lot of work to pull the group ahead back. Oliver also attacked in the race to catch a few more riders, and then came back into the bunch with George. Unfortunately, they didn’t pull the group back and because of the intense effort on the front they didn’t place too highly in the sprint meaning Oliver finished 51st and George 52nd. However they both rode aggressively and had the crash not happened they could have placed much higher in the race and as they are both first years we are all happy with their performance.
It was a great day. Well done to everyone who rode and thanks to all the people who came to support!