STRATFORD Cycling Club has set an objective of developing a team of 12 to 16-year-olds by getting them training as a group and racing among the best in the land as the season progresses and their first outing was in the Good Friday spectacular at Castle Combe.
The first race was more than encouraging as eight of the team were in action against competitors from all over the south Midlands and Wales and the talent was showing.
Five of the group – David Hird, Thomas Charles, Baden Green, William Tomblin-Shaw and Charlie Johnson – were in the under 14 race and all were in perfect position to contest the sprint to the line when, with 400 metres to go, there was a touch of wheels which resulted in about 15 riders coming off, including Hird and Green.
At the time Hird was best placed for the sprint in eighth place at the time, which was ideal.
Importantly everyone got up and finished the race with no serious injuries. Such is the motivation with these guys, they were back on their feet in no time and racing for the line.
They were all placed as equal in the official result although Charles was actually 11th over the line in what he described as his best race too date.
Johnson, racing in the girls’ section, did what she says she has not done before and outsprinted the boys In her group so was highly pleased with her result.
The under 16 race was very fast and Stratford trio Ben Snodgrass, Joshua Graham and Jess O’Reilly all did themselves proud.
The star performance came from O’Reilly who, in a large field of girls, showed great potential throughout the race and finished 11th in what she describes as her best race to date.
In the under ten race Stratford’s sole representative Spencer Corder again found himself in a break with two riders from Hillingdon who ‘worked’ the lone Stratford rider over so he finished third in what was a great ride.
There are 12 riders at present in the Team Stratford development group and it remains to be seen how they progress this season. The race programme sees them racing regularly around the Midlands circuit and their next big away day is at London’s Olympic Park on April 23.
In wet and windy conditions at Milton Keynes the previous week Hird finished tenth, with Charles 24th and Green 25th.