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U's Host Cycling Event

1 May 2014

Youth GP at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.

The races which made up the Second Round of the Eastern Road Youth Circuit Series attracted 120 young racing cyclists aged between 7 and 16 from all over the South East and Eastern regions to compete in two races around the stadium perimeter and car park.

The event was hosted by our good friends at Colchester Rovers Cycling Club as they ran the inaugural Youth GP this weekend at the home of the U's.

Colchester United's Weston Homes Community Stadium played host to its first British Cycling event on Sunday as over 120 cyclists participated.

The catalyst for staging the event organised by club members Nick and Nicky Swainston came with the generous offer from Colchester United’s chairman Robbie Cowling and General Manager Tim Waddington of support earlier this year.

The club, who have benefited from being able to hold training sessions in the floodlit stadium car park all over the winter months, have never been able to put on a race such as this before for youngsters in its long history due to the lack of infrastructure in the area.

The use of the stadium facilities to be able to let the young cyclists train and race safely away from vehicular traffic has been a real boon and has culminated in the success of the GP on Sunday. 
Racing began for all age categories with a short sprint race around the fast but technical circuit laid out earlier in the day by an army of volunteers and parents.  

Bradley Taylor showed his potential early on in the U8s whilst Max Rethman dominated things in the U10s boys race never being out of the top three in both the sprint and endurance race.

The Swainston sisters Isla (U8s) and Zoe (U10s) led the girls category in both races and along with team mate Jodie Taylor beat many of the boys in their race category during the day as well, this included the Rovers duo of Josh White, Jack Emerson and Ollie Welstead who specialises in off road events normally.

In the U12s, it was the speed and bike handling of Ollie Partner that saw him lead the Rovers charge with Dexter Mansel-Thomas and Dan Hall close behind in a field of riders that included a further 9 members of the Rovers youth squad including Theo Warren, Alexandra and Tara Bygrave, Aeddan Seaward, Amelia Hopper, Thomas White,Thomas Carson, Keiran Manuel and Holly Devlin.

The trio of Cameron Hurst, Silas Warren and Robert Mercer rode in the U14s age category which saw some of the fastest and competitive racing in both races. Hurst showing some real results of his dedicated training over the winter was keeping pace with the lead group and looking good for a top three placing until a crash in the endurance race saw him have to retire through injury when a rider in front of him took a bend too wide and lost control.

Two wins saw Theo Modell from East London Velo take the overall honours with Welwyn wheelers pairing of William Raymond and Thomas Durkin finishing 2nd and 3rd.

James Jackson flew the Rovers flag as the only club member in the U16s. He was joined by Colchester rider and mountain bike specialist Rob Smith riding for Kreek racing.

A strong a consistent ride saw Jackson finish 12th in the overall standings which were topped by Team Terminator rider Mitch Powell from Chelmsford. His team mate Frank Longstaff won the 40 minute endurance race but did not count in the overall standings as he missed the earlier first round sprint event due to racing at Gravesend in the morning.
The huge amount of positive feedback from British Cycling and the riders and parents that travelled to race at the Weston Homes Community Stadium this weekend has left no doubt that the Colchester Rovers GP will be fixture in the racing programme next year for the region's youth cyclists and looks as if it will enrich the level of youth cycle sport in the area by now being a focal point for the Colchester based clubs. 

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