By Mark Wyer
The Eastern Area was represented by 2 youth teams this year at the Inter-Area Championships at Peel Park, Bradford. This is the first year of the new EC-CA youth development squad so it was the first opportunity to test if there has been any progress.
The teams were:
The course was fairly hard and sapping with some muddy banks that were only just rideable. In addition there was a long run up of stone steps with the option of the grass bank alongside. There was a short section through a BMX track with views out to the Valley Parade football ground and the surrounding hills.
I had reckoned a top 4 or 5 place being likely for the A team which would have been an improvement on last year’s sixth at Eastway. The team had a poor starting position, lined up alongside a wall at the edge of the start area and subsequently started poorly. Rob O’Loughlin pulled himself up well into a top 6 place which he held until the end. Elliott Brooker only started riding ‘cross just before Christmas and started well down the field. However he put in a storming 10 minutes and hauled himself up into 14th place overall. Carl Harris put in a huge effort on the finishing straight to try and out sprint the rider in front, almost taking out a couple of riders beyond the finishing line. Matthew Cook passed the third counting Yorkshire A rider during the last lap which was to prove crucial. Yorkshire A had finished with the same number of points as Eastern A but on countback our third placed rider finished higher giving us the team bronze medal.
This was an excellent achievement and just reward for all the riders who have made great efforts this season to improve their riding. Thanks go to the parents who provided the transport and were pit helpers.
Photos by Joolze Dymond.