Round 6 of the Junior National Series took us to South Wales for the Monmouthshire Junior Grand Prix. Michael Hall gives us his account of the race…
“We rode out of the school grounds and had a very short neutralised section, so the race started soon although you wouldn’t have noticed. I was just sitting mid pack and the pace was nice. About half way round the first circuit the pace picked up a bit as a few riders were trying to get away. Theo and George both gave it a go but didn’t manage to stay away.
“As far as I am aware the first loop was pretty uneventful and pretty easy. The first time up the finishing climb everyone pressed on but no breaks went and the group pretty much stayed together. I was communicating with Theo quite a bit and he was saying that he was feeling ill sadly, so working with him wasn’t really an option.
“All the way up the climb the pace was on but the group stayed together. On the descent I and a few others got a gap from the group but there wasn’t much working together so that was brought back. Coming round to the second time up the finishing climb I was still up at the front and the pace was really pushed up by a few riders and a gap was made.
“We kept the pace up and about five of us managed to get away. We kept working together well and were picking up riders getting shelled out of the front group. Two of the riders who where originally with us couldn’t hold the pace but riders who dropped back were working well.
“Then the third time up the climb the pace was really on and we were catching the riders in front. About half way round the last lap we managed to catch the group in front of us. The working together sort of when out the window then – it was pretty hectic with about 10 riders.
“I managed to position well with about 3km to go, although the finish came quicker than I was expecting looking at my Garmin. I was a little worried I was too far back but as soon as we hit the hill for the final time I moved up the side so that I couldn’t be boxed in.
“One rider went too early and faded. Most of the riders were just staying together then Mason Hollyman of Bike Box Alan went and I thought the finish line isn’t far so it’s now or never. I got a good gap on the group and kept pushing. At about 150m to go, a Wheelbase rider came past me and I could quite get on his wheel. However, I managed to hold off the rest of the bunch and come in 9th.
“I was really pleased to bag my first ever top 10 in a national, especially on such a brutal course against tough competition. Looking forward to the Junior Tour of Ireland now!”
Elliot also put in a gutsy ride to finish 35th, beating some strong competition.
Unfortunately Theo and George had to pull out due to illness. Get well soon, boys!
Congrats to Joe Nally on the win.
Thank you to Chris and everyone involved in putting on such a great event.
Photos: Alex Reed