It was all feet to the pedals for the third West Lothian Clarion Youth event of season on July 31.
There were over 35 riders in the mountain bike race at Beecraigs Country Park with a shorter circuit close to the car park for the youngest riders and a longer, more technical loop around part of the forest for all others.
The Youth E race kicked off the evening, with riders tackling three laps of a course which included a tricky uphill slalom on grass then a fast downhill section back towards the starting line. In the girls’ race, Ellie Hamilton put on a great performance to come out on top of Megan Wansbrough, whilst in the boys’ race, Gabriel Lee claimed his first victory in the race series just ahead of Rory Martin, Ross Chisholm and Finlay Turner.
The Youth D riders were up next, taking on five laps of the longer course, which included a tricky descent and several sharp corners, not to mention the hazards posed by numerous trees, rocks and nettles.
Four riders quickly broke away from the rest of the pack and, despite the drizzle making conditions trickier, they used the long, straight section of track to overtake other riders rather than the rest of the course which was narrow and littered with tree roots.
Abbie Mason won the girls’ race with a great performance and Andrew Turner just managed to edge out Max Guthrie and Sam Chisholm to win the boys’ event.
Abbie said: “It was a really great course and I thought I performed pretty well against the boys. The rain made things a bit harder so I was pleased to get finished.”
In the final race of the evening, the Youth B and C riders raced over eight laps of the same course. Competition was particularly fierce in the Youth C boys, where Alex Ball had to work hard to fight off a strong challenge from Innes Wilson and Christopher Hordon.
Youth coach Matthew Ball said: “It was a great event. We decided to use a different circuit for the youngest riders and it worked really well and they really went for it. The older riders found the longer course difficult but not impossible and that’s really the middle ground we were hoping for.”
Club president David Mason called it “a fabulous event” and thanked all those who took part and the volunteer marshals.
He added: “The coaching team have really enjoyed the sessions at Beecraigs and I know that the riders feel the same. We continue to believe that training at different venues and offering a number of racing challenges gives our members a real opportunity to develop their skills in a safe and supervised environment.”
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org Riders must be at least six years of age and able to cycle unaided.