Local cycling received a huge boost on Friday night (November 6) when the Fenland Clarion and Thorpe Ventures clubs received a £10,000 grant from Sport England to help increase youth participation in the sport.
Both are Go-Ride clubs and provide young people with the opportunity to get into competitive cycling in a fun way. They regularly hold race nights for under 16 year-olds and the presentation of the award was made at Fenland Clarion’s latest Go-Ride cyclo-cross race meeting at the Embankment athletics track.
Fenland Clarion coach Malc Jacklin said: “It was an absolutely fantastic evening with nearly 50 young cyclists learning new skills from both Fenland Clarion and Thorpe Ventures coaches. To show how successful our evening was we had BBC Look East come down and broadcast live to the viewers.
“The grant will allow us as a club to invest in equipment and to put time into local secondary schools to encourage participation - initially in school sessions and then club sessions and for some into racing events.”
Go-Ride Clubs are those registered with British Cycling. In the Eastern Region there are 43 Go-Ride clubs with 1,180 under 18 British Cycling members. Currently there are 100 Go-Ride racing events in the Eastern Region. These races are likely to generate over 2,300 opportunities for young people to get their first taste of racing in a traffic-free environment.
A measure of the success of the British Cycling programme is reflected in the current Team GB as 80 per cent of the team started with Go-Ride.
Fenland Clarion meet regularly on the first and third Friday of each month, and regularly host race nights.
Thorpe Ventures meet on Saturdays at Jack Hunt School in Netherton and also put on race meetings.
Fenland Clarion cyclo-cross coach David Robinson said: “Winter is a fantastic time to try out cyclo-cross racing which is a combination of turns, obstacles, fast riding and many laps. Most of our juniors race on their own cycles but some have specialist cross cycles or have been known to use one of our loan cycles.
“When the club hosts a Go-Ride cyclo-cross race night, I am always amazed to see just how competitive the riders are. It’s amazing just how quickly they get around the courses. To say the racing is frenetic would not be an understatement.
“I got into cycle coaching as part of my commitment as a Gamesmaker at the London Olympic and Paralympic Games to inspire a generation. Coaching is just so fantastic especially when the young rider demonstrates a skill which I have helped them learn with style and they faultlessly complete it as though its second nature. That’s something that makes me so proud.”
Fenland Clarion will be hosting an all-girls cyclo-cross race night on Friday (November 13) at the Embankment track with an open cyclo-cross race night on November 27. Full details are available on the British Cycling website.
The top riders on Friday were: Under 8 - Evander Wishart (Fenland Clarion); Under 10 - Oliver Tilley (Kings Cliffe Flyers); Under 12 - Jensen Barraclough (Kings Cliffe Flyers); Under 14 Cameron Neilson (Fenland Clation); Under 16 - Jerry Norman (Fenland Clarion).
Meanwhile Fenland Clarion clinched victory in the Northants time trial series in the very last round of the 10-event competition.
Dave Langlands, enjoying one of his best seasons in recent years, finished second overall and received excellent support from Simon Pitchford (9th) and Steve Kaye (11th). Jerry Norman won the junior competition.