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Mentor Chris Young delighted as pupils win national cyclo-cross titles
Buy this photo » Billy Harding, left, on his way to the junior men's title, with Harry Franklin, who was third
Chris Young may not have had a great time as a rider in last weekend’s National Cyclo-Cross Championships at Peel Park.
But having finished fourth in the men’s 45-49 years race at the Bradford venue, the Shipley veteran’s mood was tempered by two of his proteges picking up gold medals.
Hartshead’s Abby-Mae Parkinson (RST Racing Team-Trigon) retained the girls’ under-16 title, while Birkenshaw’s Billy Harding (Paul Milnes-Bradford Olympic RC) made light of moving up a category by lifting the junior men’s title.
Bradford Grammar School pupil Parkinson was reportedly the first rider on the course once it was completed last Friday lunchtime, and her preparation with Young paid off.
He said: “Abby attends my sessions at Marley Stadium and she is learning what lines to take when racing.
“Before you had to explain everything to her but it gives me a buzz to see her doing so well – especially when I didn’t do so well myself. Billy was also brilliant and is so smooth on the bike.”
Harding, 16, who goes to Heckmondwike Grammar School, triumphed by 19 seconds over Jack Ravenscroft.
Jake Womersley (Sportscover Altura RT) was fifth, 83 seconds behind Harding, but there was joy for Louise Robinson, also of Mirfield, who was fourth in the women’s race but first veteran.
Young was 14th overall in his race (the 40s and 45s rode in a mammoth field of 118 riders), and said: “I tried my hardest but just seemed to plod along.
“I was fourth in the National Trophy race the previous week at Derby but it just never happened for me here. I didn’t have any energy in my legs and can’t explain why.”
It was also a big weekend for East Bradford Cycling Club as Robert Scott (22nd), George Fox (43rd) and part-time announcer Joe Parker (49th) helped them to the under-16 boys’ team award, and they were second in the under-14 boys via Euan Cameron (31st), Luke O’Connell (34th) and Arran Brayshaw (41st).
In the boys’ under-14s, Bradley’s Jamie Ridehalgh (Airedale Chemical RT) was ninth, Sophie Thackray (Paul Milnes Bradford Olympic RC), granddaughter of course director Philip, was tenth in the girls’ under-14 race, and clubmate Alfie Moses from Keighley was seventh in the under-16 boys.