Bourne Wheelers riders were split between the third round of early season races at Milton Keynes and the Women’s Team Series Races at Redbridge in London on Saturday.
The ride of the weekend and indeed the year so far was by 15-year-old Jessica Woodworth, who having acquired dispensation to race against the senior women through being one of the best under 16 girls in the country, lined up with 60 of the best women in the country at Redbridge in the first round of the Women’s Team Series.
In a race run over an hour, where the bunch had to climb the notorious “Hoggenberg Climb” 18 times, Jess was by far the youngest rider in the race. In fact she was the only youth on the start line.
Almost immediately, the furious pace split the bunch, but Jess stuck to her plan and sat in the front 20 riders throughout the race, never looking in trouble once despite the ferocious pace. Lap by lap, riders were dropped until, the riders heard the bell and only 30 riders remained in the depleted bunch.
Jess was still there, and digging deep the final time up the climb, she finished in a very impressive 23rd place.
Club coach, Mark Botteley who raced the supporting senior mens race said: “That was about as good a performance as I have seen from a Bourne Wheeler in the last 10 years.
“Jess has been training really hard, and we only picked this race really to see how she would cope with the extra distance and pace. It also served as a dress rehearsal for the Youth National Championships in July, which are around this circuit.
“I hoped Jess would still be there in the bunch at the end, but I wouldn’t say I was optimistic, especially with the quality of riders on the start line, which included the reigning national champion.
“ She really is a very talented rider, and I’m sure will be a serious contender for national medals this year.”
Also racing at Redbridge in the supporting mens race with Mark, was his son Adam, who put in a season’s best performance to place 21st.
The youth team were at Milton Keynes, and once again it was brother and sister, Bryn and Emily Richards who achieved the best results, with Bryn taking a fine sixth place in a very competitive under 14 boys race and Emily third in the under 12 girls race.
In the under 16 girls race, Georgia Bullard and Alice Standish had mixed races with Alice unfortunately crashing on the last lap and Georgia getting caught after a late attack 200 metres from the line and eventually finishing 15th.
On Sunday, second claim members Sian Botteley (Starley Racing) and Maddie Gammons (RP Racing) rode the Ipswich Scramble Women’s road race over a rolling 56 mile course.
Having won the event last year, Sian started as one of the favourites, but this year’s field was much stronger, and with a stiff wind made for much harder racing conditions.
Early on the conditions started taking its toll on the 40 strong field, and halfway round the second of four laps, Sian got into the leading group of eight riders and rode away from the struggling bunch, to eventually finish six minutes clear. In the final sprint Sian placed a creditable seventh having been in the leading group for 40 miles. Maddie had an excellent sprint and finished in 11th place.