April Youth News Update

So... we're back in the real world! It was great to get back to coaching at the start of April, with over 60 kids signed up to our Spring Saturday coaching series, to see our riders again, catch-up with parents and to welcome newbies to the club.

By mid April, we moved up a couple more gears with Sunday road coaching at Winchester Park & Ride circuit and the popular Thursday cyclocross fitness workout at the Sports Centre both restarting to near capacity turnouts.

Things have started happening quickly as lockdown eases and we saw the first club time trials of the season take place on the p164 course at Lyndhurst with two of our U14 riders - Niclas and Iz taking part and posting respectable times... or even better than the parents! Then at Nomansland where Louis, Miles and Niclas tackled the tough p182 course in the interclub TT with New Forest CC.

Southern XC also returned with cross country MTB racing which tempted kids, coaches and parents to make the trip to Checkendon in the sunshine on the first Sunday in April for round 1, then at Crow in the New Forest for round 2 on April 25th.

As if all that wasn't enough, youth road racing is also back too with VC Venta's youth criterium also held last weekend at the Park & Ride attracting big fields and competitors from far and wide and a great turnout from team Sotonia.

Well done everyone - here's hoping for more!




Southern XC MTB round 1, Matterley

A number of Sotonia Youth riders are still in denial about the off-road season having finished and they made their way to the Matterley estate near Winchester for round 1 of the Southern XC MTB series. The race had a Droxford feel - windy hilltop with views over the Hampshire countryside. The course was different though with the organisers laying out a 1 km twisty course through the forest with a long gravel straight and some grass to go back to the forest.

There were four girls in the U9 girls race and with one Solent Pirate riding U9 instead of U12 and one Cotswold Veldrijden pulling out injured after 2 laps, Marit suddenly found herself in 2nd place! She downplayed the achievement but by being on the start everyone is already a winner as many children just would not think of riding a windy, muddy race over a technical forest course.

William has recovered from his mishap on the Moors Valley family ride and he rode to a 13th place in the U9 boys.

The U12 race saw more Sotonia coaching group riders. Our riders were cheered on by Charlie Shepherd who already raced Saturday and George/Sam White who did a parkrun in the morning.

Olivia was held up by a crash at the start but she recovered well to finish 9th U12 girl. Ruby Flavell swapped timing chip with brother Monty but taking this into account and ignoring official results she finished 13th. Ella is a very young U12 and she did well to finish 16th riding nearly 26 minutes! These Mountain bikers are a tough group!

In the U12 boys race Samuel and Monty were racing each other with Monty just coming out on top finishing 17th with Samuel just behind in 19th.


June youth race news

Winchester City Criterium

The Winchester criterium is a great circular circuit course through the streets of Winchester with large crowds on many parts of the course cheering on the riders. A small number of determined Sotonia riders braved the pressure of this more intense race.

The highlight of the U10 race was Izzy standing on the podium of the U10 girls race as the 3rd placed rider. Charlie (7th U10) and Lucas (8th U8) also had great rides in the U10 boys race as did Skye (9th) in the U10 girls race. Charlie and Douglas Forrester used the lessons learned in their first P&R coaching session to ride to a 6th and 9th place in the U10 boys race.

The u12 race was a high speed race where cornering and positioning skills were very important. The Winchester criterium attracts riders from further away which makes this a competitive and well fought race. George C and Sam R are still young for the U12 category but they held their own in the fast field and rode to a 19th and 23rd place. Olivia and Evelyn represented the U12 girls from our coaching group and rode to a 8th and 11th place in the U12 girls race.


Southern XC MTB, Crowhill, round 2

Ben Darnton reports: "Southern XC came to Crow Hill in the New Forest for round two on the Sunday of the hot Bank Holiday weekend. Having arrived and signed on Max and I went for a practice lap.

The lap at Checkendon for round one took about 20 minutes to complete, this lap took nearly 40 minutes at sighting lap pace. We ended up rushing to make it back to the start with only 2 mins to spare. Quite a warm up! The course was much, much more technical than round one with repeated short sharp and steep climbs.

Max got away fine at the start and when he came through the feed zone for the first time he didn't look like he was enjoying himself, not many did though - this was a major step up! He kept at it and completed 2 laps in 1hr 12 mins, that's double the time of his normal cross races! Youth MTB racing is hardcore!"


Newbury Summer CX, Round 4

After missing last week because of holiday, Max was surprised by a good 2nd row grid position. We'd talked in the car about riding with urgency and going hard from the start, like after he dropped his chain in round 2 and that's what he did. He got away clean at the start which resulted in him being just in front of a small crash early in the first lap. This created a gap and Max pressed the advantage.

Riding hard for the whole race, Max kept good speed throughout the longer course and was consistently making up time in the later laps on the 3rd place U14 boy, finishing 4th. Max looked strong this week, finished with a smile on his face and rode the race exactly to plan.