Report: Round 2 Wessex Cyclocross league, Basingstoke

A total of 16 Sotonia youth riders braved the wet and windy conditions and rode up the M3 to Basingstoke. Whilst their school friends avoided the early autumn storms in front of the television or on tablets our riders tanked up on grit, determination, guts and perseverance.

If any riders are disappointed about their position then do not forget that the horrible rain and wind meant there were no tourists in the race. Only the regular and skilled Wessex CX riders turned up. A special mention here to Tes and Jo Bignell who showed even greater toughness by racing in summer short and top. Tes chased her friends Ella and Marit all the way and her reward was a 1st place in the U8 girls. George Connell showed everyone what he can do without a mechanical issue and just missed out on the podium in the U12 boys. In the U12 girls race it looks like Olivia and Izzy will be having a good battle all season. Emma and Charlie are finding their place in the U12 field where racing gets a bit more serious.


The placings of all Sotonia riders were:

U10 race 46 riders
U8 girls: Tes Bignell 1st (37), Tilly Wilks 2nd (40), Jaya Martingale 4th (42)
U10 girls: Skye Martingale 7th (30), Ella Ridgment 9th (33), Marit Davidse 10th (34)
U10 boys: Thomas Wilks 8th (12), Joseph Bignell 10th (14), Finlay Banks 17th (26), Samuel White 19th (32)

U12 race 37 riders
U12 girls: Olivia Allman 3rd (15), Izzy Hall 4th (16), Emma Harrison 8th (32)
U12 boys: George Connell 4th (4), Samuel Ridgment 10th (10), Charlie Shepherd 14th (18)


New cyclocross season off and running at Newbury

The Wessex Cyclocross got underway at a new venue - Newbury Race course last weekend and was a great introduction to the 2018/2019 season. Sunny skies, not too far up the A34 and an "easy" grassland course to stretch the legs. The organisers forgot to mow the grass before the race so our riders had to keep pushing those pedals as there was no coasting! Two short hurdles provided a good skill test and the Sotonia coaches kept an eagle eyed watch on the dismounting and mountain technique used. A number of highlights were a podium for Tilly in the U8, Alisha making a return to racing, Izzy pushing the older U12s hard, Samuel giving his all and collapsing at the finish of the U12, George C charging through the U12 field after a dropped chain. Louis pushed Max in the U14 as they worked together to get away from rivals before the coaches and parents got their chance to race each other!


A total of 18 Sotonia riders made their way to the new venue and their placings were:

U8 Girls
Tilly Wilks 2nd (41), Jaya Martingale 4th (50)

U10 Girls
Skye Martingale 4th (22), Ella Ridgment 7th (29), Marit Davidse 10th (34), Alisha Kirk 13th (44)

U10 Boys
Finlay Banks 13th (17), Tom Wilks 14th (18), Sam White 15th (19)

U12 Girls
Olivia Allman 5th (24), Izzy Hall 6th (26), Emma Harrison 12th (45)

U12 Boys
Samuel Ridgment 10th (10), George Connell 15th (16), Charlie Shepherd 22nd (28), George White 31st (41)

U14 Boys
Max Darnton 20th (38), Louis Kirk 21st (39)


Great riding everyone!


Photo gallery here



Louis flies the Sotonia flag at Bournemouth velodrome

Louis has been flying the Sotonia flag at the Telesoft Track League at Bournemouth velodrome on a Friday evening. There are a variety of events from a flying 200m, time trials, unknown distance race, elimination race and sprints. Louis has been enjoying the rivalry and his flying 200m times have been slowly coming down. Louis has ended the race series mid table which for his first season isn't bad!

Unfortunately the series has been cancelled now due to lack of numbers but he will continue to train on the track during the summer until he returns to cyclocross in September!


Banjo Summer CX Roundup

Round 5 of the Banjo Cyclocross race series at Newbury was a night to forget for Max. Tired and not feeling well wasn't a great way to start but kudos to him for grinding it out. He needed five results for the league so it had to be done.

Round 6 was different. Riding hard from the start, Max lead his rivals up to the last lap when there was only one left. The effort of the previous laps on the front meant that he wasn't able to kick with Lewis and finished 8th. Time to focus on tactics when you've got a rider on your wheel lap after lap...!

Max finished the series in 6th with only 6 points between 4th and 6th. Some really strong riding and valuable experience at U14. Dad, Ben finished 5th overall in a highly competitive vets category so well done to the Darntons!

Sotonia Summer Criterium, 17 June

Returning for the fifth year running, youth numbers were good for the Sotonia Summer Criterium on Sunday with 59 youth riders – 17 of which were from Sotonia! In warm, breezy conditions, Tom Wilks finished 3rd U8 boy, Fred Kelsell Joel 5th. Marit Davidse 1st U8 girl, Jaya Martingale 3rd, Tilly Wilks and Theresa Bignell 4th and 5th U8 girls,

In the U10s, Izzy Hall rode well to finish 2nd place girl, Skye Martingale 4th, Ella Ridgment 5th and Poppy Carline 6th. Monty Flavell 3rd U10 boy, Joseph Bignall 7th, Sid Kelsell-Joel 8th and Sam Perry 9th.

Also a great team effort by our U12s with Olivia Allman 2nd girl and the boys who enjoyed the experience and are quickly learning the art of road racing and worked well as a team - Louis Kirk 6th, George Connell 8th and Sam Ridgment 10th.

A big thank you to all the coaches, parents, members and wives who helped make the event happen!



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.



Banjo Cycles Summer CX Round 2, Newbury

Torrential rain and standing water in Newbury challenged the Summer Cross title. Max Darnton got away well the at the start of the U14/16 race but suffered a dropped chain the first time down the bumpy main decent. He was passed by five riders whilst getting it on but the set back flicked a switch and Max rode his socks off. He caught up all of those who had gone by him and he just kept going.

His strongest ride of the season so far finishing 7th overall and 4th U14. Finished up absolutely covered in mud and grass with a huge smile on his face. Now to figure out how to flick that switch without a mechanical!



Sotonia Youth race update for May

This weekend saw the Sotonia Youth riders race on two fronts, the speed devils raced the first VC Venta criterium at the Winchester Park & Ride road circuit and the off-roaders tackled the Battle in the Bowl. Our riders were well represented and it was great to see so many red and white jerseys among the youngsters. George C, Louis and Samuel had their usual battle in the U12 with George coming out on top and Samuel doing well to chase the small peloton on his own during the race! Izzy had a fantastic sprint for 2nd place in the U10 girls and she took a well deserved silver medal. Monty and Marit were the other medal winners on the day.


Battle in the bowl - Cyclocross

U12 boys - Charlie - 13th, George W. 17th, Sam W. 18th
U12 girls - Olivia - 3rd in the U10


Venta Summer Criterium 1 - Road

U8 girls - Marit 3rd, Tilly 4th and Jaya 5th
U8 boys - Tom 7th and Lucas 10th
U10 girls - Izzy 2nd, Skye 6th and Ella 7th
U10 boys - Monty 3rd and Joseph 7th
U12 girls - Evelyn 5th
U12 boys - George 7th, Louis 8th and Samuel 10th


Banjo Summer Cyclocross

Cyclocross returned to Goldwell Park in Newbury for the Banjo Summer CX series in May. Max lined up with the U14 & U16 to do the full adult course for the first time.  The course went further to the right on the hill than they've done before which meant it had a tough kick at the top. It was a bit of a 2018 season baptism of fire for Max who started strongly but tired after a quick first lap with the hill being a feature to finish 9th U14.


A great start to the Summer race season - well done everyone!