YOUR VIEWS: Here’s what our readers had to say about the new Youth Policy

We’ve had a lot of response regarding plans to scrap U13 national racing, here is what some of our readers had to say.

Exeter’s secretary, Lynn Parker, feels parents and riders should be able to choose whether they want to compete at a high level or not.

Here in Exeter we have a wealth of under 10 and under 13 riders who like nothing better than competing against their peers in surrounding clubs. They might not set the world alight but they love these days. If they are talented enough they go on to compete in the National competitions of the British Youth & Junior League and the British Championships. Then, again, we have a few that just want to attend training and our club’s local league, be with their friends here at Exeter, nibble a few sweets together and go no further up the ladder. No-one is forced to do anything.
It is entirely up to each family how competitive they want to be.​ This is the grass routes of the sport and, in some cases, is the strongest age group that the club has. The children regularly meet others from different backgrounds and clubs and sometimes these friendships last for many years.
Why generalise and take this decision away from each individual family? Let everyone make their own minds how they want to compete and allow the rest of us to get on and enjoy our sport!
Lynn Parker
Exeter Aces Cycle Speedway Club

Louise Burt feels over bearing parents may be to blame for the decision.

I have 3 children who race in the 2 categories above and all 3 love the sport whether they are training, competing regionally or nationally. Mine enjoy the challenge of competing and are all gracious sportsmen in there own right winning or losing it adds character. Achieving a title and trophy adds to the excitement of the sport.



I see no problem whatsoever in competition riding at this age and fear children may drop out of the sports if there are no targets to aim for. The only problem I can fathom would be overbearing parents who may put too much pressure on their children to perform.
Are BC trying to set a new standard and do any other sports penalise competitors for being too young?

Louise Burt

Edinburgh’s Alan Hewiston added that kids racing against their own age group is where the real enjoyment lies.

Unfortunately, racing is the nature of the sport. There will always be, first, second, third and, fourths. Cycle Speedway is a tough sport, no matter how much dumbing down any authority tries to force upon it.
Kids riding against people there own age will be where the real enjoyment lies. Taking away the age-group National competitions is baffling. It’s the inclusion of kids, these ages being forced into the Senior League racing Teams with/against Riders much older and Adults, that should be capped.
In the North there is a successful under-13 Division 3. So perhaps a category rule to ride Divison 2 (B Team) 13 or over. Division 1 (A Team) 15 or over, with the proviso, still able to compete Division 2 until after 16th Birthday and, depending on grade/talent, should be implemented.
The more age-group, Local, Regional and, National Competitions (u-10, U-13 etc, etc), will always be the better way forward, not losing these Competitions. You are always going to get the odd wonder-kid ever-so-often, but one Golden-Child shouldn’t open the door for 10s of inexperienced same aged Riders bolstering Senior Teams. Although you can understand it’s a great feeling being in with the big boys. Like other sports, they just have to wait their time.
Alan Hewitson
A Terracing Tam

Rob Mawhood of Sheffield believes passion comes from competition. In answer to his first question, the proposal was discussed by the commission, and they released a statement in our previous article indicating their desire to give “the appropriate opportunities to it’s younger riders through an event structure which provides the appropriate pathways to meet their participation needs”.

Has this proposal even been discussed by the cs commission ?
I have just looked at the article on the bc site,  as usual no mention of cycle speedway.  BMX are required to be in line by 2017 (maybe).
Parents are right to be worried,  but I think there’s a long way to go before it may take effect. BC do have a poor choice of words, when they say kids need to have a PASSION for cycling.  Sorry but passion comes from competition.  Skills and fun are experienced at training and local level racing. It’s also interesting to note that later this month it’s the British schools national cycling championships at Matlock(starting with U-7’s), if bc have their way will it mean the end of these events also?
Rob Mawhood
Trevor Hulton indicated on our Facebook page that it could be Sport England who are keen on seeing changes across all sports.
It’s not just BMX and CS, it’s ALL disciplines in the BCF! and it’s something that Sport England is trying implement in all u13 sports in the country……..

While Lee Phillips echoed similar sentiments with regards to football and later added a photo of son, Adam, now at Liverpool FC, citing competition at a young age being good for his development.

This type of thing has been in Football at a young age for about 10 years. Not that i agree with it

10931200_10205911255234278_5801206982410136216_n4 years ago ! Did the fact it was competitive change him ? Yes it made him hungry to achieve more in what ever sport he did. I guess British Cycling don’t want that

Robyn Whalley believes it robs the riders who want to compete at a higher level the chance to do so.

I think this is robbing the kids who love riding a chance to compete. It is absolutely ridiculous, I understand the whole travelling thing but I have an 6 year old brother who races cycle speedway and he absolutely loves it. This needs to be changed ASAP, to be honest might be a good reason for us to now join TLI instead of BC



Robyn Whalley

Kev Saunders of Poole believes it would be a backwards move and wants the British Cycling board members to reconsider.

To whom this may concern

This is the first I have heard of what would be a travesty for cycling!!!
Who in they right mind could of thought of bringing this most ridiculous rule in.
Who have they consulted? Certainly not the young up and coming riders who love their competitive cycling and certainly not the parents of the children who very happily take their children to these National events to watch their smiling faces as they compete against other similar minded talented riders!
I would like to meet the people behind this, because obviously they haven’t consulted the general cyclists who love competing at National level.
It’s the sort of prank of an April fool

My two children have both competed nationally at Cycle Speedway over the last year, they race in the under 8’s and under 10’s and both are already looking forward to this years Nationals, they alongside other youngsters love every race they are in. They can’t wait for the Nationals to take place. I could not imagine how upset my son and daughter would be if they were told they are not allowed to take part in National racing!

Lets hope this is just a ridiculous rumour that certainly will not happen and whoever is thinking of bringing in this rule, they SERIOUSLY RECONSIDER what they propose! As would seriously damage competitive cycling at that age

I have and am currently involved in another sport professionally working/coaching youngsters nationally and we are always thinking of ways of how we can attract the next stars of the future into the sport, this seems a totally backward move

so so short sighted its untrue!

I look forward to hearing from the individuals who think this is the way forward?!?!

Kind regards

Kevin Saunders

(Parent of two children who love riding at Poole Cycle Speedway Club)

Steve Hodgkinson of Birmingham believes the current level of competition instills dedication and participation into our sport.

Yet more proof just how out of tune BC are with the needs of the kids and parents of cycling disciplines.  It would appear quite clear that no one from  BC has even seen any of the younger age groups racing. Unlike the adults and older groups there is much more emphasis on  taking part and being involved and dare I say it learning by riding against better opposition. Lord forbid we try instill dedication and participation into our Cycling sport!
As the youth development coach and manager for Birmingham Monarchs we are trying to get the local schools involved in the BYJL as it’s a perfect way to get youngsters racing against their own age groups, now BC would like me to tell them they can’t really take it seriously so there is no likelyhood of being able to race seriously just can only do it for fun. That’s a great attitude to have in any competitive sport   In particular Cycling – I don’t think!
At least ask the parents and kids of cycling sports what they want for there youngsters,  not act like gods. That’s the very least BC can do. Maybe it’s time to take the BYJL under the TLI banner, our kids have grown rapidly racing kids of their own age – but of course BC appear to not want that!
Stephen Hodgkinson
Youth Development Manager/Coach BirminghamMonarchs CSC

Leicester’s Tim Jarvis believes the move is an own goal for British Cycling.

So BC have netted yet another own goal. I wonder if there’s another organisation that would be happy to take on U10 and U13 riders? Even better if there’s someone out there that would not charge either the organisers or competitors for entering the events? Anyone heard of TLI?



Tim Jarvis


We had more emails than we could publish, so apologies if your views were not featured. There are plenty more views in the comments on our Facebook page, thank you to all for sending them in.

As much as we’d like to balance the argument, we have not had anyone contact us in favour of the policy, save one as covered in yesterday’s article. Reasons in favour of such a policy may not be specific to Cycle Speedway, with cases of children being dragged around the country against their will. There are also hints that this could soon be a sport wide policy implemented by governing bodies across the country.

A key thing to remember and what the CS Commission is alluding to, is that this does not prohibit competition for the age categories. The policy is suggesting that higher level competition is not wise for under 13s and the distances travelled to compete are an issue. Still, the Commission could run a countrywide event for U10 and U13, just without the prestigious titles.

In their first meeting on Saturday, it was agreed that a greater emphasis on addressing the main issues within the sport, dwindling numbers and current practices that are not working, is first and foremost needed to turn things around.

However, as is evident, many within the sport argue that taking away the spirit of national titles is a backwards step towards that long term goal.