NEWS: Poole retain British Youth and Junior League title

Poole regained their title as British Youth & Junior League Champions in the final national round at Wednesfield on Saturday.

The club’s 21 rider squad not only lifted the overall title, but were successful in 4 of the 6 age categories. Club Chairman Graham Sutton paid tribute to everyone involved in the support group organised under the guidance of Neil Garnett and, of course the enthusiastic riding squad who are all graduates of the popular “Harbourside Clubnights”. Neil expressed special thanks on behalf of the Poole club to hard working event organiser Ross Mee who personally supplied many of the trophies.

It has been a big logistical exercise on the road to success with four regional qualifiers making way for national rounds at Bury, Hethersett and Wednesfield after the first round on their own Baiter Park circuit. Exeter were the closest rivals in the early rounds and they eventually came through to take overall 2nd place, making a clean sweep for the South West Region.

In the youngest age category, Poole were the leading club with Oli Saunders taking the trophy for top individual in the group which also saw Natalie Goulden, Scottie Rowles, Ben Ives and the Collins brothers Charlie and Max contribute towards the U8’s success. Meanwhile, Joe Hurren and Mackenzie Briggs were ever presents in the U10’s who finished 6th in the group.

One of the tightest groups was the U12’s where 2014 champions Kesgrave were strong challengers but a final round victory for the talented quartet of Nathan Goulden, Maddie Saunders, Anna Tuttle and KJ Legge at Wednesfield, sealed the overall group victory. Moving up to the U14’s, Poole were successful in each of the four national rounds, keeping them well ahead of nearest challengers Stockport and Coventry. There were good contributions from newcomer Ryan Bollom in support of Callum Smith, Fraser Garnett and Ben Tinsdale who were all ever presents.

The battle for the U17 top spot provided the closest contest of all with Ipswich, Wednesfield and Poole neck and neck throughout the year. On the final day, the Aces won the round to draw level with Poole at the top of the group so the honours in this age group were shared. Callum Albin was runner-up in the individual stakes behind Brandon Whetton, with valuable contributions from Jay Briggs, Jordan Bradford and George Newman.

Last and by no means least, the Poole trio of Krissie Mines, Macie Schmidt and Bethany Briggs finished a creditable 2nd behind group winners Exeter with Krissie Mines taking the silver individual medal as the closest challenger to the unbeaten Lauren Hookway. With Krissie and Lauren both ineligible for 2016,  could it be one of the other Poole girls to step up to the plate next season?

With question marks being raised by British Cycling over the very future of national competitions for U13 riders, the 2015 BYJL campaign proved just how much enthusiasm exists and how vibrant and competitive all the age categories are. For the clubs and riders who support the competition, any such changes would be unthinkable.