Phase 1 complete- Academy Manager Dan sums up a great first phase for the academy riders

As we approach the middle of May it’s time to take stock of how our Academy riders are doing, Academy Manager Dan Coast reports on the completion of the Squad's first phase of the seasons and looks ahead to phase 2 of the year for our riders.

This year’s academy intake saw a good mixture of new riders into the club and the next step for our existing members as they took the step into competitive cycling and being coached. As is the case each year the older riders in the academy face the tightrope of balancing cycling alongside studies and at this time of year preparation for exams. We have always taken the approach that school comes first and for some of our riders this has been reflected in a limited number of races in this first phase.

Phase one for the academy would have a two pronged focus of firstly gaining race experience and scoring local points, secondly to compete in the national omnium track series. The season started early thanks to the efforts of the clubs at Bath who organised easy season crits at Odd Down, a great early opportunity to look at our riders in competition and to see what areas to focus on in the coming months. In these early phases there were some very encouraging signs from a number of our riders who scored results early on, the challenge would be perhaps to ensure they weren’t going to peak too soon?

Monthly racing at Newport along with club training sessions on the boards developed our riders track craft and bunch handling, they were spinning much better and improving skills that would help them later in the year on the road. Laura continued to gain confidence and the boys were starting to gel as a team, this was further enhanced as the boys travelled together to race across the UK on road & TT’s in order to bond further.

The regions traditional season opener at Castle combe on Good Friday further enhanced the team ethos as the riders rode intelligently and all making a huge improvement from the year’s first race at Bath where some were struggling at the back, this time they were right at the front at a national standard field of riders.

We were now at the sharp end of this phase with racing moving to the track and 4 races in close proximity as the riders looked to qualify from the regional to National omnium final. Round 1 at Bournemouth was rained off so a trip to Cardiff for Round 2 and for some the first ever taste of track racing. Laura continued to grow in confidence and began to believe in herself and impose herself onto the other riders. The boys were mixing it up well with Krispin joining in at round 2 to gain more bunch experience following winning the national para championship’s, beating teammate Ollie into 2nd place. Matty got his first race under his belt and looks one for the future, able to handle the pace we just need to build confidence in the bunches and have some belief in himself.

The next round at Reading saw a slightly depleted BCDS bunch with George feeling ill and Morgan nursing his wounds from a mid- week crash at Castle combe. Laura continued to improve and hold a qualifying place into the final round. Charlie Kelly was working really well with strong performances in the bunch races as well.

The final round and with it all to play for at Newport. As our "home” track we were looking forward to this one, George & Charlie were joint 13th place going into the final round, Sam Kelly in 9th and Laura holding onto 5th. A slightly shorter programme would occur at Newport as the sprinters favourite; the kerin was dropped due to a tight timetable. The TT’s went well for our riders with only Sam having an issue as he pulled his foot out at the start. Scratch races saw a lot of attacks, particularly from George who is turning into a great track rider with a real eye for an opportunity to attack; you’d have thought he’d been racing on the track for years rather than a few months. Morgan & Charlie were ridding very smartly following moves and positioning themselves well. Laura continued to score points in each event and was looking good for qualification. Josh has been busy with his studies and struggled with the lack of racing, without the sprint in the programme it wasn’t going to be his day. Matty and new member Evie had a good showing in the races and is one to watch in 2017.

At the end though BCDS were unable to qualify a rider for the National final, I believe this is partly due to the fact that we are in an extremely tough region, especially in competition with the Welsh riders, whereas the region was a lot easier last year without them. Our riders have nothing to feel ashamed by, it was a tough year and for many they have next year in the category to have another go. I would expect many of our riders to still make the trip to Cardiff later this year and use it as a way to watch & learn the other riders with one eye on the 2017 series. 

Final Overall

Phase 2 starts immediately with the Closed circuit national series which kicks off in the centre of Cardiff on a tricky technical route around the civic centre on the 21st May, we then have other national events across the uk every couple of weeks into the summer holidays. With the exams so to be out of the way we hope to see the full squad of riders back in the mix for this next phase.

Well done to everyone for a great first phase & here’s looking forward to phase 2.

Keep up the great work.




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