May 2012 became a special month for two Heanor Clarion regulars.
A well-kept secret until spring … the annual Sainsbury’s 2012 Schools Games would be held as a test event for the 2012 London Olympics … young riders would be using the Olympic velodrome!
Competition for places was fierce and only the regions finest were to be selected.
Young James Shaw … still a Heanor member though now racing with the Cycle Shack/Forme Coaching RT, was an obvious pick with good form.
The situation for Ana Gill was a little different … around eight weeks ago she was approached by British Cycling and asked if she would be interested in acting as tandem pilot to a young partially sighted girl … let the madness commence!
So on Monday 7 and Tuesday 8 racing took place at the Redbridge Cycling Centre (Hogg Hill) featuring road race, crits, street sprints and team time trial (tandem time trial). The weather was changeable to say the least … making for some very interesting racing conditions!
The racing was fierce and very exciting … perhaps none more exciting than the tandem sprints … coming three abreast on the 200-metre climb with two 140 degree bends!
Tuesday’s final race, the team time trial, saw the East Midlands girl and boy teams take Gold! So, finally James made the podium!
Wednesday 9 … all change and into the London Velodrome! Talk about excitement! The tandems were warming up at 6am … at only their 4th attempt at track riding.
The track programme included scratch, keirin, points and sprint races with a flying 200 and kilo for the tandems.
After an early fall in the boys scratch race James went on the regain his composure and finish in Bronze medal position! However, the best was yet to come! The afternoon session started with a Points race … superbly ridden by James reading the race well and capitalising on race activity to great effect … going on the take the GOLD medal!
With her partner Lydia Hayden, Ana took silver medal in both races! A mighty fine performance for a pair of young riders with less than 20 hours together! Ground breaking too … juniors haven’t raced in the UK before!
The East Midlands as a whole were 3rd in the Inter-regional road race champs and Gold medal winners in the track omnium – and just brilliant!
Highlights video – if you look closely you can see a few of the local youngsters!