Over the holiday weekend at the end of August over 20 riders from Ulster attended the North West Youth Tour in England.

This was the largest number of riders ever to attend the event from Ulster region. This is one of the UK’s premier youth races with over 400 riders in attendance and was held in Lancaster and Morecombe over 3 days on closed roads.

Saturday consisted of a TT along the Morecombe Promenade, then on Sunday the race moved to a very testing road circuit just outside Lancaster town with a major climb and on Monday, the Crit took place on a road circuit around Lancaster university.

The riders were racing in larger fields than they would get to experience at home. The under 16 field consisted of 100 riders and was a spectacle watching on the crit circuit, fast and furious with lots of shouting going into the corners, “keep your line.”

We had some wonderful results across all the categories and all the Ulster riders can be proud of themselves to have competed so well in very competitive fields

Speaking after the event, Cycling Ulster Youth Academy’s Peter Brown said:

“This year the Academy awarded several bursaries to riders in the under 16 and under 14 age categories. We would like to thank the Cycling Ulster Executive in supporting this initiative, something we hope to grow next year.

“I also want to thank Gary Scott for helping with all the various queries from the riders and the parents as well as Caroline Hereward for helping with the entries for the riders.”

Below are some comments from a selection of riders who attended the event

James Armstrong, VC Glendale, U14

The North West Youth Tour was a great experience to be part of. My races had 60 competitors. I have never rode in a group of this size before at home.

The final stage was an amazing 60minute Crit around a University Campus.

The North West Youth Tour was an amazing weekend and I hope to return next year.

Curtis McKee, Scott Bright, U14

I really enjoyed the experience of racing on closed roads with the best guys in the UK, enjoyed all 3 stages and managed a podium in the road race and 5th overall on GC. Thanks to Cycling Ulster for the experience.

Aisha Gannon, Breffini Wheelers,U14

Last weekend, I travelled to Lancaster in the UK to compete in the North West Youth Tour. It was an amazing experience because I got to see what it was like to race in big groups and on different circuits, both technical and hilly. My favourite part of the tour was the second stage especially the hill.

I would like to say thank you Cycling Ulster Youth Academy for all of their help and support throughout the year. I have really enjoyed my first year of road racing.

Jamie Rockett, ARDS CC, U14

Jamie Rockett. My experience at The Northwest Youth Tour was good because the racing in England is far more fast and furious than Ireland and the big bunches make it feel like a professional peloton. I am really excited about going back next year as I will have more experience. Thank You to CUYA

Sam Coleman, Shelbourne Orchard CC, U16

With the road season coming to an end, and also the end of youth racing for me, finishing it in England in a big event was very good. With it being such a well run event and having been last year I knew what I was in for. The last stage was a super fast crit. Was a fast pace for the whole race, and was also feeling pretty cooked after the effort the day before. I got around safely though, but not getting any of the primes for bonus seconds meant I could not win the overall, so came 2nd overall, about 20th on the stage. Was very happy with this performance after a poor season for me. Was also nice to get an Orchard 2-3 with seth, showing what the Irish can do. Thanks to Cycling Ulster and NWYT organisers

Conor Murphy, Rostrevor Mountain Bike Club, U16

I was really looking forward to this event. It was the first time I had road raced outside of Ireland. The NWYT did not disappoint, racing in a field of 100 with closed roads was such a different and fantastic learning experience. The organisation of the event was brilliant.

I am already looking forward to competing again at next year’s event as a 2nd year U16. Thanks to the Cycling Ulster Youth Academy for the support.