Great day of racing at 3rd annual Lewis Balyckyi Crits at the Blackpool Promenade on Sunday 11th May
Report & Results – Lewis Balyckyi Memorial Crits
(Report by Alexander Reed, photos by Martin Holden)
Rain, wind and one very steep hill, that’s what the riders had to deal with at the Blackpool Promenade for the 3rd annual Lewis Balyckyi Memorial Crits. The event was organised by Jerrod Hartley in memory of Lewis Balyckyi, a promising young cyclist from the North West who sadly died in 2011, and all proceeds went to the Lewis Balyckyi Trust Fund (www.lbtf.org) which gives financial support to young British cyclists racing throughout Europe, as well as supporting other good causes such as the NW Air Ambulance. The event was sponsored by Smiths Equipment Hire (www.smithshire.com) who provided the crowd control barriers, barrier tape, fire extinguishers, generators, tables, chairs and safety signs. Thanks must also go to Blackpool Council for allowing the use of the Promenade as the circuit and for supplying plastic safety barriers to protect riders from road furniture.
The first race of the day was for the Under 8s and the winning boy was Trayden Jarrett who just pipped Riley-Saint Simmons and, the winning girl, Esther Wong to the line. It was followed by the Under 10s race which was comfortably won by Scott Fisher who crossed the finish line ahead of Deetray Jarrett in second place. Evelina Black finished not far behind to win in the girls’ category. The Under 12 boys then took to the challenging 1.9km course for their race. George Southby pulled away in the first lap and maintained his lead to win the race, with George Ball in hot pursuit finishing second. Tilly Percy was the first girl
Then it was time for the biggest event of the morning, the Under 14 and Under 16 Boys race. 35 riders were on the start line and were treated to a brief period of blue sky for their race. In the Under 14 category, the peloton of 12 riders stayed together for the whole of the race as attacks failed to prevail. It came down to a bunch sprint and it was Jack Ford who took victory over Alex Ridehalgh and Jim Brown.
In the Under 16 category, it wasn’t until the second lap that the decisive move was made as Robert Scott pulled away from the peloton. Harry Hardcastle and Jamie Ridehalgh chased hard and they soon caught Scott to form a 3-man breakaway which would never be seen again by the rapidly dwindling main bunch. The trio worked brilliantly together and built up a lead of two minutes over Adam Hartley and Timothy Jones who continued to chase. It came down to a sprint between the three of them and Scott just beat Hardcastle to the line with Ridehalgh coming in for third.
After the boys had their turn, it was time for the Under 14 and Under 16 Girls race. Lucy Horrocks pulled away from the other 4 girls in the first few laps and she stayed away for nearly the whole race, only to be caught by Anna Docherty and Rhiannon Gornall with 4 laps to go. The trio of Under 14s worked together and it came down to a sprint which Anna Docherty won by just 0.025 seconds over Gornall and Horrocks. Sophie Thackray came in not far behind and was the winning Under 16 girl.
After a short break for the Youth prize presentation, it was time for the 2/3/4 Women race. Almost immediately, Eve Dixon, Abby Parkinson and Amy Gornall pulled away from the group and worked brilliantly together as the weather turned bleak. Not far behind, a group of 5 riders battled the conditions in pursuit of the escapees but their efforts proved futile as the leading trio lapped all the other competitors. It once again came down to a sprint and Eve Dixon rocketed to victory with Parkinson just edging out Gornall for second.
Shortly after the women, it was the turn of the 4th Cat men. There were 3 guests of honour in this race: David Smith, Chris Hall and Rob Montgomery from Smiths Equipment Hire, the main sponsor of the event. The strong wind combined with the tough terrain made the race incredibly challenging but no less exciting as Anthony Bromley pulled away from the group. He kept the pressure on and built up quite a lead over the peloton. It wasn’t long, though, before Aaron Tonks, Mark Horrocks and Paul Braithwaite began their pursuit. Braithwaite struggled to keep it up and dropped off but Tonks and Horrocks continued chasing and caught Bromley with around 3 laps to go. It came down to a sprint to the line and Bromley showed that his solo efforts hadn’t left him tired as he unleashed a powerful sprint to beat Horrocks with Tonks crossing the line in third place.
With all but one of the races completed, the weather brightened up and the riders lined up on the start line for the 2/3/4 Men race. The peloton stayed together for the first part of the race as the riders got to grips with the course. Then, on the 4th lap, Robert Scott and Tom Pidcock, both Under 16s riding up with dispensation, pulled away from the group, just like Scott had done a few hours before in the Under 16s race. The two riders worked brilliantly together and, as the race progressed, the lead of the escapees only increased. With 5 laps to go, Gerallt Allen and Ryan Whatmough shot off the front of the main bunch with a view to catching Scott and Pidcock. Despite narrowing the gap, the two leaders stayed away going into the final lap. It came down to a very fast sprint for the line but Robert Scott couldn’t match Tom Pidcock who raised his arms in the air as he won the final race of the day.
More photos from the event can be viewed at www.flickr.com/photos/mhp-martinholdenphotography/sets.
The Lewis Balyckyi Trust Fund would like to thank all the riders, officials, sponsors, parents and, most of all, the volunteers who made the event a great success which raised nearly £4000 !!! Without all your help and support we could not do what we do. Hopefully we will see you all in September.