Sam is finding he and bikes sit well together
First title claimed just two months after road accident
HAVING his bike wrecked following a crash caused by a diesel spill on the A413 was never going to put Sam Henning off getting back into the saddle.
The former cross-country runner, from Chalfont St Peter, had only been cycling competitively for two months when the accident occurred in July.
The 15-year-old, a pupil at Dr Challenor’s, was one of a number of cyclists on the Londonbound carriageway who came a cropper as a result of a coach that had been leaking diesel all the way from Amersham to Chalfont.
Not only was Henning’s bike ruined, so too were his cycling shorts and gloves, which were in shreds, leaving the teenager with cuts and grazes but thanking his lucky stars it was nothing more serious.
Just two months later, he is celebrating his first victory in his new sport, having won the National Youth 10-Mile Time Trial in Loughborough on Saturday.
His proud father, Andrew, said: “Sam has only been cycling for his first club, Hillingdon Slipstreamers, for just over four months, but beat 179 other finalists to jointly claim his first national title with a 16-yearold, and that’s not to mention the hundreds of others he saw off in the regional rounds.
“He used to be a very successful cross-country runner. He was county champion and fourth in the UK for his age but he kept getting injured, and we came to the conclusion he didn’t have the right frame for distance running.
“If you look at Mo Farah, he is quite small with a slight frame, while Sam was lighter in his youth but is now 6ft tall and muscular. But he has always liked cycling so he looked at that instead and has never looked back.
“He used to go out on his bike but has never trained for cycling or cycled competitively, but he has always been very competitive, and he is naturally very fit from his running days. It seems he has found a sport he has the right build for.
“He’s now talking about wanting to be a professional cyclist, but he’s taking his GCSEs this year and we’re encouraging him to put his education first so he has something to fall back on.”
Henning, who is in the process of claiming against the coach company’s insurance, would also like to thank Slipstreamers’ David George, who lent him an expensive disc wheel, which gives riders more aerodynamics, for the time trial.
ALL SET: Sam Henning is set in motion in Loughborough; (inset) wearing his winner’s medal after coming joint first in the 10-mile time trial