The hours of travel and practice put in by the cycle trials boys often goes unnoticed, but as with any sport the way to the top takes so much dedication and time. As with the motorcycle trials riders the experience gained competing abroad always stands you well, as you meet new organisers and it gives you the chance to see the foreign opposition. Great Britain has some superb new young riders on the cycle trials scene and, as you will see, they are quite capable of mixing it with the very best as we take a quick look at the second round of the Belgium National Cup competition, which took place at Aywaille in April.
The riding ability of two young English riders, Adam Morewood and Charlie Rolls, has not gone unnoticed neither. Adam Morewood plays a very important part in the Jitsie international cycle squad based in Belgium and Charlie Rolls is part of the Crossbow team from Spain. Both riders spend so much time on the continent that they are probably better known in Europe than Great Britain!
The second round of the Belgium National Cup was held at the excellent man-made facility in Aywaille, which is also a very popular motorcycle trials venue, having been used as one for many years, situated south-east of Belgium and very close to Liege. This event was categorised in the international calendar by cycling’s world governing body the UCI as a C1 category event, meaning that it carried points that would count to the overall UCI rankings for the riders.
This ranking sorts the top ten in the 20” and 26” categories, who automatically qualify for the semi-finals in the upcoming World Cup events, allowing the riders to miss the tiring quarter finals. Due to this it attracted a high-quality field with riders from around Belgium, Holland, France, Germany, Spain and Great Britain. Four riders from Great Britain made the short journey across the channel waters to compete. Will Ackerley (Crewkerz) and Charlie Rolls (Crossbow) are competing against the world’s Elite riders in the World Cup this season so were out to get some points on the table and to gain valuable experience on the yellowgated Elite sections.
Adam Morewood (Jitsie) cannot ride the World Cup until 2017 due to his age, but he also decided to gain early experience of the Elite sections in readiness for next season. As his sponsor, Jitsie is based in Belgium so it made good sense to give them some home exposure for their products.
The fourth rider from Great Britain was Reece Seymour (Crossbow) who competed in the correct class for his age on the Black Cadet course in preparation for the summer’s UCI World Youth Games to be held in Denmark.
It was a great sunny day for the competition, but the heat only added to the already severe sections, which was taking its toll on the riders. Reece Seymour had a titanic battle over the three laps of five sections with local Belgian rider Tom Le Cloirec. Despite the home advantage he beat him by a single mark to take the second step on the podium behind another Belgian rider, Hobie Philipin, who took the win.
The Elite class had a top quality field with multiple World Champions Vincent Hermance from France and Kenny Beleay from Belgium both present, along with both the current Junior World Champions: Nicholas Vallee in the 26” class from France and Eloi Palau in the 20” from Spain. Also competing were some other top-twenty ranked riders, meaning that the British riders were going to have a tough day of action.
The sections were set out to suit the high-class field of riders and it was a war of attrition for the young British trio to just try and get through some of the sections. Unlike motorcycle trials, the fourth dab results in four marks lost and the fifth a failure, similar to the FIM X-Trial Indoor series, so riders couldn’t ‘paddle’ through the sections just to get a three.
The three lads stuck at it until the end and did themselves proud, with Charlie ninth overall and the fourth-best 20” class rider, Adam in tenth position and the fifth-best 20” class rider, and Will eleventh and the sixth-best in the 20” class. It was very tight at the top with the very experienced thirty-three year old Frenchman Vincent Hermance (Clean-Hebo) taking top spot, just one mark in front of his nineteen-year-old protege Nicholas Vallee (Jitsie) on ten marks lost, and thirty-four year old Red Bull athlete Kenny Beleay rounding out the podium in third. The best 20” class rider was seventeen-year-old Spaniard Alejandro Montalvo (Jitsie) in fourth position overall as he just out-pointed his fellow Spanish rider nineteen-year-old Eloi Palau (Crossbow).
The 2017 British Trials Cup got underway on the 2nd of April at Addingham Moorside in Yorkshire. This was the first event under the new organisers of the Biketrial Federation. The observing rules remain unchanged from 2016 but the new section layouts and the three laps of six sections seemed to go down very well with the twenty nine riders present, with ages ranging from seven to forty-five years old with a class to suit all riders of different ages and abilities. Owen Gawthorpe took his first ever Elite National win from last season’s champion Andrei Burton.
Other class winners were: Andrew Chai, Expert Senior; Reece Seymour, Expert; Paul Grange, Cadet; Stuart Robertson, Intermediate Senior; Josh McParland, Intermediate; Carl Weightman, Novice Senior; Bailey Dacker, Novice; Nate Robinson, Primary Senior; Oliver Cooper, Primary.
Adam Morewood (Jitsie-GBR)
Charlie Rolls (GBR)
Will Ackerley (GBR)
54 Nicolas Vallee (Jitsie-FRA)
Alejandro Montalvo (Jitsie-ESP)