Ball on the circuit at Bellahouston
Fourth spot finish after tight contest for the lead
West Lothian Clarion Race Team member Alex Ball took part in the under-16 category at the most recent circuit race at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow.
The event was organised by Johnstone Jets Youth Cycling. Led by Kenny Steel and Martin Mullholland, the Jets have been organising crits at Bellahouston Park in for nine years.
When the races began in 2009, 35 riders turned up across the age brackets but these days over 120 pre-enter the grass roots events, with the club hosting five “Bella crits” a year on a square circuit in the middle of the park.
They have provided a good stage on which to develop skills for riders, too with World and Commonwealth track champion Mark Stewart being a regular participant in previous years.
Conditions were warm and sunny but with a stiff wind which proved tricky to deal with for the riders.
Alex was clearly feeling confident about his chances, because he had a dig off the front in the early part of the race, although he was brought back before long.
At the halfway mark, he went once again and managed to get a 50 metre gap before the bunch reacted.
As the pace increased, a group of six went away which included Alex.
They rode hard for seven laps and built a decent lead as they entered the final lap.
At that point, Rory McGuire made a ferocious attack that almost split the group but Alex kept firmly within the bunch.
Going into the final corner, he moved into fourth spot and that’s where he would finish in the sprint, with Daniel Kane first across the line.
Clarion riders Noah and Alexi Bleteau also raced in the under-12 and under-10 age group races, respectively, enjoying their first race at Bellahouston Park.
Despite finding the windy conditions challenging, they both pushed hard and came away with some valuable lessons to apply in future events.
Fine display Alex Ball (front) just missed out on a top three finish