Cycling season is proving perfect for Pirates
At the halfway point in their first summer season, the Solent Pirates Youth Cycling Club can celebrate two national champions, a host of podium places and almost 40 riders having competed in road, track and mountain bike events.
At the recent national schools hill climb, the club entered 27 riders with victories for Kara Perryman (under-13 girls) and Josh Fawcett (under-nine boys). Many other riders achieved PBs for the day and placed in the top five for their age groups.
The following day brought the national schools omnium, in which the club again performed very well - gaining several podium finishes and many time-trial PBs.
Of particular note were the strong rides by Perryman (silver, under-13 Girls) and Ellen Flewitt (bronze, under-nine girls) - both in their first season of fixed-wheel riding.
The club have also been well represented at the national youth omnium series with 14 different riders between nine and 14 dipping their toes into this technically-demanding but exciting style of bike racing - historically the grooming track for the likes of Olympic hero Laura Trott.
With much racing left this season, the club are looking forward to the Winchester Criterium and to the cyclo-cross season, when they hope to be holding their own short series.
Solent Pirates are the only cycling club in the West Sussex and Hampshire exclusively for youth cyclists between six and 16. Started less than 12 months ago, the club now boast more than 70 youth members, 13 British Cycling-qualified adult coaches in road, track, mountain bike and cyclo-cross, a fleet of club track bikes and even a small HQ.
Most road and cyclo-cross sessions are run from their premises at the Thorney Island MoD base, but sessions are also run from various velodromes and mountain bike venues locally. Any youth riders interested in joining should visit www.solentpirates.org