So it’s that time of year again, festive excesses are the subject of new year’s resolutions that melt away quicker than the recent snow. For some though the resolve is stronger and none more so than the young men of Spokes Racing Team.
Those that made the cut for 2018 following the October training camp appreciate the set up and support which is unparalleled in Scottish Junior cycling.
We’ve been following the team over the past few seasons and whilst the names and faces change the level of support and commitment from owner Craig Grieve and DS Blair Whiteside seems to grow each year.
With riders of the calibre of Grant and Fraser Martin graduating with honours to the senior ranks, to say nothing of a certain Mark Stewart, there’s no doubt the formula has successfully cultivated Scottish talent, offering opportunities to taste the life and progress to the next level.
Mark remains a keen supporter of the team, donating items each year for the fund-raising auction.
It’s time for the 2017 report card and to look forward to the 2018 season and the dreams of riders old and new.
We managed to catch up with the guys at the team launch and fundraising dinner on Saturday night in deepest Fife.
The Class of ’17
- Stephen Dent completed his second season with team in ’17. This year Stephen is off to Belgium to ride with Baguet MIBA Poorten Cycling Team with support from The David Raynor Fund. His most impressive results at the Kontich UCI 2.1 with a 1st and 2nd on stages which generated some interest and resulted in the ride with Baguet being offered. As the reigning Scottish Junior Criterium Champion Stephen will be looking forward to the kermis scene (the team had an impressive 1-2-3 with Joe Reilly silver and Finn Crocket Bronze in the Junior Criterium championships at Ingliston).
- Alex Ridehalgh. First year with the team in ’17 and back for 2018. Alex had a mixed season. Glandular fever disrupting his plans but a win in the Gorey Three Day and strong performances in Belgian Interclubs and kermesses bode well for a strong and hopefully healthy year ahead.
- Joe Reilly. Completed his second year with Spokes and a successful year it was, 6th at the British Junior Road race champs has seen him sign for Vitus Pro Cycling for 2018 under the direction of Cherie Pridham
- Dylan Hughes. Another new recruit last year who had an impressive year. A silver medal in the Youth Commonwealth Games Time Trial in the Bahamas the highlight.
- Charlie Johnston. new in ’17 his year was de-railed by a crash in the Cicle classic with a broken collar bone and wrist for his troubles. He will be looking for better luck this season.
For some riders 2018 will see new challenges away from the Spokes environment:
- Finn Crocket. Having spent a year with the team and impressing Craig with his strength Finn is currently out in France and taking it a bit easier for now. Finn will be racing domestically for the Wheelbase outfit this season.
- George Wharton. The Englishman joined the team in ’17 and has decided to try to balance studying at University with his racing this year.
So to new talent coming on board for 2018:
- Oliver Murray. After only little over a year of racing he joins the Spokes ranks and is looking forward to racing and learning from his Team-mates.
- Ben Barlow. A second year junior who took a win at the round of the British national Series at Hillingdon and with his first cat licence secured last year he will be looking for some big results.
- Alfie George. Had an amazing Youth Tour of Scotland, taking the overall, Points classification and two stage wins. He has already been on the boards this winter recently winning the Scratch race and Madison at an international track meeting in Appeldoorn in the Netherlands.
- Morgan Bown. Only started pedalling in April ’17 and has progressed and impressed Craig and Blair so much that he secured a slot on the team for 2018. We look forward to watching his development.
- Scott Howieson. A first year junior in ’18. As the reigning Scottish U16 Criterium Champion and having placed 9th overall in the Errigal international Youth Tour he has clearly got some talent.
- Alex Dent. Following in the footsteps of older brother Stephen and hailing from Fort William, (a town that has produced some serious cycling talent) he joins the team for 2018. Having taken the silver in the U16 Criterium champs he will be looking to go one better this year. He is also a talented climber and with this ability he will be another to watch develop.
The programme for 2018 looks impressive with forays planned from March to September with all the home countries on the itinerary as well as France, Holland and Belgium.
A mixture of local, national and international events will see the riders mixing it at every level.
The season starts in March in Wales at the Cadence race. April sees the team return to the Gorey 3 day, the Tour of the Mendips, Tombrook in Belgium and the Tour de Pays d’Othe in France rounding out a busy month.
Forays to the 3 days of Axel, with stages in both Holland and Belgium follow in May.
Britain’s answer to Paris Roubaix, The Cicle Classic is next on the Programme in June.
Not content to be running a team the Spokes guys also organise a national Series race in Scotland and the team will be aiming for a good result.
June is rounded out with the Monmouth Grand Prix in Wales.
July has the team back in Belgium for the 55th Sint Martinus
The Ronde Des Valles in France, the GP Roger De Konink in Belgium and the Junior Tour of Wales will make August a busy month for the team.
The final big road race of the year sees the team return to Belgium one last time for the Philippe Gilbert Junior Road Race in September.
The Team launch and fundraiser evening saw special guest Cherie Pridham, Team Principle with Vitus Pro Cycling for 2018 and formerly DS at Raleigh GAC unsurprisingly encouraging the riders to do what their DS tells them and make the most of the opportunity they have with the team.
No mean rider herself, Cherie completed the Tour De France Feminine on no fewer than eight occasions back in the day.
The evening proved to be an occasion for meeting former rivals with Eric Schlordt, Roiseal CRT in attendance and catching up with Dave Chapman who also won the blind auction for mark Stewarts team GB skinsuit from the Madison at the world track championships.
Craig feels the team is more complete than in previous years with sprinters, climbers, testers and men for the GC.
We wish them all well and look forward to catching up with them during the season.
If you want to support the team they have set up a Just Giving page.