Farnham Festival of Cycling

7th of July 2019

Winning at Farnham in empathic style

Abbey and some of her Suffolk Youth Race Team mates went down to Farnham in Surrey today in one of the last big races of the season. The races had strong fields and reasonably good numbers too.

Abbey had a reasonable start, at about 10th into the first corner. This is better than her normal position into the 1st corner, which is last. As the leaders finished the first lap, Abbey had forced herself into 2nd overall. She stormed the race and finished 1st by a very long way.


Fete Du Velo 2019

30th of June 2019 at Redourn Hertfordshire

On a beautiful day in Hertfordshire Abbey travelled an hour and a half to the amazing Redbourn event. In many ways a traditional village green crit but catering for everyone with riders from Ipswich and surround areas in attendance. Below are some photos of Abbey. It has to be said we have seen larger fields at Fete Du Velo, but still the racing was amazing.

Abbey had a great race with a boy. He led from the start, Abbey reeled him on, worked out his strengths and weaknesses and did her thing for the last 2 laps to win be the length of the finishing straight.

Abbey podium – 1st place
Abbey in though on the 2nd row
My favorite photo with Abbey realising whats going to happen as the race starts. Sharp girl
Fist lap with Abbey and Aaron chasing the leader
Abbey making the catch
Passing to take the lead
Eventually Abbey won with a fair distance to 2nd place

Minehead Grand Prix

National Youth Series

23rd of June 2019

Minehead is a fare way from Suffolk, but an undefeated in 2019 Abbey went to take on the best U10s in the country. The Minehead Grand Prix saw Sophia Bednarek and Lauren Oldfield enter from the midlands and North England. The course was a triangle around the ton centre with a power sapping dead turn at the top of the town centre,.

Abbey shadowed for three laps by eventual 2bd place and top rider

Abbey had a fairly good start using a reverse splits. The significantly more powerful boys got around 15 seconds on the 1st lap. Abbey reeled them in lap after lap until she was in 2nd overall for a few seconds. Then the boys broke away again, compounded by a slow rider accidently pushing Abbey into the barriers where she bounced into the air, but held it together,

Last lap, unlucky to meet the lad on a non-race bike the field lapped three times. Unfortunatly it took Abbey out of the sprint.

The commentator added a bit of excitement and confusion by stating Abbey was 1st with 2nd place still in the main peloton with her, but the girl that had been on Abbeys wheel had been long dropped. Calls to Abbey to be aware that one of the riders in the group was a girl meant Abbey had to push to the max to neutralise the threat, and reduce the threat of being out sprinted at the end. This brought forward lap times in excess of 21.6mph and top speeds heading towards 30mph. In he end it turned out that the commentator had seen Abbey lap the 3rd place girl. Abbey was proud to represent her club and again show everyone that suffolk youth have what it takes to win. Abbey had a bit of drama tangling with a mountain bike and getting taken out before the sprint with the boys.

Great podium with lovely kids


Winchester Grand Prix 2019

9th of June 2019

This was the first time Suffolk Youth Race Team had been to the Winchester Grand Prix. The town centre had been closed off and safety barriers erected around the course. There was a carnival atmosphere in the air with a lot of eager riders checking every thing and everyone out. The course went up the high Street, and around the back of the town close to the Abbey. The commentator from the Ovo Tour was there telling the substantial crowd what was going on, which made all the difference. Those looking on actually understood what was happening around them.

In the race with Abbey was Orla Willis a great rider from the South East. Abbey took to the start-line after the boys had started. Abbey had one of her worst starts, as can be seen below with Orla having a great start on the far right and Abbey so far back shes not visible in the photo.

Orla rode a great race that made the day.

Abbey slowly passing riders as Orla gets away
Pushing lap after lap
Until Orla was just in sight
Abbey Just of sight with Orla riding well. – Photo by Toby Willis
2 laps to go, just insight of latching on to Orlas wheel and taking a short breather
The bell rings and both girls are together to fight it out on the tight and twisty circuit
We haven’t got a photo, but Abbey just out sprinted Orla by half a bikes length
Orla Willis (left) a rider with a great future, Abbey (centre, very proud) and Grace Upshall (right)

Paris Roubaix 2019

!!!SYRT Win in Roubaix!!!

SYRT took one rider to the Youth Paris Roubaix this year Abbey Thompson. Abbey has had a good year to date in Under 10s. She has won every race she has finished including the U10 girls National Championships, the National Youth Series Road Race in the Isle of Man along with many more. The pinnacle of Abbeys season was a weekend trip to France and back (referred to as a bounce) last weekend.

We had to get to the hotel early Saturday afternoon, change, then find the start of the course, recce the Paris Roubaix course (including exactly where to start, lines though the neutralised zone, how to make a decisive break, how to deal with the top international riders fighting for the win, how to stay relaxed and not stress and above all… “self-belief”. Then it was back to the hotel by 9pm, eat, sleep and be up by 07:30 to eat breakfast, pack the car, check out of the hotel and drive into Roubaix some 20 miles away to sign on. Unfortunately, even the locals didn’t understand the race, so no helpful answers. The toilet signs at Roubaix existed, which started off being promising, but they were circular which infuriated even the French riders. The bottom-line being there were no toilets.

Once signed on, we took the option to not mess and drive straight to the start. We used our own prepared food and drink, rather than take a chance with upset tummies. We arrived into the village of Chereng, where the start appeared to be. Once at Chereng we soon made friends with the famous Maindy Flyers, who we had met in other racers during the season, the French team with national and regional, as well as department champions (I need to google that), as well as lovely Dutch riders and families etc. Our one common theme was that no-one knew what the heck was happening and we had to literally prize the information from the officials, who to be fair were lovely people

Two hours to go, we found a building site with an unofficial Portaloo hidden on site, behind Team Frances awnings. A few beers exchanged, as currency, and the loo’s were now marshalled by Team France with access to the British riders given. This turned out to be quite a big deal and gave the Brits some Kudos.

There was a lot of posturing, team riders swarming of the local village centres etc going on.

1 hr to go and nearly all of the riders were making mistakes in the 32-35 degrees of heat. Abbey played it cool, and did her standard prep. The start was neutralised, so it was important to work out where to be in the role out. The girls started at the same time as the boys, but were allowed to start at the front of the 80 plus field. The race was very professional looking with motor cycle out riders, commissaires car, and general convoy. At the last minute the organisers realised that they needed to get a police car from the back of the stationary peloton to the front…. on a narrow road. The shuffle took about 10 mins with a lot of smiling parents. The riders rolled out at quite a pace.

Parents were not allowed to follow the course which caused a bit of mayhem getting back to Roubaix before the riders.
Back to the race, Abbey took her first planned attack, which turned out to be decisive. She reached the first of three sections of Pave (very, very tough cobbles) in first place.

We know boys are faster than girls, so it was only a matter of time before the faster boys passed Abbey, which happened during the first cobbled section. Abbey then pushed hard utilising the lines the boys used ahead, as she was not that familiar with the course. Over the short 10Km course Abbey maintained first place with a 30 second gap all the way to the last 2Kms. We think the marshals expected the riders to know whereto go, but at 2k to go there was a fork in the road that she hadn’t seen on our recce ride the previous day. After some waved arms and a foot down, the marshals saw the issue and pointed the way to go. The gap to 2nd place had reduced, but Abbey has been taught to not panic and got back into her rhythm and pushed hard into the famous Roubaix Velodrome.
I managed to park 2Kms from the stadium and missed Abbey winning, but found her and she told her story.

The presentations came straight after the U23s finished with British World champion, Tom Pidcock, winning his race. Abbey received a lovely presentation and a jovial mention alongside Tom Pidcock that made her smile.

We then literally rushed home with Abbey laden with flowers, a piece of Pave and a Trophy.

Next year we should have a strong team out there and hopefully more success.

The team is always looking for more riders, so contact us if you are interested in joining in the fun.

The team is always looking for more riders, so contact us if you are interested in joining in the fun.

2019 Youth National Championships at OULTON Park – May 2019

A bit shy to point to the stripes

Suffolk Youth Race Team travelled to Oulton Park in Cheshire with Abbey and Aaron, supported by their families.

Abbey and Aaron both had terrible starts, got hustled off a rolling start line and ended up at the back due to a bit of unusual riding by a rider that eventually came almost last. They also both survived a crash in the peloton that split the u10s and u12s and both fought their socks off.

Both pulled through and got back into the group, with Abbey pulling herself just shy off the under 12 group off the front. Very strong ride from Abbey and she won the under 10 girls by a fair distance, and tbh I think only one boy in the under 10’s was ahead of her…. Aaron did well, until a Marshall pulled him off with the under 8’s after 2 laps… Luckily, club official, Riana was there to get him back on the track, by then some momentum, positioning had gone but he fought his was back. No idea where he came yet but he had a big smile afterwards, and really enjoyed riding the race course… ‘dad it felt like the tour de France with the motorbikes alongside us’… We know Aaron has loads of work to do but he enjoyed himself so for me, it was a success (by Billy Pittson).

There are plenty of riders in the team coming through that could do well next year.

Proud National Champion
Aaron and Abbey having a team pic taken before the start

Billy steadying Aaron on his rollers
An ever increasingly busy Pit Lane
Strange behaviour at the gridding area, with dad protecting Abbeys rear mech
Straight after the bad start with Abbey and Aaron way at the back
Abbey soon caught Sophia and passed using coached technique to pull a quick gap
Abbey then set off after eventual second placed girl Lauren
Aaron driving along the start finish line catching riders as he tried to make up time after being taken off
Determined to move up the field in pursuit of he next rider
Abbey making the hill look easier this year
Aaron passing another rider in contador-esque style
Abbey passing U12 boys
Breather before setting off after the next group of U12s
2nd U10 (1st girl) after losing so much time at the start
Abbey taking the flag to become National /champion, not that she knew that at the time
Gallant effort trying to catch someone who wasn’t there in the end
I think this is called dabbing
Happy riders after such brilliant efforts from both
Getting her gold Medal
3 happy girls
Happy Kids with coach
Team mates
Simply my favourite photo (by Riana)
Race report by Billy, Riana and Leon

SYRT AT THE isle of Man National Youth Series 3-day event – May 2019

At the end of March Abbey Thompson sponsored by Gibbons Plant Hire and Stonham Barns, with just five weeks to the Isle of Man National Youth Series 3-day Race, the biggest race of her season, fractured her right arm in a cycle racing incident at the Olympic Park in Stratford. After the accident, Abbey worked tirelessly to get fit in time for the race. She had been told by the doctors that she could not ride for 3-4 weeks after the injury. There was no way to know if she was ready until the first day’s race.

Day one was a 1.6Km sprint up a hill outside of Douglas. Abbey gave it her all and came second over-all with a healthy gap back to 2nd place, but with a ten second deficit to first place.  The winner was a very talented Melanie Rowe, daughter of Olympic Silver medallist Sarah Rowe.

Day two saw a daunting and very steep hill climb at Glen Vine. This race had a group start and Abbey had to fight from the back to lead within the first 300mtrs, with the knowledge she had to take the win and pull back the 10 seconds. Abbey led to the top of the hill in the points leader’s Green jersey, but the Pink jersey pipped Abbey on the line and gained more bonus seconds.

Day three was the road race at the National Sports Centre. This is Abbeys strength. Abbey knew she had to win the race and take out a lead of over thirteen seconds on the Pink jersey to take over-all winner and claim both Green and ink jerseys. Abbey had a bad start with riders either side of her clattering her off the line. Abbey overtook rider after rider on the first lap to be on the wheel of the Pink jersey by the end of the first lap. The riders came into sight on lap two with Abbey sprinting hard with an 8 second lead as she crossed the line. The Pink jersey worn by Olympic Silver Medallist Sarah Rowe’s daughter Melanie was in full pursuit. As the laps unfolded both girls were a long way ahead of the rest of the race, with the Pink jersey slowly reeling Abbey in. The Pink Jersey sprinted past Abbey, but Abbey using tactics sprinted too, passed the Pink jersey whilst sprinting took the time to look into the girl’s eyes before slowing a little, just to let her know she was still strong. Abbey sat on the Pink jerseys wheel until 4 laps to go, when she used a technique she was taught in her coaching sessions to break away again, this time it was all or nothing. Abbey knew 4 laps was enough to get the 13 seconds, and it was defendable. Any earlier and she risked being reeled in again. Abbey came across the line with around six seconds lead, the next lap a nine second lead. Then the Pink jersey head down and fighting relentlessly started to pull seconds back especially as they passed some back markers. Abbey eventually came across the line beating the previously unbeaten Scottish rider to take the Road Race win, over-all Green jersey, 2nd on general classification.

Primavera round 2

Abbey raced today at Primavera Round 2 at the Olympic Park in Stratford. It was a very windy day, with winds reaching 50mph. Plenty of medals for SYRT today.

Abbey winning at the Olympic Park

In the Under 10 Girls race Abbey took 1st place, hanging on, just, to Noah Smith’s wheel. Noah took 2nd overall, with Abbey taking 3rd overall.

SYRT at the Castle Combe Road Race 19th of April 2019

Suffolk Youth Race Team went down to Castle Combe for the Easter Friday Road Race. First race was the Under 8 Boys race and we had Callum Thompson representing the team; only 6 years old with 3 years left including this year in this category; it was a big ask to come anywhere other than last. As they started Callum clipped in quickly and took off down the start finish straight at quite a pace. As the field turned left into the pit exit and headed back up the hill, it was hard to see where the riders were placed due to the pit wall being between us and pit lane. The riders headed up past the last corner and back onto the start finish straight. To our shock Callum was in 3rd place with the field close in pursuit. Shouts out to Callum to change gear, but he was already there changing to top gear and sprinting down the straight. The other older lads closing in fast down the hill. Callum checked behind as we warned him of the closing peloton. He put his head down and pressed on. This happened for the 20 minutes of th e He put his head down and pressed on. This happened for the 20 minutes of the race with Callum obviously flying up the hill in the pit lane. The two riders who beat Callum were 8 year olds riding for ‘Cotswold Veldrijden’ and the very famous ‘Maindy Flyers’, the latter being the club of a number of Tour de France riders including one TdF winner. Callum was over the moon with his 3rd place and the £5 note he received as prize money.

Callum checking how close the chasers were
Post race bar of chocolate seemed to wear well…
Callum with the very friendly and nice officials

Next was the Under 8s Girls race. Suffolk Youth Race Team had Eva in the race on her new bike. Eva had a great start and was about 6th into the first corner. Eva powered up the pit lane overtaking her competitors as she went. Eva then had a ding-dong battle with a girl trying to take 4th place off Eva. Ever persisted and drove hard to keep her 4th place to the line. Eva was a little disappointed to be 4th, but considering the quality of the field, it was explained to her how well she had actually done. Its good for the youths to want to do well, it will drive them on in the future. Eva is now proud of her result, as are we. Great effort.

Eva at the Start line
Pre-race sighting lap for Eva in front and with her older sister
Eva (right) with her siblings and team mates

Last was the Under 10s race. Abbey represented the team in this race. Abbey has a history of winning road races, but on her birthday around 3 weeks ago, Abbey was involved in an two incidents in a road race in London, neither of them her mistake, with the second causing a fracture to her right arm. This race was her come back race. Abbey had been working on her indoor trainer for the three weeks she wasn’t allowed to ride. This keeps strength intact, but not aerobic capacity. There was also the psychological angle around commitment. Abbeys race had top quality riders in the field, with Orla Willis, ex-national champion and the top riders from the
‘Maindy Flyers’ Criterium League. The boys race started some 10-15 seconds before the race, so the ask to Abbey was to not focus on the girls, but see if she could close the 15 second gap and beat
the boys. Looking at the quality in the boys race, that wasn’t really feasible, but meant Abbey had to push for the whole race. The race was supposed to be 20 minutes long, but it felt more like 25 mins. Abbey had a protective sleeve over her fractured arm in case misfortune came along and she had a crash. There was a lot of concern as it wasn’t 4 weeks after the fracture.

As the whistle blew Abbey got a reasonably good start with the girls flying down to the first corner and almost getting past the last boy before the corner. As the girls rode up the pit lane they started to pass the tail of the boys race, but as the course narrowed and twisted around the back it became apparent the girls were losing time. As they came around the top corner, Abbey was in the lead with her friend and main rival over the years, Orla Willis, right on her wheel looking determined. Abbey pulled a two bike gap on the main straight to end lap one. The rest of the race was all about how many boys Abbey could catch before the end. Each lap Abbey over took at least one rider to get up to 2nd or 3rd overall by around 4 seconds, before she ran out of time. Abbey said she was more fatigued than normal which was understandable due to lack of training.

The event was really well organised with a very high quality field. If possible it will be an event we will look forward to next year.

Pre-race warm-up
U10 Grid
Abbey with Orla right o n her wheel, great to see the girls racing together
Last lap and long tiring race
Abbey (centre) with siblings
Abbey and Orla Willis hugging it out at the end of the race, both girls are great friends