Ollie’s a champion in the making

Ollie on the wheels of the Gold Medallist Tom Wicklow.
Ollie on the wheels of the Gold Medallist Tom Wicklow.

Over the years Ayr Roads/Harry Fairbairn Cycling Club can pride itself in helping its young members to glory in the National Cycling scene.

The club can boast of having Junior champions at both track and road racing – and for a provincial club in Scotland that is pretty unique. Whilst The Roads has an excellent record of having won national medals at senior level in recent years, it is some years since it produced a national champion at Junior level.

That may well change in the near future. Eleven year old Alloway school boy Ollie Kelly is very much a prospect of bringing home honours to Ayrshire and follow in the footsteps of Ayr Roads Junior legends of Peter Blane, Gavin McDonald and Neil Campbell. All former Scottish Champions and record holders.

Ollie joined Ayr Roads a few years ago. Along with his father Robert, he is a regular attendee on club runs, when he is not competing. Ollie’s potential was recognised early on and on the advice of the club’s coaching hierarchy he was advised to pursue his personal development in the sport by joining the junior section of Johnstone Wheelers Cycling Club. Johnstone Jets has now over one hundred youngsters and has by far the largest junior section in Scotland and one of the finest youth coaching set-ups. Ollie remains a member of his local club, but races under the colours of Johnstone Jets.

Since joining them he has gone from strength to strength winning podium places ranging from Criterium Road Races, Cyclo Cross and Track.

His finest placings were achieved this year when he took a silver medal in the National Track Championships a few weeks ago. Last week the youngster took part in the International Youth Tour of Ireland (under 12 race) in Donegal. Against strong opposition Ollie took second place in his age group in stage 1. In stage 2 he moved up in the general classification. In the hilly stage 3, with gradients of 25%, he finished 9th overall. Stage 4 was a town centre criterium, where it suited his sprinting ability, and where he took third place in a super sprint at the finish.

In general classification he finished 9th overall in his first international youth event. A truly amazing result for the youngster. Undoubtedly, he will be a force to be reckoned with as he moves up the age group.

Meanwhile, on the senior’s scene, all roads led to Dundee on Saturday, where three Ayrshire clubs competed in the Scottish National Team Time Trial Championships. 25 teams of four riders from Cycling Clubs throughout Scotland took part in the event, over a 38 mile course. Ayr Roads are the only Ayrshire Club to take Gold in this event, when their ladies team won in 2014. This year they were unable to field a ladies team.

The favourites for the championship were the Pro Vision Clothing Team. Led by John Archibald, current Scottish National Champion at 10 and 25 miles and brother of world and Olympic medallist, Katie. Archibald finished in fourth position in the British National Championships a week ago, where he clocked a 46 minute ride (32 mph) so was in top form. As was predicted the Pro Vision Clothing Team took the title with a stunning time of 1:15:47 (30 mph). The fastest Ayrshire Team was Carrick Cycling Club, who put up a strong performance to finish in 4th position, in a time of 1:20:17. Ayr Roads fielded an A and B Team in the event, and despite little preparation and withdrawals, put up strong performances with the A Team of Ed Clifton, Calum MacDonald, Alastair McGibbon and Mark Warters recording 1:25:47 to take 13th place. And the B Team of Michael Curran,Tom Gooding-Hill, Alex McAllister and Craig Allison taking 19th position in a time of 1:29:30. Tom was over the moon with his ride, having been called in at the last minute and with a borrowed bike too. The other two Ayrshire Teams, Carrick Cycling Club B and the Fullarton Wheelers finished in 20th and 24th place respectively.

On Thursday roadworks forced the club to use a new 10 mile course on the A78. The fastest on the evening was the four-up Team Time Trial of MacDonald, McGibbon, Warters and Clifton who recorded 21:16, followed by:

Alex McAllister 22:35

Michael Curran 23:07

Tom Gooding-Hill = 23:13 (Season’s Best)

Craig Allison = 23:13

Harry Brawley 23:25

Scott Knox 23:43

John McKie 24:35

John Gemmell 26:47

Aileen Fisher 28:02

On Thursday night the Roads club will replace its evening 10 Mile Time Trial with the Pennyglen Circuit Time Trial. Always a popular event for the competitors and the folk of Maybole who are guaranteed to lend their vocal support to the riders.

This week end all roads lead to Galloway. On Saturday the club will be represented in the Loch Ken 25 Mile Time Trial. Set amidst one of the most picturesque Lochs of Galloway, this event has become very popular with the cycling fraternity and undoubtedly will attract a good field.

Still in Galloway John Gemmell will be competing in the Dalbeattie Mountain Bike Cross series, in preparation for the following week, when John will compete in the National Championships at Peebles.