Professional cycling team, Raleigh GAC, continue to make their presence felt in the British racing scene after their colours were racing on the boards of Manchester on Saturday at round 1 of the Revolution track series.
Young riders Jack Escritt and Fraser Martin were joined by the even younger guests, James Codd, Charlie Kelly, Aleshia Mellor and Leanne Hall who were competing in the Future Stars events. Escritt and Martin were racing the senior events against Olympic stars such as Ed Clancy and Owain Doull and had a great time testing themselves against the world’s best.
Team owner Cherie Pridham says of her road team competing at Revolution “it is important for the development of our young riders to give them some track time racing the best in the world now the road season has finished. Both the riders have entered the development event at the London Six Day for young riders so racing like this is so important for them, the team and its sponsors”.
“Jack and Fraser acquitted themselves very well and the youngsters too raced exceptionally well for us in the Future Star events. It was lovely to see these youngsters receive and wear with pride their skin suits and enjoying their racing.”
For Jack and Fraser, it wasn’t the first time they had competed at this level on the track. As well as racing with their World champion teammate Seb Mora at Derby, both Jack and Fraser had raced the Revolution meetings before.
“I rode a round for JLT Condor last year so I knew a little bit about what to expect on the night” says Jack whilst Fraser explained “this was my third senior Revolution as I've previously ridden for Scotland and Polypipe”.
Asked what it was like to be racing the Olympic champions from Rio, Jack replied “it was an incredible experience to follow them and it really did give me a boost in confidence that helped give me that little bit of extra speed”. Fraser meanwhile says of the experience, “it was a bit nerve wracking but exciting at the same time. I knew the riders and knowing that I've not trained properly on the track since February, I was expecting a bit of a kicking! It was definitely motivating and I was really looking forward to it.”
As well as getting the opportunity to race the best track riders in the world, the racing at Revolution with such a big crowd is also a lot of fun. For Jack, the event he enjoyed the most was the Scratch race which was his best event.
“Me and Fraser worked well together to get me in the move at the end and I managed a 5th or 4th”. For Fraser though, it was the first race on the night he enjoyed the most. “I had a lot of fun in the elimination/scratch race! I felt really comfy in the race and was able to ride really aggressively”.
Racing in front of big crowds is not new for them but Saturday night in the team’s colours was special as Jack explains. “It felt amazing! It was truly thrilling to hear my name being shouted by the crowds at times and this really did make the night that extra bit special.”
For Fraser, having family in the crowd just added to the nerves. “I didn't want to make any mistakes and while a few things did go wrong, it was a great night anyway.”
With so many World Class riders racing, the events were bound to be tough for the youngsters. For Jack, he says the hardest was the Points race. “That was a really fast, hard race” he explained. “I was so under geared I had to go and buy a 51 tooth chainring for the evening session and this felt so much better!”
Fraser meanwhile agreed. “I think the Points race was the toughest one of the night. It was the longest and most aggressive. I scored points early on and went for a few more later in the race and got two fifths which was annoying because I didn't get points! I tried pretty hard but used too much energy and was swinging for the last 20 laps or so”.
Well done to all the riders in the Raleigh GAC colours. It was awesome to see you doing the team proud!