Kelso Youth Criterium / Skinny Tyres Series

The Kelso Youth Criterium was a big race for youths held on Sunday 4th April at the Borders Union Show Ground. This was a weekend where I gave senior racing a bit of coverage, so thanks to the people who pointed out the youth scene I had missed.

Thanks to Bryan Donnely for pictures. Click through for more on flickr or follow him on twitter

There’s a bit of a delay in publishing this post but it’s still worth putting out as the race was part of The Skinny Tyres Series, which is a British Cycling Go-Race series of events, designed to encourage youths to try racing on safe, closed-road circuits. It is the brainchild of Mark McKay, who was formerly Scottish Cycling’s talent scout and is now British Cycling’s Olympic Talent Coach. Mark is supported by another Mark- Young- who is Scottish Cycling’s Regional Development Coach.

The Skinny Tyres company, Perthshire bike touring and coaching, run by Scot Tares, lends its name to the Series, and to the Leaders’ Jerseys which will be worn by each age category, boys and girls.

To find out more, including race footage and cool interviews with the kids racing, check out the video on the Skinny Tyres Series home page. The vid is a large file and can take a while to load but it’s worth watching- great to see the races covered and reported on in this way.

Rhona Callander won the Youth C Girls, which caught my interest as she is a Stirling rider. Full results are available here.

images courtesy Bryan on flickr

There is a full programme of races – 20 of them – around Scotland (from Kelso to Dundee) from April to September. Many of them are held on the same day as a senior race such as the Tour Doon Hame Premier Calendar or the Davie Bell Sup6r Six, giving young riders a chance to be a part of top-level bike racing.

Once I delved deeper I realised this is an amazing event- points are counted for the whole series, allowing committed racers to compete for a leaders jersey throughout the year, or developing riders to progress throughout the season. Double points are awarded for certain high profile events. Well done to Mark and Mark for getting a great event started.

A quick plug for jersey sponsor – Scot Tares’ Skinny Tyres guiding and coaching company, based in Perthshire. As well as running Etape Caledonia training rides, he coaches youths, in particular the Tay Titans, many of whom will be competing in the series.

Photo set from the Kelso crit by Bryan of the Glasgow Riderz
Photo set by Johnstone Jets club
Skinny Tyres Race Series twitter and blog
Mark McKay- 2009 interview on Veloresults
Skinny Tyres Series on Scottish Cycling website