Sunday 2nd July - Clitheroe - 124km with 1956m Climbing
In a nail biting finish Finn Mason of The Cycling Academy secured the British Champions jersey with a lunge to the line, beating Seb Grindley [Fensham Howes] into 2nd with Tomos Pattinson [Tofati Everyone Active] taking 3rd step.
With only three riders gaining entry to the race, The Cycling Academy showed quality over quantity with team mate Jake Speed making the first move into what turned into an all Scottish first breakaway alongside riders from Spokes RT and Ribble Recharge. This break lasted for three laps allowing Finn and 16 year old Ahron Dick of The Cycling Academy to sit back and wait patiently as the race developed. With around 3 laps to go Finn got into what proved to be the winning move of initially about a dozen riders which soon slimmed down to four. They pushed on hard gaining a 1:4o min gap on the peleton. The race finished with a 1.9km climb of Birdy Brow averaging 9.7% and Finn attacked near the bottom gaining a credible gap on his remaining breakaway companions.
Seb fought his way back to Finn and the race finished with a uphill drag race towards the line, where Finn's final lunge proved decisive crossing the line a few cm ahead. It was to be to enough to secure the championship and stripey jersey.
Meanwhile back in the peleton Ahron Dick had been very active in the final laps breaking free to secure an excellent 10th place and 2nd of the first year Juniors. " It's rare for a race to go exactly to plan but what played out was pretty much exactly what we'd discussed on the morning of the race" notes Peter Ellen Team Manager. "The boys deserve a lot of credit and even down to Finn's lunge you can see that James's coaching works. His win probably came as a surprise to the others but Finn has had a solid season on and off road, including 5th on GC at the Isle of Man Junior Tour. From the moment he joined our team last year he's been an attacking rider."
All three riders on the podium were coached by former pro team-mates James McCallum, Dean Downing and Rob Partridge respectively. Together the coaches rode for John Herety's Rapha Condor Sharp team in a period when British domestic teams hit a high-water mark in terms of funding and profile.
Finn's win brings a third British Champions jersey home to the West Lothian town of Linlithgow in 2023, adding to Cameron Mason's senior win in the British Cyclocross and MTB Marathon Championships, With the new West Lothian Cycle Circuit recently opening in Linlithgow the town is becoming a focal point for talent development and a central Scotland base for The Cycling Academy.
From the 11th -16th of July Finn and The Cycling Academy Junior squad take on the Eurocycles Eurobaby Junior Tour of Ireland, a 6 day 520km International stage race based in County Clare.