Orwell set the gold standard

National Youth Track Championships, Sundrive, Dublin, 15th August

The Orwell boys and girls did the business again at the National Youth Championships in Sundrive Road on August 15th.

Craig Arrigan receiving his medal at the National Youth Track Championship

Myself, Darragh Long and Brian O'Shea Scanlon competed in three different events in the under 14 category, with Rachael and Timothy Kaye Mellor taking part in 3 events in the under 12 category. Darragh and myself got off to a "flying" start in the flying 200 qualifiers for the sprint event (the ride-offs were held later in the day) with myself posting the fastest time and Darragh coming in third place. Rachael and Timothy finished fifth and eighth in their category.

The next event on the agenda was the 250 TT. I posted a time of 22.11 which was enough to give me the gold followed very closely by Darragh with a time of 22.54 which secured the silver. Brian O'Shea Scanlon finished with a creditable time of 28.49 in the same event. A fine seventh place for Rachael and tenth for Timothy in the 100 TT finished off a fine morning's work for the Orwell.

The fun and games then started with the ride-offs for the sprint finals. First up was Rachael Kaye Mellor in the U12's (Timothy's earlier time in the qualifiers meant he just missed out on a ride-off place). Rachael had come through her semi-final in second place and so set up a bronze medal ride-off against Ryan Orr From Old Bleach. Unfortunately even though Rachael won the sprint for the bronze, she fell foul of the rules of sprinting and was relegated to second in the heat giving her fourth overall.

I was next up and was placed against Mark Downey and Fintan Ryan. I won the heat which placed me in the ride-off for the gold and silver. But who would I meet in the final? Darragh was next up in a heat with Ciara Mulholland and Justin Kennedy. Darragh played a blinder and got the jump on his rivals and held his advantage to the line to set up an all Orwell final.

We rolled away from the start laughing and joking with each other but soon got down to business as this is a one lap race. Darragh led out and on the back straight I managed to get the jump on him and held it to the line. A fine gold and silver again for the Orwell. Remember that Darragh will have another go at this next year as he is a first year under 14.

The last event of the day was the Scratch race. Yet again Rachael and Timothy held their own in the hotly contested U12 event. I am not sure exactly where they finished. My race was to be held as a five lap scratch and myself and the "Long" fella set off in a field of 17. We were both cruising on the inside on the fourth lap when we realised that the race officials had made a mistake and called the last lap a lap too early. We were both boxed in with 300m to go. I managed to drop back to about 9th or 10th in the bunch and found a gap. I got out and went up the outside on the bank on the last bend and was able to make up the lost ground. Luckily for me I got up in time to win the sprint and take the gold. Darragh was not as fortunate and stayed boxed in to the line.

So another great weekend for the guys from Orwell with three golds for me, bringing my total to 5 national titles and two silvers for Darragh to add to the two national titles he has already won. Next weekend is the Inter-provincial Round Two on the track and the Leinster road championships. We will let you know how we all get on.

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