“An indoor crit?” You ask. Yes an indoor crit! On the 19th of March my mum and I travelled down to Manchester for the Rainbow Indoor Classic an event siding with a bike show at Event City. At sign on it all became quite intimidating when other teams began to show up with their matching jackets and bikes looking very professional.

The course was a short 750m circuit with a technical hair pin and 4 fast corners with a 150m straight into the finish.  I watched the support and youth races noting that the ones who were at the front generally stayed at the front, this wasn’t a race for sitting in as there wasn’t any weather conditions to contend with. It was going to be a race of cornering skill and who could sprint out of one corner into the next the fastest.

During the warm up, I took one lap slow to familiarise myself with the circuit, before taking a lap at race pace seeing how much I could push the corners. On the hair pin there was worn away surface, this made the corner very slippy, this surface wasn’t dissimilar to courses I know and had done as a youth (races set up on go cart race tracks, tight bends and smooth surfaces)

I went to chat to Carl at the Weldtite stand in the bike show, I explained the course and how I liked lots of the corners but there was this one that was very slippy if you took the line wrong. 10 minutes later I was sitting changing the tyres on my wheels, Carl had managed to find me new grippy tyres from the Schwalbe tent.

After going out to the car park to skuff the new tyres a bit to take of the layer of manufacturing residue, I had a very short roller warm up. I knew that I had to be on the front row of the line-up. This course was going to be very difficult to pass anyone and if there was a big group going around the tight corners there were likely to be crashes, and lots of them.

I had done a course similar to this one in Malton, short, with technical corners. I had just gone from the gun and it had worked. So I thought I should hold a fast pace for the first 4-5 laps taking the corners quickly to string the field out to make it easier to get around the course. The last thing I wanted to do was crash and break a bone at the beginning of the season.

I managed to get to the start at the front. When the whistle went, I went for it and got into the first corner first I put my head down and gave it everything out of the first 4 corners. I turned around and there was no one behind me. It was only a short 30 minute race if I could keep the bike upright and take the corners fast I might have a chance at staying away. Because of the way the course was set up you could always see how far in front or behind you were. This was really handy as every lap I could tell if I was gaining or losing time.

It was really nice to get my hands in the air for Team Jadan Weldtite, my first race in front of sponsors and second race of the season.

When you are in a race it’s really hard to know what is going on behind you, afterwards it was great to hear that Charlotte had also had a really good race! Managing to catch up with the two WNT girls who came 2nd and 3rd. It was a great experience and day out on an interesting race course.

Sarah Bradford

Sarah Bradford

Junior Rider