Harvey Morcombe paid tribute to the Pearl Izumi Tour Series crowd as he got a taste of the big time in Ryde.
The Fareham Wheelers talent was joined by club-mates Alex Collins and Brendan Drewett in the category two and three support race on the Isle of Wight.
It was just a great atmosphere. I have never ridden in front of a crowd like that before.Harvey Morcombe
An hour before the main event, Morcombe, 17, fought his way to fifth spot, while Collins, 16, finished 12th.
Drewett, 17, struggled in the race after failing to find a rhythm on the tough Union Street climb.
But the trio were blown away by the support they received on the town centre course, which started and finished on the seafront.
‘Coming down the straight, where everyone was banging the boards, you couldn’t hear anything,’ said Morcombe.
‘It was just a great atmosphere.
‘I have never ridden in front of a crowd like that before.
‘Going up the hill, I could hear some of the Fareham Wheelers guys, which just helped me get up there.’
Morcombe and Collins admitted they hadn’t expected much from the contest but were delighted with their results.
The former said: ‘I hadn’t really looked at the field but I figured it would be good.
‘Then I got to the start and saw some really good guys.
‘I didn’t expect to stay up there for so long, especially five laps in when I was suffering so much!’
Collins feared he would get cut adrift at the start.
But he fought back powerfully before winning a sprint on the line.
‘I was taking it quite easy on the start, especially downhill,’ said the Gosport talent.
‘Towards the end I was going all right, though, and getting used to it. I think I went pretty well.
‘Half an hour in I was off the back of the chasing group and I didn’t think I was going to get back on.
‘But I ended up catching back up and getting in a breakaway with one of the Wiggle riders, so I was pretty happy with that.’
Drewett, meanwhile, admitted he underestimated the hill.
He added: ‘After the parade lap, I just knew it was going to be hard going up there.’