i-Team chief eyes early boost for fledgling junior racers

Manager Guy Watson with his i-Team RDS junior race squad. Picture: Sarah Standing (151998-6279)
Manager Guy Watson with his i-Team RDS junior race squad. Picture: Sarah Standing (151998-6279)
Abbie Manley leads her Hargroves Ridley Montezuma's team-mate Amy Perryman through a corner at the Swanmore Motocross Track. Picture: Neil Marshall (171339-131)

Fareham Wheelers dream of national service

  • Tour of the Mendips a spring possibility for new squad
  • Watson recognises competition is fierce for national series
  • Plan B could see talents head for the continent in the summer
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Guy Watson is hoping to give his new race team an early boost with an entry into the Junior Tour of the Mendips.

The two-day stage race, which is based in Bristol and will take place on April 9-10 this year, is the second event of the British Cycling Junior Road Series.

To get into the national events, you have got 80 places and sometimes 200 applicants

Guy Watson

At the i-Team RDS Junior Race Team launch at Southsea Cycles last month, team manager Watson admitted national ambitions may have to wait because of a high demand for places.

But the seven-strong squad could get an early taste of what is to come.

‘To get into the national events, you have got 80 places and sometimes 200 applicants,’ said Watson.

‘But the fact we can do a block team entry is an advantage straight away.

‘We then have more chance of getting in as a team.

‘We will get going with the races they would have been doing anyway but now they will have a team structure around them.

‘The big targets will be the national track Championships and the national road championships.’

The team will be led by captain Joe Clark, who raced at junior level last season.

He has now been joined by Portsmouth School of Cycle Racing graduates Nick Kimish, Jack Noble, TJ Nel, Kyle Henderson, Harvey McNaughton and Victoria Lovett.

Watson added: ‘With the exception of Joe, this is a huge jump to go from youth racing – which is 45 minutes around an airfield – to out on an open road.

‘It is going to take some adaptation.

‘But everything they do will be race-oriented, even the recovery rides.’

If the group deliver results in the saddle but fail to gain access to national events, Watson has already hatched a plan B.

‘If we don’t get into any big national races, we will go to Belgium in the summer,’ he said.

‘We can race at a very high standard, there are three or four events every week and we can treat it as a bit of a road trip.

‘With the people we know, we should be able to get rides in kermesse races and at least get them exposed to what it is like racing at a really high level.’