Jack strides to British crown

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Jack Doherty is celebrating being crowned British champion.

The Hambrook six-year-old was the fastest of 49 riders as he took the Strider British Balance Bike Championship by storm.

Racing around the indoor BMX track at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester, he cruised to glory ahead of 15 rivals in the final.

It was a fantastic achievement for the Southbourne Infant School student, who was only five at the time of the event last month.

And his sister Phoebe, aged two, kept up the family’s fine form as she came fourth in her age group.

Balance bikes have caught the imagination of many young riders – as they gain confidence in riding a bike which doesn’t have pedals before moving on to full cycling.

Doherty’s mum Faye revealed her pride at the triumph.

But she admitted the victory was not a total surprise after a fine display at Gosport BMX Club.

‘It was such an amazing day,’ she said.

‘We are so proud of him. I could not believe it when I saw him coming down the straight.

‘He just seemed to be miles ahead. He was so confident.

‘There were 49 racers in Jack’s group, which was cut down to 16 for the final and he eventually won.

‘He pre-qualified due to finishing in the top five of the regionals in Gosport.

‘It was no surprise he did so well, though.

‘When people saw him at the regionals in Gosport they were saying how quick he was.

‘He has been able to ride a bike without stabilisers since he was three and the Strider bikes have helped him with his balance and things like that.

‘He’s such a confident young lad, going into the race he knew that he could be quicker than the other racers.

‘He turned around to me on the start line and said don’t worry mum, I will win.’

Having now turned six, Doherty has now reached the peak of the Strider game.

The next step is using bikes with pedals – and that means BMX.

Even though he will be racing on familiar tracks, it is a totally different game with a much bigger, heavier bike.

His mum is confident he will take to the new challenge, though.

‘At the moment he is just enjoying the buzz of winning this,’ she added.

‘He has really enjoyed it and his bike is almost like a third leg.

‘He is only just moving onto racing with the BMX, so he just need to get used to the pedalling.

‘It’s the same with anything, once you have mastered something it always takes a bit of time to get used to a change.’

Strider has developed a series of balance bike events to give toddlers and children from 18 months to five years old the chance to improve their skills on two wheels.

For more information on the sport visit stridercup.org