By Peter McCaffery

Nanaimo (ISN) – The Mid Island Velo Association held their latest Boxwood Criterium Tuesday, featuring the first youth race on the circuit, won by Mark Grant.  

Tonight, the first youth race was run on the circuit. There were four riders from Comox and one from Nanaimo. The pack, made up of James and Mark Grant, Jessica Reynolds and Jane Harmsworth, all from Comox and riding for Cycle University, and Brodie Hay, MIVA stayed together until the bell for the mid race prime.

It was closely contested, with Mark Grant just edging out brother James, Brodie Hay, and Jessica. Jane dropped off the back and upon the organiser’s instructions slowed down to join the rest as they lapped her. Once the field was all together again, it stayed that way for the rest of the race. At they approached the checkered flag, Brodie was slightly in the lead but he had made his move too early and the Grant brothers both pipped him, with the two girls finishing in the same time.

Colin Campbell, the Island Youth Development Officer for Cycling BC was on hand to see thisa first of many youth races, having spent the morning running a cycling skills clinic for grades four to six at a local elementary school.

There were fourteen starters in the elite race, with several new faces showing. The pace was fast right from the gun (the official didn’t actually use a gun, Canadian Tire having refused to sell him blanks, and actually started the race with a miniature plastic Canadian flag). At lap three, Ray Wagner, Shepherd Stewart and Bill McMillan gained a seven second advantage but were soon caught and at the first intermediate sprint. Dr. John Lam took the flag several lengths clear of the bunch with only Phillip Birrer attempting to catch him.

The pack settled down as a non-aggressive group until the second prime which this time was taken by Paul Thompson, with Bill McMillan and Phil B. as runners up. Now the pace heated up and Mike Sevcov, Kyle Waring and Shepherd Stewart got what seemed like a good break going. They kept clear for the next lap but first Kyle, and then the other two were swallowed up by the pack.

With seven laps left, the bell rang for the third prime and as the riders came around the final bend, Dr. Lam was again well clear with no challengers.

Now it was Ray Wagner’s turn to make a run for the line. With six laps left he grabbed a five second lead but was unable to hold on and all were back together approaching the two laps to go board, Kyle Waring sped out from the pack but he too was caught quickly.

So, as the final lap started, the field were all together, giving the promise of a great bunch sprint. However, on the second-last corner, Wade Smith crashed, having touched a rear wheel and the pack (almost) unanimously called off the sprint. Instead of the usual sliding points awards, all the riders remaining in the pack were given 5 series points.

Thanks to our equipment manager Iain Hay and son Brodie for course set up and to Mrs. Grant from the north for registration and to Kyle for registration take down.