Volunteers strike again

28 March 2024

Volunteers were key to the success of an innovative youth event at Fife Cycle Park

Photo: © Dai Williams

Led by young Phil, a team of club members, riders' parents, and folk that Phil press-ganged, put on a day of racing and training for over 140 young riders at the Ben Forsyth C-R-Y Youth Race Day. Ben’s father, Keith, was on hand to hand over the prizes across 10 categories and most importantly, to present Elliot Speedie with the Ben Forsyth Cup. The full results are given here:


However, a race organiser can not do it alone.

120 adults racing in Gifford last week, and now 140 young riders in Fife is very encouraging for the sport. The Ben Forsyth race numbers are well up on recent (post-Covid) editions and are now back to the levels seen several years ago this is seen in the chart below. It was fab to see so many adults and kids enjoying the sunshine and riding their bikes.

This year the format of the Ben Forsyth Race Day was changed a bit. For riders under 12, crit races can entail a fairly long trip for a fairly short race. So the team put on a series of 3 races for each age category, i.e. a time trial, a street sprint, and then the more traditional crit race. For the older riders (Under 16s), their 45-minute crits were followed by a ‘pre-Youth Tour of Scotland’ training session to use up any energy not used up earlier. The session included a 5km team time trial for Scottish regional teams and composite teams of wanna-be competitors. This was followed by a 1½ hour session delivered by lead coach Stuart Balfour and SC’s Lusia Steele. I suspect they were tired after all that, especially given that they had participated in a ‘Race-National’ training session the previous day.

So far feedback from riders (& their support crews) on the new format has been positive and we have sent out a formal survey. But it’s well worth noting that the volunteers did a stonking job managing a fairly complex programme, and (just occasionally) thinking on their feet to keep it running smoothly. It was a totally new format for us, and probably in Scotland, so we found that there were some pressure points and things we could clearly have done better. Whoever thought that getting 40 super-excited under 8s to sort themselves into groups of 6 would have been a problem! If Phil wants to take credit as the organiser, he can also take the blame.

The contributions of our youth helpers, Esmerelda, Hamish and Micah, were especially appreciated for their support in judging, marshalling and ferrying clothing. Others of note were Jayne at sign-on and the three Commissaires, Helen Probart, Martin Walker and our own Sonya Crawford, who doubled up as TT starter. You did an excellent job, thanks, from all the riders.

As a club, we’re super grateful to Phil and the team of volunteers that made this happen. Seeing so many happy (& some slightly sun-burnt) faces was a super tribute to Ben, and hopefully will encourage folk to contribute to the C-R-Y fundraiser.

Two weeks, two national series races were delivered, and dozens of fantastic volunteers feeling a healthy glow of doing a stunning job. Once again, kudos/chapeau/thanks to all of you.

Here are some photos, some riders, a champion, a finish line, a crowd, and a marshall.

Ben Forsyth C-R-Y Youth Race Day, 24 March 2024.