Team Microgaming-Isle of Man rider Jake Kelly won the British National Junior Road Race Series after an impressive performance in the Junior Tour of Wales at the weekend. Kelly becomes the first Manxman to win the series since Team Sky pro and London 2012 Olympic gold medallist Peter Kennaugh in 2007. Only four Manx riders have ever won the national junior road race title – Steve Joughin and Mike Doyle won it before both went on to successful pro careers in the 1980s.
Kelly took the series lead in May after winning the Isle of Man Junior Tour. Going into the weekend’s final round of the series, he had a slender 18 point advantage over James King (Team Sportscover) and Gabriel Cullaigh (RST Racing Team), who were equal second. With a maximum of 110 points up for grabs (60points for the overall GC winner plus 10points for the winner of each stage) the series was still wide open. The tour started on Saturday morning with an 8km time-trial followed by a 72km road race in the afternoon. Stage three was a 30km closed circuit race on Sunday morning followed by a 72km road race in the afternoon. The tour finished on Bank Holiday Monday with a 100km road race.
Kelly was part of a four-man Team Microgaming squad in the Junior Tour of Wales along with Nick Corlett, Leon Mazzone and Jamie Dudley. The first day went well with Kelly in 10th place on GC after the first two stages – and crucially he was ahead of his main rivals for the national title.
A great second day saw Kelly finish fourth on stage three and ended the day 10th on GC with Corlett, Mazzone, and Dudley all producing solid performances which moved them all up in the overall standings. Kelly consolidated his position finishing eighth on the fifth and final stage. Scott Davies (Wales A) won the Junior Tour of Wales on GC while Kelly was ninth in the final standings which was enough to secure the national series title. Mazzone was third in the final points classification and 48th on GC. Corlett was 37th on GC and Dudley 63rd.
For many years the British National Junior Road Race Series was known as the Peter Buckley Series, named in memory of the Manxman who won the Commonwealth Games road race in 1966. This season Team Microgaming-Isle of Man’s juniors are again being supported by Eurocars which has supplied a team car for the squad. For more information about Team Microgaming-Isle of Man go to http://www.iomcycling.com/