YORKSHIRE’S Mason Hollyman had an early 18th birthday celebration on Sunday by going top of the British Cycling Junior Series after a battling performance on the hilly roads of Monmouthshire on Sunday.
Hollyman was second in the Series before the Cwmtillery Glass Monmouthshire Junior Grand Prix started behind Leicestershire’s Alex Haines and was not in the running for first place until the last of the 13.6 mile circuits of Grosmont, near Abergavenny.
But, with Haines fading to a mid-race conclusion, the winner sprinted home up a tough climb to the finish line ahead of Lee Valley’s Alexander Tarlton and Sam Culverwell, from Guernsey just seconds behind.
Hollyman, from Emley, near Huddersfield, is 18 today (Monday June 25), and said: “It was a hard one today. It was a good course that it cannot really be an easy race.
“The first loop (main circuit of 29.3miles) was a reasonably fast course. I knew as long as the break did not get too far away from us (peloton), it was going to be won on the smaller loops."
However, a couple of crashes on that outward circuit saw some riders limping to the pits area near the finish line with cuts, bruises and injuries. One who suffered was Cwmbran’s Zach Bridges, who was aiming to win his home Series race.
Hollyman managed to avoid the collisions and said: “There were a few of them and I was very close but managed to avoid them. On one, I saw someone clip somebody else’s wheel but didn’t see the other one.”
He has been pretty consistent in the Series, saying: “I don’t think I’ve been out of the top ten in the ones I have done and I wanted the win badly today.”
But he may not be top of the Series for long. Hollyman is riding in Europe when the next couple of rounds are taking place.
Cwmcarn Paragons rider Morgan Jones got to the finish line on a blisteringly hot day to finish in 42nd place, 14.42 minutes behind the winner.