With more than 100 young riders scheduled to race in the Scottish Power National Youth Series Ellon Criterium, the 2015 edition of youth cycle racing around the streets of the town on Sunday ensured another unforgettable morning beside the river that gives the promoting club its name.
Combined with the annual Pedal Car race the riders, aged from seven to 15 years, had travelled from across the North-east and from all corners of Scotland.
In a reverse to previous years the racing was kicked off by the Under 16 riders and the 40-minute race was to be a strategic battle with little ground being given or lost.
Ythan’s Lewis Goodlad was the victim of a mechanical failure just as the race entered its final stages and with no-one having broken clear it came down to a sprint with Struan Pryde (Deeside Thistle) taking the win.
Luisa Steele finished first girl ahead of Georgia Mansfield.
The Under 14 race had one of the largest fields and while it initially followed a similar pattern to the previous race the peloton was stretched as it reached the last few laps.
Jack Cruden showed he was the strongest as he took a clear win from Jamie Penny with Ythan’s Callum Cooper finishing fifth.
Next up were the Under 12s and again this race featured a large field but the focus was always going to be on the season-long battle between Murray Lawson (Edinburgh RC) and Ythan’s home favourite Fraser Gault.
While Gault and Lawson were marking each other it was time for another Ythan rider to show his promise as Daniel Kain made sure he was also going to be part of the outcome.
As expected the race came down to a flat out sprint between Gault and Lawson with the Meldrum Academy pupil taking the narrowest of wins while his teammate Kain claimed a brilliant third ensuring that the trio will all be names to watch in the future.
Imani Pereira-James, a regular visitor to the Ellon race finished first girl.
The last two races saw the Under 10s and the Under 8s take to the circuit and in the elder race it was Ythan’s Elliot Rowe who launched a first lap attack that would see him stay away for the entire race, lapping the field in the process.
The Under 8 race provided some of the best entertainment of the day as the youngest racers showed the same skills and prowess as had been seen earlier.
Some of the biggest smiles of the day were seen from riders, parents and the Ellon public as Struan Shaw claimed the victory ahead of Ythan’s Nicol Dall.
Melanie Rowe matched her brother’s earlier effort by taking the girls Under 8 title.
Meanwhile, although the senior side of racing may be entering its final few weeks there was still time for Colin Duncan to make another trip north to Inverness where he claimed a third place in the Inverness Cycle Club 10TT where he recorded a brilliant 22m 35s.
See more pictures from the Ellon event on Page 7.