Building on his recent good form, young north east Fife downhill cyclist Joe Connell achieved another of his major targets last week by bringing the Scottish Junior Championship Cup back home to Strathkinness.
This is proving to be the young rider’s most successful season yet as he goes from strength to strength and grows in confidence with a recent hat trick of first place podiums.
The championship race, which was held in Killin, did not, however, go according to plan. The competition is based over two timed race runs and Joe was disqualified in his first race run for breaking the tape at the side of the track. This put a lot of pressure on his second run where he had to put in a perfect time to guarantee victory in a very strong field.
He said: “It was the first time I have ever been disqualified in a race and I had to really re-focus, put it out of my mind and put everything I had into my second run. I was in first place after the first but I was informed that my time wouldn’t stand due to going out of the tape at a corner and not coming back in at the same place. I felt the pressure a little because I really wanted the win, but I told myself I had to do what I had done before and I know I have been really consistent throughout the season so that gave me the confidence to go back up.” After the second run Joe took the win by 1.82 seconds over Aviemore rider Craig Shaw.
Joe added: “It is such a massive achievement to get my name on the Scottish Champion Trophy and wear the blue jersey. It’s great to bring it back home and put Fife on the downhilling map. It’s great to see the sport beginning to take off in Fife from my early days with all the Vibe Team from Fife Cycles.”
Joe is now off to the British Downhilling Championship at Llangollen in Wales this weekend.