A HARTLEPOOL coach and two other cyclists from the town have helped a club to the summit of the regional rankings – and international recognition, writes CHRIS BELL.
Manilla Cycling Team have won the North-East regional title in their debut season after amassing 417 points throughout the eight-month season, more than 100 more that favourites Achieve-Skinnergate Racing.
Their remarkable first season’s racing has meant that international brand Planet X Bikes – one of the leading bike manufactures in the world – has agreed to become the main sponsor of the team for the 2015 season.
Town man Adam Brooks is the head coach of the team and the 28-year-old sprinter was responsible for scoring the third highest number of points for the team, behind Greg Booth and Adam McManus.
Brooks, who runs the town-based Peak Performance Sports Academy, claimed his category 2 licence for next year with his results, meaning that he can compete against elite and 1st cat riders.
Fellow Poolies, James Gutridge and Jon Moran, also weighed in with points that enabled a sensational first season’s racing for the team.
And in 2015 the team will have three more riders from the town – Brian Smith, Mark Evans and Matt Turnbull.
It all started with a shock to the system, as well. In their racing debut in January, the highest placed finisher was Ellis Hutchinson – in 34th place.
It did not act as a forecast, however, with McManus quickly earning the team their first podium place as the results started flowing.
Drew Pidgeon secured the team’s first win in April while there were also summer victories for Booth, McManus and Hutchinson.
Racing predominantly at the Cycle Development North East Prissick Evening Series at the Middlesbrough Cycle Circuit and at the few road races left in the region, the leadout train for the sprinters comprising of Ben Sutcliffe, Jack Taylor, Paul Sill and Hutchinson was propelling the sprinters to regular podium finishers.
Ian Creek, Mark Simpson and Jason Larkin, meanwhile, were consistently scoring top ten finishes as several riders secured their current category licences with some advancing to higher categories.