Belgian trip proves more than worth it for young rider Matt

Teenager Matt Taylor, from Ainley Top, is coming towards the end of his cyclo-cross season and has a few weeks out of the saddle before begining training for the road campaign
Teenager Matt Taylor, from Ainley Top, is coming towards the end of his cyclo-cross season and has a few weeks out of the saddle before begining training for the road campaign

RASTRICK High School student Matt Taylor travelled to Belgium a week last Friday as part of a small select group of riders selected by The British Cycling Federation and funded by ‘The Dave Rayner Fund’ to take part in two days of Cyclocross racing.

Matt, 14, competes in the Under-16 Youth category within Cyclocross and started racing at the age of 11.

He has already recorded a number of achievements in a short time that include U11 Cyclocross BSCA (British Schools Cycling Association) Regional and National Champion, U12 Regional Champion, a number of wins and top three placings in Yorkshire Regional Cyclocross races as both an U11 and U12 rider.

Matt was also Yorkshire Cyclocross Champion 2014-2015 and is currently ranked 5th in the UK.

On Saturday, Matt raced in Alsemberg, Belgium, and due to being a foreign rider was gridded 50th on the grid starting at the very back. By the end of the first lap of the 30-minute race he had made his way into third place where he would eventually finish and gain an extremely well deserved step on the podium.

Sunday saw the team racing at the iconic Koppenberg course, again in Belgium, however due to a mechanical on the first lap Matt ended up trying to carve his way through the field and having spent so much energy during Saturday’s race he tired as the race went on but still finishing a credible 34th.

This past weekend it was business as usual and Matt raced in the Yorkshire Regional on the Sunday winning by a large margin and making it five wins from the last six races.

Matt also likes his football and played for the Northowram A U12 team but he made the decision to focus 100% on his cycling a couple of years ago.

He trains and races with his father, Chris, who adds:”I suppose you could say I train him, although he is just about as quick as me now, so that may change.

“We train three to four nights through the week and race every weekend from September through to the end of January.

“We have a couple of weeks off the bike at the end of the Cyclo-cross season and then the training starts for the road season where Matt, again, has a fairly busy calender riding for VCUK PhMas – a team based out of Otley that develop some of the UK’s leading riders.”

Matt, who lives at Ainley Top and will be moving to Outlane this next week, has a ride with them secured for the next three seasons.