The Isle of Man’s dominance in UK road races continued at the weekend when Jake Kelly became the third Manx cyclist to win a British National Road Race title or series this year after an impressive performance in the Junior Tour of Wales.
Kelly became the first Manxman to win the British National Junior Road Race Series since Team Sky pro and London 2012 Olympic gold medallist Peter Kennaugh did so six years ago.
As a result, he joins a select group of just four Manx riders have won the national junior road race title - the others being Steve Joughin and Mike Doyle before both went on to successful pro careers in the 1980s.
Kelly’s series victory also means that the Isle of Man has now won an astonishing three British road race championships or series in 2013 alone, following Mark Cavendish’s Men’s National Road Race win in Scotland in June and Anna Christian’s success in the Junior Women’s equivalent a month later in North Yorkshire.
For an island with a population of 85,000, it is a remarkable achievement to hold so many British national titles at any one time.
Having taken the series lead in May after winning the Isle of Man Junior Tour, Kelly held a slender 18-point advantage over James King (Team Sportscover) and Gabriel Cullaigh (RST Racing Team).
The 18-year-old Isle of Man Sport Aid recipient was part of a four-man Team Microgaming Isle of Man squad inWales along with Nick Corlett, Leon Mazzone and Jamie Dudley.
The first day went well with Kelly in 10th place on general classification after the first two stages and crucially he was ahead of his main rivals for the national title.
A great second day saw Kelly finish fourth on stage three and ended the day 10th on GC with Corlett, Mazzone, and Dudley all producing solid performances which moved them up in the overall standings.
Kelly consolidated his position finishing eighth on the fifth and final stage. Scott Davies (Wales A) won the Junior Tour of Wales on GC while Kelly was ninth in the final standings which was enough to secure the national series title. Mazzone was third in the final points classification and 48th on GC. Corlett was 37th on GC and Dudley 63rd.
Jake would like to thank sponsors Thomas Miller Investments, Isle of Man Sport Aid and Mike Doyle.
The Isle of Man’s recent remarkable record stretches back to 2003 when Mark Cavendish claimed silver in the junior (under-18) section of British National Road Race Championship.
Three years later Peter Kennaugh finished third in the same event and then went even better in 2007 when he won the series overall.
Kennaugh then dominated the under-23 category for two successive years, winning gold in 2008 with Jonny Bellis clinching bronze, and then doing likewise 12 months later.
As a result of that first gold in 2008, Peter also claimed second place overall in the men’s championship behind Rob Hayles to kickstart an excellent few years for the Manx in the series.
In 2009, the Onchan rider claimed third - while his brother Tim took silver in the juniors - then Peter went one better a year later to clinch silver and again took bronze in 2011.
While no Manxies graced the podium in 2012, Isle of Man resident Ben Swift only narrowly missed out when he finished in fourth place.
However, Cav stormed to victory during this year’s British National Road Race around Glasgow to clinch the national champion’s jersey ahead of David Millar and Ian Stannard, with Kennaugh just behind in fourth. Swift was also third in the men’s time trial.
And just a few weeks ago at the end of July, Anna Christian was crowned British Junior Women’s National Road Race champion in North Yorkshire to become the first local female to win a national title at junior level in more than 20 years.
Once again, the Isle of Man is punching above its weight.