Matthew Bell, from Penrith, claimed an excellent third place as national level cyclo-cross competition returned in England on Saturday.
In atrocious conditions at the Westmorland County Showground at Crooklands, near Kendal, 13-year-old Matthew lined up in a strong under-14 field of riders from across the country for round one of National Trophy Series.
“It was the first national race of the year and attracted the best lads from all over the country,” said his dad, Stephen. “He was mega chuffed; thrilled to bits.”
“It was very, very tough. It was very wet and slippy — about as tough as it could be.”
A former member of the Beacon Wheelers cycling club, Penrith Queen Elizabeth Grammar School student Matthew now rides for West Yorkshire-based KCA (Kirklees Cycling Academy).
Although many competitions have been called off this year, he has trained exceptionally hard during the past few months.
“He has loved lockdown!” said Stephen. “Especially early on when it was nice weather, he was out on his bike all the time which has helped him massively.”
Matthew will take part in round two of the National Trophy Series at York in December before heading to the national championships, at Crawley’s South of England Showground, early in the new year.
Matthew is the son of Stephen and Nicola Bell, of Carleton Manor Park, Penrith, has a younger sister Charlotte, aged 11.
He is currently supported by town-based Arragon’s cycles and trained by James Pittam and Alistair Morrison.