THE INAUGURAL running of the South Yell Sportive, a joint venture organised by Shetland Wheelers and North Ness Public Hall, Yell, took place last weekend.
Months of planning were amply rewarded by a fine sunny day, albeit with a strong southerly breeze that would prove challenging for all 29 entrants as they undertook the home leg from Mid Yell back to the finish at Ulsta.
The event started at 12.15pm with a somewhat diverse group of cyclists who all elected to ride the longer 23.9 mile southern loop, heading east through Burravoe before turning north to ride through the undulating terrain towards Aywick and then on to Mid Yell.
A very welcome feeding station was situated at Mid Yell Boating Club, to provide the cyclists with much-needed refreshment before they rose to the challenge of the difficult home stretch, riding up some long climbs into an unrelenting headwind.
The youngest cyclists on the 24-mile route stop for a well-earned break on the East Yell road.
From left: Luke Aquilina, Shayne Thomson, Caroline Simpson and Calum Lindsay.
Photo: Bob Kerr
Although this was not a road race, some impressive times were posted, with Andrew Grant and John William Simpson coming in together in one hour 12 minutes, just in front of John Anderson in one hour 15 mins and Lewis Moncrieff in one hour 17 minutes. First woman home was Donna Mainland in one hour 34 minutes.
But the real heroes of the day had to be the three youngest riders entered, Luke Aquilina, 12, and Calum Lindsay and Shayne Thomson, both 13, who rode the entire route, supported by Caroline Simpson and Bob Kerr.
Luke make an individual bid for the finish line, finding his “second wind” after spotting the “Homebakes three miles” sign, and finally headed the rest of the group home by just over a minute at two hours 44 minutes.
A spokesman said the event would not have been possible without professional support from two groups, Shetland Radio Club, which provided island wide communication throughout the event, and Shetland Motorcycle Club, which provided the travelling marshals.
Thanks was also to all marshals and first aiders, Grays Wholesalers for providing free bottled water, Mid Yell Boating Club, the Westsandwick and North Ness hall committees, Shetland Wheelers, the SIC active schools department and of course all the entrants of what was a very successful and enjoyable event.
A complete list of all times posted will be available on the Shetland Wheelers website at www. Shetland-wheelers.co.uk