ZACH Bridges has had his fair share of problems this year but between accidents on his bike, he has managed to become a record-breaker.
The 17-year-old from Cwmbran will be aiming to notch up another triumph next month when he tackles the Cwmtillery Glass Monmouthshire Junior Grand Prix alongside some of the best young riders in the UK on Sunday June 24.
The race will form part of this year’s Abergavenny Festival of Cycling which begins on June 23 with the Iron Mountain Sportif and also includes the televised HSBC National Town Centre Circuit Series in Abergavenny on July 6.
Bridges, a first-year junior on British Cycling’s Olympic pathway, has suffered two horrible crashes this year but has bounced back in style.
Twice his bikes have been ‘totalled’ when crashing with a car and then being struck by a motorbike. Thankfully, the teenager has suffered no lasting injuries although he is still bruised on the arms and legs after his coming together with the car.
Bridges said: “I was out in Apledoorn (in the Netherlands) with British Cycling in January. That was at an international track meet. I was third in the Elimination Race and Points Race and we got second in the Team Pursuit because Team GB ‘A’ team got first and Team GB ‘B’ got second which was really good.
“Apledoorn was good but, at the end of the week, I got hit by a motorbike so that was annoying.
“The week after, at the Track Champs up in Manchester, I was still recovering from the crash..
I had the British Omnium Champs in late February and got seventh there in the seniors. That was a really good experience.
“I felt I really raced well there but then, unfortunately, I got hit by a car the week after that. It was during training. When I was coming back home, a car just turned right in front of me in Newport and took me out.
“My injuries were not that bad. I had three or four days off after that and then it was back on the turbo to get some fitness back but it was annoying because I had to miss a race.”
Since then, Bridges has been hitting his stride on the road. He added: “I broke the National 25 mile record a few weeks ago with a 47.37mins. I am going to look to push that under 47mins by the end of this year so hopefully if I can get down to the time trial course in Hirwaun and goes down to Neath and then back up the valley. “That is the quickest 25 mile course in the UK so I want to push the 25 record under 47mins and then get some good racing out on the continent with BC and for some other teams I will be guesting for.”
He missed last year’s Monmouthshire Junior GP but has already had a look at the circuit – and thinks he can do well.
“It starts at Hilston Park, Newcastle, does a loop around Abergavenny and ends on the finishing circuits around Grosmont before the finish in the village. I have ridden the course and it is hard.”
And the youngster believes he can star in the Junior World Road Championships in Yorkshire next year and even get a medal.
“I want to be selected for that and then go for a podium in the Time Trial. Time trialling suits me. I have been told I am a powerful rider and I find I can really focus on my own, get the power down and just ride as hard as I can. They call it the Race of Truth.”