At Halesowen thanks to our ownership of our own velodrome and our broad coaching programme we have a long history of producing talented young bike riders on road and track, many of whom have gone on to race at national and international level.
Some examples are as follows:
Jess Varnish, former GB sprint team member.
Helen Scott, double London Paralympic medallist piloting Aileen McGlynn.
Callum Ferguson and Charles Walker team members Catford-Banks under-23 UK Elite team.
Jacob Tipper, current member Brother NRG team + national team pursuit champion.
Emily Kay and Emily Nelson, junior world champions in 2013 and current members of GB cycling team.
Beth Crumpton, former elite national mountain bike series champion, currently riding with Team Storey.
Founded in 2015, the Halesowen Academy aims to support the juniors and under-23 riders who come up through our coaching system with two things: a structure which will enable them to pursue their ambitions to become the best they can be coupled with the wider support and sense of community that only an old-school cycling club can provide.
The academy provides its riders with a limited support package - mainly nutrition and clothing - and aims to provide racing opportunities to further our riders’ development while giving them enjoyable shared peer group experiences. We are proud to have former GB road coach and JLT-Condor directeur sportif John Herety as our patron from this year.
We also offer links to a range of coaches with professional cycling experience who can advise our riders and we have links with cycling specialists in areas such as nutrition, physiotherapy and injury rehab. The academy also supports individual team riders who make a convincing case for backing which will further their career racing goals.
In year one the academy had just four riders and in 2016 we expanded to eight, who won 19 races between them, with six of them managing to cross the line first. The stand-out performance was Charles Walker’s overall win in the five-day Ras de Cymru, with Jack Stanton-Warren and Tom Swingler eighth and ninth.
For 2017, Charles moved up to Catford CC Banks, while Jack took on a leadership role, gaining his elite licence, with two wins in National B races - in successive days on the same weekend - and finishing in 8th overall in the Tour of the North 3-Day in Northern Ireland. He moved up to Wheelbase Castelli at the end of the season.
In 2018 the team landed nine wins in road races and criterium with five of the seven members crossing the line first, highlighted by Cam Biddle taking a very narrow victory in our own Halesowen road race. The stand-out race was the Giro del Mon where Matt Clarke and Charles Walker (riding as a guest) finished 1-2 on stage four, with Charlie winning the points jersey overall and wearing the yellow jersey on the final stage.
Clarkie and Cam Biddle both moved up to bigger teams, joining Wheelbase-Castelli and Morvelo Basso respectively. Later in the season we were joined by cyclo-crossers Simon Wyllie and David Hird, with Simon winning a round of the West Mids league against seniors and a round of the GB junior series, while David won the West Mids junior league overall.
In 2019 the team became younger than ever, and also bigger than ever, with 12 riders including seven juniors and one under-16. The juniors included national under-16 cyclocross champion Wyllie, and there were three women on the squad including Great Britain team apprentice Kinga Ingram, and promising first-year senior Hannah Lancaster. Highlights of the season were wins for Kinga at the national U16 scratch championship and Patrick Fotheringham at the first stage of the Newry 3-Day, earning the yellow jersey for a day, while we took six riders to the Junior Tour of Ireland and most importantly finished all six, with Josh Field best placed in 24th. At the West Midlands Region championship, Henry Lloyd-Langston took the junior title; Hannah Lancaster rode strongly in the women’s team series, and at the end of the year, both Kinga and Hannah moved up to elite teams.
There was a major development in 2020 when iconic World Tour sponsor Mapei proposed sponsorship of the Halesowen club, and the upshot was an academy jersey which reflected the Italian company’s strong cycling heritage, featuring its dramatic “cube” design. The jersey earned us national and international coverage, with newspapers in Belgium and Italy excited at the prospect of the “cubes” returning to cycling. Unfortunately, a global pandemic turned up, and the jersey was rarely seen in action.
We ran our own road race in 2019 and this returned in 2021, a round of the
West Midlands Road Race League. The race was named the Nick Clayton
Memorial Grand Prix, in honour of Nick, who sadly passed away on 10 May
following complications from blood cancer. His passing was marked with
a minute’s silence at the HACC annual road race on May 16. Our hope is that
the Nick Clayton Memorial will become an annual event.
He will be in all our thoughts this year, and beyond.
In 2021 racing returned in the second half of the season, with three standout academy performers: Simon Wyllie, David Hird and Tomos Pattinson. Simon raced strongly on the road and in circuit races and snagged himself a deal to ride with the Spectra-Wiggle team by August. David was unstoppable from April through to October, winning one race and placing in virtually everything else, earning his first-category licence by July. He went on to place 25th in the Beaumont Trophy Premier Calendar race and 37th in the National championships at Lincoln, the only club rider among a finishing echelon composed entirely of WorldTour, Conti or Conti Development riders. For 2022 he moves up to the Bikestrong-KTM squad. Tom, meanwhile, rode strongly in the U16 National Series, winning the Scarborough round, and added medals at the national championships in Madison, points race and circuit. The highlight, probably, was his victory in the Junior category at the national hill-climb championship, a stunning performance for a rider who was still technically an under-16!
For 2023 the academy would welcome applications from both Halesowen members and riders outside the club. We are particularly interested in expanding the women’s arm of the academy. Riders must demonstrate strong racing credentials (examples available on request) and a coherent written plan for the next stage of their cycling career which must be presented to the Halesowen cycling club chair, Dave Viner. The criteria for joining the academy are below.
For more information contact: William Fotheringham email@example.com
Halesowen Academy members
Joe Brookes – a long-standing Halesowen member, Joe is an off-road specialist who successfully dipped his toe into road racing in 2021 after joining the academy in August; this winter he has ridden strongly in the West Midlands cyclo-cross league.
Ryan Brookes – a long standing member of Halesowen, Ryan is a first year under-23, a track specialist who is looking to getting stuck into senior opposition this year.
Patrick Fotheringham - A Halesowen member since 2008, Patrick has come right up through the club’s youth system via Regional Schools of Racing and Youth Omniums, winning circuit events as an under-16 and managing top-10 places in 2/3/4 events and a National A event against elite riders in his second year as a junior. A regular winner thanks to his strong sprint, he is now the team’s elder statesman, with a brief to mentor the younger riders.
George Homer – A Halesowen member in 2021, George is a strong performer on the road and a second-year U23.
Joe Homer – no relation to George, Joe – who joins us from Redditch Road and Path CC - is a versatile second-year junior who rides strongly on the track, in time trials and at cyclo-cross.
Billy Laight – a versatile first year junior who shows strongly on and off road, and a long-standing Halesowen member, his brother Oscar raced for the academy in 2019 and 2021.
Henry Lloyd-Langston - third year under-23 who will have a mentoring role along with Patrick, given the number of younger riders in the team in 2022.
Aaron Mansell – Aaron is a second year junior who joins from ProVision RT with a season’s experience in road racing behind him; he is also a strong performer at cyclo-cross.
Tomos Pattinson – Tom is now a first year junior with a stellar 2021 behind him, so we will watch his progression to the junior ranks with interest. A Wales national academy member, he is probably one of the most talented young riders in the UK.
Mari Porton – Mari joins us after a year at Halesowen; she is a second-year under-16 who has been fast-tracked to the academy after a strong 2021 in all disciplines. In 2022 she is on the Great Britain apprentice programme.
Will Simons – Will is a versatile second-year junior who is as at home on the road and track as he is at cyclo-cross, and who improved fast in 2021 when he got stuck into road racing.
Academy selection criteria
1/ Member of HACC in season prior to joining, or previous member. Or prior links with the club through being coached by a club member and recommended by that member or having ridden as a guest with a club/academy team. Applications by riders outside these criteria will be considered but those admitted must meet other criteria in this list, and should not be accepted ahead of HACC members who meet those criteria.
2/ Proven commitment to racing over the long-term. Stated commitment to racing in the year ahead. Riders who do not meet these criteria (who may have had time out for some reason) may be asked to go through a probationary period until they have ridden a set number of events. Potential riders will be assessed not merely through results but through improvement curve, proven commitment to the club, “teamship” etc, also parents’ commitment to the club.
3/ Riders will be junior to final year under-23. Normally riders in under-16 category will not be accepted although this exceptionally may be waived if the rider in question has demonstrated exceptional ability.
4/ The academy coach may decide that exceptional circumstances apply, for example if the academy is founding a section targeted at certain categories or disciplines e.g. a women’s arm, a specialist cyclo-cross arm.
5/ The academy may draft in riders as guests for stage races, to complete the complement for a team, offered to
i/ second-claim members of HACC
ii/ former academy members
iii/ former HACC members
iv/ riders who have applied to have HACC academy membership in the following season
v/ riders who have successfully guested in the past
6/ Those involved in the decisions regarding academy membership will be the coach, patron, HACC Cycling Section chair and vice chair. The coach will explain the reasons for accepting potential members with the other three before a final decision is made by the chair, vice-chair and patron.
Halesowen Academy Sponsors
While our main sponsor Mapei need no introduction, we have several other important sponsors. ProVision clothing return for a seventh season – they have been with us since year one for which we would like to express our thanks while nutrition is again supplied by Secret Training, with additional support from BikeStow, and Ludlow deli, Broad Bean - who have been twice voted the best deli in the UK! Wenlock Spring water support us for the sixth year running, while we are adding a new sponsor in Swinnerton Cycles, one of the country’s oldest and most dynamic bike shops, family owned for over a century! Their stalwart backing should enable us to offer our riders an enhanced programme on and off their bikes.