Another Tandem Champion for Barney Storey Sport

Barney Storey talks about that winning feeling as he wins the 2012 Tandem Championship

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The National Tandem Sprint Championships is an event I really look forward to each year, and especially as it is a rare opportunity to compete with our Paralympic tandems. It was held at Newcastle-under-Lyne track, which is an outdoor track. The Championships have been held here for the last few years, and has been a place where I have had good success in the competition.

I went into the competition as defending champion where I rode with Anthony Kappes last year. This year I was riding with Neil Fachie, whom I had ridden with at the Paracycling World Track Champs back in February. Our form had been good leading into the championships and I think both of us had expected a good showing at the event.

We rode a qualification time trial wTandem Nationals 800x533hich gave us our seeding for the competition, and this went really well. We rode a time of 10.81 seconds for the 200metres, which was pretty good outdoors on a chilly morning.

It was good enough for the top seed in qualification, which was a great start taking us to the quarter finals. We met the youngest and definitely the brightest prospect in Paracycling at the moment, Sophie Thornhill and Megan Boyd who had recently won the UK School Games event.

They were tactically brilliant and even though we had plenty of power to come round them, they really are a great prospect for the Rio Games in 2016. This victory took us through to the semi-finals which is where things got a little harder!

The semi finals saw us up against my club mate and former tandem sprint Champion Ben Elliot who was piloting John Saysell. Myself and Neil knew Ben had a lot of endurance so this would be a tough heat. We were able to beat Ben and John 2-0 in a best of 3 race series, which then put us into the final!

The final was against City of Edinburgh pair Bruce Croall and Kenneth Ayre, who had qualified in 2nd, just a fraction behind us, which meant it was going to be a very close race and certainly an interesting one! The final was also best of 3 races and we knew we had to be on the top of our game to win the Championship on the day.

As we drew our position for the start of the first ride I can remember thinking how excited I was to be racing in the final and with the prospect of winning my sixth title, I had to remain calm and focused. We rode 2nd wheel in the first couple of laps before the speed was very high with a lap to go and we made our move on the back straight to come past the City of Edinburgh pair and hold them off to the line.

The second ride was slightly different with myself and Neil opting to lead the race all the way to the finish and win the Championship, for Neil for the 2nd time, and for me, number 6!

It was great to get back into the “Winning Way” again, especially after a fairly challenging World Championships earlier in the year. It does give you a good confidence boost when you are able to carry out all the aspects of training in the race and do this well.

The timing was perfect too, as it was the day before the “100 days to go” till the Paralympics Games. It was the final tandem event we would both compete in before hopefully being selected for the Games. Even though it was my sixth title I was overjoyed to win and it still felt like my first title all those years ago!

Next on the horizon is some good solid base training. This will consist of road and gym training, plus the occasional road time trial. Looking at my next training phase, the Games are getting closer all the time!
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