Dirt School: The Derek Laughland Memorial Award 2020 Winners!

Dirt School: The Derek Laughland Memorial Award 2020 Winners!

Well, after spending the last couple of days pondering over the incredible applications received, the Laughland family have chosen this year’s recipients of the Derek Laughland Memorial Award!

Anne Laughland said: "I'm blown away by the applications for this year’s award. It would be hard not to be inspired by the enthusiasm and determination of these incredible young riders. Thank you to every single person who has taken the time to enter either on their own or on behalf of their club."

Young Male Rider

The winner is … Jonny Beher

Jonny’s Application:

I’m 15 years old, living in Dunblane near Stirling and have been riding for about 5 years.

I love riding for so many different reasons. I love it when you get to the top after a big climb and you can see for miles. No noises of any roads or anything, I just love how peaceful it is at the top of the hill. I love trying to go as fast as I can and i love riding new trails with friends. That feeling when you’ve all smashed out a fast lap and get to the bottom and are all so buzzing. I love the mountain bike community too; everyone is so friendly and no matter what bike you’re riding or how good you are everyone is nice. When I ride by myself, I always end up chatting to someone on the way up. Lastly, I love the feeling of racing. Just going round each stage and banging out a lap as fast as possible, the feeling you get when you nail all your planned-out lines is mad.

My riding could really benefit from this award. It would be great to get some coaching as I feel like it’s always great to learn from a faster/more experienced rider. I’ve only done one coaching session before which was with Ben Cathro in Dunoon and I felt like I really improved after that. I think it would help me look at lines I never thought of before and really go a bit faster. Scotty and Derek’s local is my local spot too and I’ve been riding the trails they built together for a while, I think it would be mint to receive this award, cheers!"

Young Female Rider

The winner is … Eliza Barrie!

Eliza’s Application:

"Hi, I am 16 years old and live near Laurencekirk, Aberdeenshire. I have been riding for just over 3 years now, getting my first proper mountain bike in January 2018. I love riding my bike. Before a friend introduced me to the sport, I was on a precarious trajectory to becoming a couch potato, losing interest in all the sports my family did. When I first rode a bike up to the local woods my life changed forever. Little did I know then the places I would end up. Just last weekend that was the top spot of a local enduro podium and a few months prior I was on top of a Munro at midnight!
I ride a lot as I love feeling strong and fit. However, I struggle with some skills, especially on drops and jumps. I aspire one day to be on the top step of an EWS podium. The Derek Laughland Memorial Reward would benefit me massively in helping me achieve this goal. I hope that I can also encourage more girls to get out on their bikes and have as much fun as I have when I’m out on the trail and getting covered in mud!"

Cycling Club

The winner is … David Olgilvie on behalf of the West Lothian Clarion Youth Section!

David's Application:

“The club was set up just over 10 years ago and we have approximately 100 riders aged 5yrs – 17yrs who attend weekly coaching sessions. Throughout the year we deliver 3 separate coaching blocks focusing on the disciplines of road, cyclocross and mountain biking. We have also recently established a ‘performance group’ for some of our 14 – 17 year old riders to provide more targeted coaching and encourage them to remain engaged in our weekly sessions. In the past riders of this age have left the club as other distractions within the local community i.e. underage drinking and antisocial behaviour, becomes more attractive than riding a bike. Covid resulting in us having to pause all of our club activities and it has been great to get our riders back to coaching sessions as restrictions have eased. At the start of lock down we had just started our MTB coaching sessions to coincide with the Scottish Cross Country MTB Series, We got one coaching session and one race before everything stopped. Potentially the biggest impact of this was on our performance group as a number of them had just recorded some of their best results (one second and a third in U14 and U16 respectively as well as several other strong placings) at the first round of the SXC and have now had to deal with 6 months without regular coaching and racing as well as the other pressures placed on young people due to lockdown. Some of these riders were also looking to enter their first enduro races this year as this style of riding and the social scene around it is becoming more attractive to them. A number of them were also looking at entering an enduro as an opportunity to push their riding skills and ability. Having access to a Dirt School coaching session would be really beneficial for then not only in terms of improving their riding skills but also in terms of helping keep their motivation levels high and inspiring them to focus on attending regular coaching sessions and returning to racing once the restrictions around Covid allows.

If we are successful in being awarded this coaching session it would also be a great positive news story to share with our younger riders in the club many who are coached by riders in the performance group – we are amongst the first Clubs in Scotland to have youth coaches trained and delivering cycling development. This will lead to dissemination of learning from this session with Dirt School to the other 90 riders in the Club. Talk about impact!”

If you’re one of the lucky winners above, look out for an email from Dirt School early next week to redeem your award!

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