A RYEDALE teenager has competed in a national cycling championship.

Abi Smith, 16, who is from Oswaldkirk, was selected for the GB cycling team last year and has also competed for her country in mountain running championships.

She qualified for the National Track Championships in Manchester which saw her race against the top 23 cyclists in the UK, including Olympic and world champions Laura Kenny, Katie Archibald and Elinor Barker.

Abi said: “I was pretty star-struck to be honest. It was so surreal being one of the competitors, having watched the racing from the stands only last year. And there I was being part of the action.”

The prestigious event attracted a huge number of spectators. She said: “With constant attacking from the women at the front, it was such hard work to keep up. I think the average speed was 48km per hour. But I was just incredibly grateful to be able to race against such brilliant role models and legends and be able to just about keep up.”

Abi, who is studying PE, psychology, biology and geography at Ripon Grammar School, also met one of her all-time heroes, Dame Sarah Storey, during the three-day event. In January, Abi raced in the Netherlands for the GB junior team against top cyclists from the US, France, Germany and Denmark. “I competed in many events, the most successful being the team pursuit, where the GB second team came third,” she said.

Abi added she was grateful to her Yorkshire-based Racescene Female Development Academy team, Moonglu and Clifton Cycling Club for their support.