Exciting cycling talent Jensen Windsor overcame a bout of nerves to clinch a top-25 finish against an elite field at the UK Cyclo-Cross National Championships.
The Under 16s county champion clinched 24th place, just outside his aim of a top-20 finish having battled back from a nervous start at Shrewsbury.
The Alford rider’s ranking points from a superb season had earned him a coveted place at the front of the grid.
Not only was he up against the top-ranked riders in the country, he also faced a notoriously difficult National League course which lived up to its reputation as one of the toughest in the series.
It was a very unpredictable race, and with plenty of tired legs at the end of a long season, current form and rankings went out of the window as only 97 riders completed the gruelling 35-minute race.
“I rode a consistent race on par with my National League performances,” said Windsor.
“I was hoping for a top-20 finish so I was slightly disappointed with my final position, even though I was the highest-placed rider from the Midlands.”
Clearly feeling the pressure as he lined up alongside British and European Champions on the front row, with Eurosport TV cameras looking on, the Lincolnshire junior made a very nervous start.
As the pack shot away at a frantic pace on the Tarmac, fighting for the front to hit the muddy banking, Windsor slipped gears and pedal, and found himself back in the middle of the leading pack.
He dropped 30 places in the first lap, but he progressively fought back and recovered on a the energy-sapping course, climbing up to 21st.
Requiring a bike change for each of the five laps, the 15-year-old kept a consistent pace to come home in 24th.
While unable to claim his desired top-20 spot, he did finish ahead of his friend and rival, Chris Hilbert, from Sherwood Pines, who pipped Windsor to the Midlands title earlier this winter.
The British number one and National league champion were also left trailing in his wake, finishing outside of the top 30.
There was to be no respite for the Alford rider as the following weekend he returned to compete in Notts and Derby League and Lincolnshire League races, claiming two further podium finishes.
Jensen has another three races before his cyclo-cross season ends on February 9.
He added: “I would like to say a big thank-you to my mechanic Sam Tuplin and my sponsor Richard Steadman, from Dales Sports Surfaces.”