We’re excited to announce that we’ve started working with two inspiring young athletes as part of the Laughland Enduro Scholarship, providing them with access to the Dirt School Training plan and skills coaching sessions.
After the tragic passing of Derek Laughland due to a brain hemorrhage at a round of the Scottish Enduro Series, his family took some comfort in the fact he was doing what he loved.
“Anyone who knew Derek also knew his passion for his bike and taking part in events — training for and competing in these events kept him young and super fit right to his last breath.” Anne Laughland
To mark the one year anniversary of his passing and in memory of Derek’s influential presence at the Scottish Enduro Series, the Laughland family very kindly offered a performance scholarship to two of the most promising junior riders. In addition to a training plan with Dirt School, the scholarship also includes a Nevis Range season pass, race entries and support throughout the season — an incredible opportunity for young up and coming racers.
The top junior riders in the male and female categories then wrote an application explaining why they love riding and racing bikes and what their goals are for the future. The Laughland family selected the successful applicants — Fraser Kelly and Polly Henderson.
Fraser, 16 years old from Munlochy on the Black Isle, started riding seven years ago after visiting his local trail centre where he instantly found a love for bikes. Soon after he joined his local cycling club and began taking part in dirt crits, followed by local cross country races, later moving onto downhill and enduro.
This year Fraser plans to fit in as many races as he can alongside his higher exams, including the Scottish Enduro Series and BEMBA National Enduro Series rounds. He also hopes to take part in some European events this summer and would like to progress onto racing the Enduro World Series at some point in the future.
Polly, 17 years old from Castle Douglas, was introduced to cycling at the age of three by her dad — a keen rider himself — and has been passionate about the sport ever since. She began racing cross country at the age of seven and completed her first full season of Enduro in 2018.
After finishing her last year of school in May, Polly plans to race the Val di Fassa and Zermatt rounds of the Enduro World Series where her goal is to make the podium in the under 21 category. She’ll also be racing a full calendar at home, including the Scottish Enduro Series and other national events.
“I’m hoping to get faster on my bike but also get more of an understanding on how I should be training. It’ll be great to have a structured plan that I don’t have to think about putting together myself” Polly
At the end of November, Fraser and Polly had their initial meeting with James McCallum (our Dirt School Training Plan coach) to set up their six month training plan to keep them on track throughout the winter. James has over 20 years of experience in cycling and as well as multiple British and Scottish championships to his name, he is also an ex Commonwealth games cyclist and bronze medalist. After retiring from international racing, James began performance coaching and founded META and is currently the coach for Enduro World Series athletes Ruaridh Cunningham and Mark Scott. The Laughland Enduro Scholarship is a great way for these promising young athletes to access this level of support.
“To be part of the Laughland Enduro Scholarship and work with both Polly and Fraser is a huge privilege. Our role as coaches is to help speed the learning process of the next generation. The chance to help both riders is fantastic. Given that both athletes have not had any real structured training, the potential, drive and passion they both show along with the willingness to learn is very inspiring” James
“The initial session with James was really good, I was nervous going into it as I’ve not done any fitness stuff before and had no idea what my baseline would be. I enjoyed it though and it was good to see where I’m at and have something to work from. I’m looking forward to my technical riding session with Andy next weekend” Fraser
We’re proud to be a part of this programme supporting these inspiring young athletes and look forward to seeing their progression over the next few months.