IVYBRIDGE Community College pupil Travis Bramley is making a habit of collecting national titles.
The 16-year-old claimed his fourth this year alone at the weekend when he powered to victory at the British Triathlon Championships in Liverpool.
Bramley won the youth category on Merseyside, finishing seven seconds ahead of his nearest rival, Cameron Main from Scotland.
Sunday’s success followed on from him claiming the British Youth Aquathlon title in Hyde Park at the end of May, the English Under-20 Aquathlon crown earlier this month at Falmouth and the National Junior Indoor Rowing title at the start of the year.
Bramley also won the British Schools’ Biathlon Championships last year and took silver at this year’s British Youth Elite Duathlon Championships.
In addition, the talented teenager also secured the South West Inter-Counties Championship under-17 3,000m title this month.
But Bramley said winning the British Triathlon Championship crown topped all his other successes.
“As I’ve gone through the season, that’s been the one I have been targeting,” he said.
“I won the aquathlon title in Hyde Park and got silver in the duathlon championships back in May and they were all leading up to this. This was the main test.”
Bramley had been frustrated to only finish third in his last major triathlon at Blenheim Palace in June and so he was delighted to prove a point at Liverpool.
“I was a bit disappointed how I did at the Blenheim Triathlon where I was third,” said the determined Plymouth Tri Club member. “It was quite nice to come back from that one to take the win in Liverpool.”
Bramley timed his race perfectly on Sunday. He kept with the leaders on the swim and cycle before powering away on the run.
“The swim was in the Albert Dock and it was chaos as usual at the start,” he said.
“But I got myself into quite a good position and then had a very good T1 (swim to bike transition). I went from seventh out of the swim to coming out of the transition in third or fourth.
“Then on the bike I was in a working group with the lad who came second, Cameron Main from Scotland, James Chantler-Mayne and a guy called Freddie Webb, who was also on the podium and is from the South West.
“Us four worked in a group for pretty much the whole of the bike ride until the last turn when Freddie kicked off the front to try and get more time into the transition.
“I came off the bike in third and had a quick T2. I was pleased with my transitions. I have been working on them and it was good to see the work has paid off.
“I quickly moved up to second and then Cameron Main and I were pretty much together until the last 800m when I surged. I didn’t realise I had broken him until my parents and other people on the sidelines told me I could enjoy it now. I didn’t realised I had as big of a gap as I did. I thought he was right there.”
The run stage is proving to be Bramley’s strong point.
He said: “I seem to be able to run off the bike almost as quick as I can run normally, which is key to triathlon really. There is no point being a really, really good runner but your legs are shot from the bike.
“You have to develop the strength in your legs to be able to run fast off the back of a hard bike ride. That is something I seem to be able to do well.
“I’m not the best runner, I’m not the best cyclist and not the best swimmer, but put it all together and it seems to come good for me.”
Bramley’s win at the weekend has put him in a great position to be crowned British Youth Super Series champion.
He said: “There is a series of six races that form part of the British Youth Super Series – the British Duathlon Championships at Corby, the British Aquathlon Championships in Hyde Park, the Blenheim Palace Triathlon, the British Championships in Liverpool, then it’s the London Triathlon in two weeks’ time and the British Triathlon Under-20 Festival.
“As well as competing for individual titles you rack up points and at the end of the season whoever has the best three results is crowned British Super Series champion.
“I now have two firsts and a second to count towards my points. I need another win either in Derby (at the under-20 festival) or London so that I can’t really be beaten.”
Although he has proved successful at other sports, like indoor rowing, athletics and swimming, triathlon is where Bramley’s heart lies.
“I find triathlon just so exciting, that’s the reason I do it,” he said. “It’s not a sport with great financial gain, like football or rugby, but I like that the fastest wins and it tests three different areas. It’s about endurance and speed, but anyone can do it.”
And Bramley hopes he can make the jump from talented junior to world-class senior.
When asked what his ambition is, he said: “I would love to go on and race at World Series level and also qualify for the Olympic team. That would be the ultimate goal.”
However, triathlon training is time consuming.
“It takes a lot of organisation really,” said Bramley, who swims for Caradon Swimming Club and runs for City of Plymouth AC. “It can be quite difficult to juggle training at times, but my dad and my sister also both compete at triathlons as well, so it is kind of a family affair and that helps.
“I have finished my GCSEs now and will be going on to As and A levels, but not having school for the last month-and-a-half has helped with my training commitments. I have just been able to go and do what I wanted.
“Once school is around you get home, do you homework and then go off to the pool straight away. Your sport in your leisure time. There is no playing on the Xbox or that kind of thing.
“I just try to be organised with meals and sleep. I do get great support from my parents. They are really very supportive.
“You do build a big support network around you. You could not really do it without them.”
Bramley, on the books of Team Velotive, will move up to the junior category next year, which is for athletes 17, 18 and 19 years old.
“That will be a real step up,” said the 16-year-old. “It will be interesting to see how we all do as it is longer distances as well.
“We don’t have to step up to Olympic distance until under-23 level, but next year it will be a 750m (swim), 20k (bike) and 5k (run). It will be double what we are doing now but half the Olympic distance.”
But before thinking about next year, Bramley still has lots to focus on over the next few weeks.
“Next Monday I am in Sheffield for the National Open Water Championships and then the week after that it is the London Triathlon,” said Bramley. “So I’ve got a busy few weeks.”