Pilley (20) is hopeful of competing at the Birmingham Games in the 4km individual pursuit having taken up track cycling when he moved to Cardiff University in 2018. The Caesarean Cycling Club member has been competing on the road since his was a child but is now retraining his focus on the track, with no small thanks to support from his club and a healthy dose of funding from Jersey’s Commonwealth Games Association.
The CGA, through donations they have received, provided Pilley with a pot of money to help him pursue his dreams and with the help of supplier Big Maggy’s Bike Shop, Pilley has taken ownership of a top of the range Argon 18 machine worth £5,000.
‘The level of componentry is of the highest standard,’ said Pilley at the bike’s unveiling. ‘It’s the fastest kit you can buy.
‘The frameset is specific to pursuit. The handlebars are integrated into the frame for aerodynamics so there’s minimal frontal area and it allows you to get into a really aggressive position. The wheels are double-disked, front and back. It’s the quickest iteration you can have. Argon bikes are the market leader in the pursuit world. It’s basically the best bike money can buy.’
Pilley is still a relative novice when it comes to track cycling and he is the first Jersey athlete to put himself forward for the event at Commonwealth-level in many years. Nevertheless, he has his sights firmly set on an appearance in Birmingham.
‘I moved to university two years ago and the proximity of the Newport velodrome to Cardiff where I am based meant I had access to it,’ he explained.
‘I did some sessions there which led to university championship racing. I’ve found that it suits me quite well as a rider. I’ve now raced a couple of open events, like the University Championships and the British National Championships, which has giving me vital experience at this level. I’ll be looking to repeat this [for 2020/21 season] and then maybe get to Europe for some bigger events.
‘“Caesers” have been a massive support for me, both financially and in my personal development. They’ve really helped get me where I am.’