The highlights of tonight’s evening of non-stop action were the league sprint championships for all categories, with medals presented by league president Frank Blake. These were followed by supporting races, and tonight also saw some sparks fly in the B-league battle.
With league sprint champion Lee Povey tracksided by a dislocated shoulder in a recent spill, and current league leader Felix English in Ireland in preparation for the national junior TT and road-race, the senior sprint championship was wide open to all. First up, though, was a qualifying 200-metre TT, with only the top 12 riders staying in the competition.
Early contenders for the fastest time were Stuart Bettis (13.16), Sam Cheesman (13.36), Nick Jepson (13.53), Adam Gent (13.54) and Paul Barnard (13.61). However, these times were blitzed by last-starter Mark Burgess, who rocketed home to post a blistering time of 12.45.
The subsequent heat winners were Burgess, Elliot Tabraham-Dowers, Barnard and
In the 8-lap scratch race, Sean McClelland and Anthony Rogers were the first to break away, but their adventure lasted only two laps as the bunch was brought back to them mainly by some lively riding from Jepson, Charlie Burrell, Tabraham-Dowers, Bettis and Jack Oliver-Blaney. Nick Smith then put in a strong move to gain some daylight, but he too was brought to heel. Gent was on the front at the bell, but with a fine last-lap effort Brock Duncumb-Rogers came home first, followed home by Oliver-Blaney, Jepson, Mark Turner, Richard Bailey and Matthew Earnshaw in that order.
With four victories to his name before tonight, Sam Cheesman needed just one more to win the season’s B-league. He was therefore heavily marked by his rivals, but he had the bit between his teeth tonight and looked determined to land that final win. At the bell, he was some places back in the bunch, with Philip Burnett and Matthew Butt at the head of affairs. However, by the time they reached the finish, Cheesman was well and truly in command and he took a great win to seal his B-league title. He was followed in by Jepson, Nigel Burrows, Earnshaw, Martin O’Brien and Burrell.
The bad news for Cheesman was that he was to be summoned to the line straight after the finish. He had just gained automatic promotion to the A-league, but following a suggestion from an anonymous spectator wearing a shoulder sling (see clue at start of report) he was asked to take part straight away in the A-cat 3-lap dash – which he did with amazing good grace. Not only that, but he attacked from the start, leading round for the first two circuits. By the finish, it was Duncumb-Rogers who stormed through first, with Burgess, Smith,
Chief commissaire Ben Miller had his secret plan for the unknown distance race worked out in advance. Paul McCarthy, Oliver-Blaney and Sara Gent escaped near the start and they were then joined by an alert Jepson, who took the first £5 prime just ahead of the impressive
Winner of the weekly fiver was Richard Hoyle, who succeeded in winning all his races. While this is not unusual in the youth categories, in Richard’s case his determination and effort were obvious for all to see, and he was a thoroughly deserving winner.
Under 16 – Under 14
Jacobs came home first in Under 16 sprint championship, with silver taken by Michael Dixon and bronze going to Jack Priddle. The Under 14 champion was Matthew Hill, while
Race favourite and league leader Amy Smith took the sprint championship, followed home by Douglas McCauley and Thomas Burnett. Isaac Wright won the close handicap contest in front of Amy, with Matthew Deacon third. Amy dominated the 2-lapper ahead of Isaac, with Ben O’Brien winning the bunch sprint for third.
Under 10 – Under 8
League leader Rahul Fortescue-Talwar won the Under 8 sprint championship, narrowly beating Ben Battle and Rory Burke. The Under 10 title-race was won by Richard Hoyle in a very tight sprint, Bethany Lewis taking silver and Stan Abbott-Stacey bagging bronze. The joint handicap race saw Richard come home first, followed by Louie Berey and Charlie Brooker. Richard made it a hat-trick of wins to take the final 1-lapper, with Bethany and Stan being the next finishers.