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.


Seniors
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 Gent, and they were due to contest the semis in due course. In the ride-off for 5th place, Cheesman was first over the line, followed by Sean McClelland. Burgess then came through his semi against Gent to book his berth in the final, as did Tabraham-Dowers against Barnard. The latter took the bronze medal in a close scrap, then it was down to the final. Reigning league champ Burgess was undoubtedly the favourite, but Tabraham-Dowers has a fine turn of speed and anything could happen. The two were neck-and-neck along the back straight, but with 200 to go Burgess let rip and quickly gained a significant advantage, coming home for a comfortable win to take the title.
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, Gent, Oliver-Blaney and Bailey next over the line.
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 Gent. Two laps later, they were all together with Burrell and John Aston monitoring the front of the peloton. Miller’s cunning plan was then revealed in the form of two consecutive primes, won in turn by Tabraham-Dowers and Smith. The latter succeeded in breaking away after pocketing his prize and he gained a maximum lead of about 80 metres. He was still ahead at the bell, but only just, and victory went to Oliver-Blaney at the end of a fabulous final lap, with Andy Parle, Earnshaw, Duncumb-Rogers, O’Brien and Gent next over the line.
Youths
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
Amy
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 Kimberley English and Jake Marley, in order, were the other medal-winners. The joint handicap race was narrowly won by Matthew in front of Amy, with Mark Jacobs next. In a very tight finish to the 3-lap scratch race, Matthew crossed the line first, followed by Michael, Jack, Amy, Gabriel Parle and Kimberley.
Under 12
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.

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