With the heat wave having come crashing to an end with thunder storms in the morning, the clouds parted and the riders enjoyed a clear, calm and much cooler evening than they have done of late – even if the rain did threaten to return near the end. The uncertainty of the weather and the start of the holiday season took their toll on both Senior and Youth numbers, but the riders that took the risk were rewarded with an excellent evening’s racing.

Full results and picture galleries to follow

The racing opened with a 10 lap A & B scratch to get everyone warmed up. Stephen Bradbury of AW Cycles seems to be getting stronger every week and comfortably held of a charging Bryan Taylor (VC Londres) to take the Senior A win, with Reading CC’s Nick English taking third. Paul Cooper of Reading CC notched up one for the Vets in the Bs, coming in ahead of first year Under 16 George Withers (Palmer Park Velo) and Sam Grant (Beyond Mountain Biking). Jayne Paine (Willesden CC) led the Ladies home, with Emma Grant of AW Cycles second and Sarra Boyd of Mildenhall CC third.

AW_Cycles_Stephen_Bradbury_far_left_comes_round_Bryan_Taylor_of_VC_Londres_to_take_the_opening_Scratch_Race

With the sprinters back on top in the Keirin competition last night, the big question was whether the endurance riders would dominate the 500m sprint competition, as they have done so far this season. The first heat didn’t really clarify things much with Sam Sturgeon of Team Terminator taking the win from Eddy Soberalski of sports-coaching.com. Sturgeon might be known more as an endurance rider these days, but he’s always been a competitive sprinter and rides for a sprinters’ team – and there’s no doubt about which side of the divide Eddy sits on. The second heat, though, saw Derny King and enduro-sprinter and current sprint series leader Matt Gittings lead home and AW Cycles 1-2 from fellow endurance rider Bradbury.

In the Bs, Withers’ fantastic form continued with a comfortable win in the heats, with Reading CC’s Stephen Bale joining him in the final with Grant winning the second heat, ahead of Cooper.

Another sprint victory for the young Palmer Park Velo rider looked on the cards, but it was an on-form Cooper who won the final, with Withers just sneaking 2nd ahead of Grant.

Paul_Cooper_of_Reading_CC_wins_the_Senior_B_sprint_from_series_leader_George_Withers_of_Palmer_Park_Velo

The A final was the closest so far this season, with Sobieralski pulling every trick in the book to stay ahead of Gittings in the run-in. It was extremely close on the line, but the sprinter had it. Just. Bradbury followed home in third.

A_sprinter_wins_the_sprint_-_Eddy_Soberialski_of_sports-coaching.com_wins_the_Senior_A_sprint_from_Matt_Gittings_of_AW_Cycles
Photo: Cam Swarbrick

In the Ladies final it was Boyd who took the win from Paine and Grant.

With a relatively long programme and a small field, the Devil was run as a single race, with the Ladies joining the A and B riders. Unusually, the field strung out quite quickly, making life hard at the back of the pack, but giving the judges a relatively easy night. Bradbury continue his unbeaten run in the event, taking the A points ahead of Gittings and Taylor, with Withers finally getting one over on Cooper in the Bs, with Grant taking the balance of the points. Boyd was the last Lady left in, with Paine and Grant taking second and third.

Stephen_Bradbury_of_AW_Cycles_maintains_his_100_per_cent_record_in_the_Devil

With betfair no longer giving odds on 6, 7 or 8 lap distances, the Unknown distance fell right in the middle and saw Taylor boss the bell lap sprint, taking the Senior A victory from Charlie Fawke of the One Life Development Squad and last week’s double Devil eunner-up Oliver Newlan of Twickenham CC. Boyd took maximum points in the Ladies race ahead of Paine.

After last week’s frantic race, the AW Cycles 20k Endurance, we were treated to something completely different this week. B Rider Martyn Harris of Banjo Cycles took the lead from the gun and pulled out an enormous lead – looking for a long time as though he would take the lap. A long way behind, a group consisting of Bale, Paine, Boyd and Grant stayed comfortably ahead of the pack, albeit a long way behind Harris.

The first of the 20k regulars to bridge the gap was English, who joined up with the chasers as first Boyd, then Bale and Paine began to fade. Harris faded at around the half d
istance mark, joining English and Grant at the front, before dropping back to the pack and being replaced in the lead group by Nick Abraham.

The pack was working hard to bring them back and several attempts were made to bridge the gap as the leaders started to drift back into the bunch.

With 7 laps to go the race was back together and a bunch sprint was looking inevitable. At the bell they were still together and, remarkably, there was still an Under 16 rider in the bunch. Perhaps even more remarkably, they had only shed Under 14 rider Max Stedman of Reading CC a lap and a half earlier.

Oliver_Newlan_of_Twickenham_CC_-_winner_of_the_20k_-_leads_Martyn_Harris_of_Banjo_Cycles_who_came_so_close_to_taking_a_lap_in_the_early_stages_of_the_race

As the pace picked up on the back straight, Palmer Park Velo’s Jason Pitt went with them and pulled away from the bunch with the leading group. By the time they reached the opposite side of the track, it was Bradbury who crossed the line first, followed by Newlan, English and Abraham with Pitt a superb 5th overall. That 5th became 4th when Bradbury subsequently became the second rider this season to fall foul of the BC directive to track commissaires to crack down on riders who take their hands off the bars, handing the A win to Newlan.

AW_Cycles_Stephen_Bradbury_before_his_relegation_in_the_20k
Photo: Cam Swarbrick

Pitt’s 4th overall earned him first place in the Sonim Under 14-Under 16 20k Endurance competition, ahead of Stedman. Harris’ early efforts off the front were rewarded with the B win, from Steve Clarke of AW Cycles and Max’ dad Paul Stedman, also of Reading CC.

Grant, too, got some return for her long stint on the front, taking the Ladies points from Paine and Boyd.

Finally, a mention for the riders who took part in the Central Division Individual Pursuit last Tuesday night. 10 riders braved the breeze and battled it out over 9 laps, with Nick English of Reading CC (5:18.54) and Matt Gittings (5:18.50) of AW Cycles winning the right to have another go in the final.

Matt_Gittings_-_AW_Cycles_-_Central_Division_Individual_Pursuit_Championship_Runner-up

There was nothing to separate them in the heats and there was precious little between them in the final. Unsurprisingly, given the lack of rest between efforts, both recorded somewhat slower times in the final (although still the 3rd and 4th fastest of the evening) but, whereas Gittings had been 4 hundredths up in the heat, it was English who edged the final, seven tenths ahead of his rival with a time of 5:20.09.

Nick_English_-_Reading_CC_-_1st_-_Central_Division_Individual_Pursuit_Championship

Full results

Central Division Individual Pursuit Championship

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Track League

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