The latest round of the Derny Fest series took place at Palmer Park in velodrome – alongside a very competitive Women’s Omnium.
The first heat saw Martyn Harris of Banjo Cycles take an early lead off the front, with CC Luton’s Glen O’Brien CC Luton the first to make a challenge to Harris. The group remained united until seven laps to go, with Ian Greenstreet of Newbury RC, Harris and Nick Cammell of GS Henley taking the front three spots. Harris broke away from the group with four laps to go and caused the group to fragment. Harris won the heat, with Nigel Steven of Finchley RT and O’Brien finishing in second and third place.
The second heat saw Kristian Woolf of Prestige Velo Club emulate the move of Harris in the previous heat and take the lead from the start. Woolf was unable to sustain his advantage, giving Alex Wise of VC St Raphael the opportunity to take over the lead of the race. With ten laps to go, Wise increased his lead further and held it until the finish. Woolf took second place, with Oliver Hitchings of Peter Hansford Racing taking the final qualifying spot for the major final.
AW Cycles’ Frazier Carr took the lead from the start in the third heat but, with 15 laps to go, James Connell of Brixton Cycles moved to the front with teammate Vojtech Blazejovsky. Both riders were able to hold onto their positions at the front of the race, with Blazejovsky eventually taking the win, followed by Connell and Josh Mitchell of Bicester Millenium.
In the Minor 15k Final, Sarah Brook of Team Mulebar Girl-Sigma Sport stamped her authority and took an early lead in the race, with Hugh Knudsen of Dream Race Club and High Wycombe CC’s Malcolm Freeman (High Wycombe CC in pursuit. The race remained close until 22 laps to go, when eventual winner Gavin Mitchell of Twickenham CC took the chance to start a break from the field and slowly quickly increased his lead to 20 metres. He was only able to hold the lead for five laps, and the group soon came back together.
Freeman made a very determined effort to get to the front of the group with nine laps to go, but was unable to hold off the challenge from Bournemouth Arrow’s David Carter who stole the lead in the closing laps. However, it took until two laps to go before Mitchell made his winning move. He was able to stretch his lead in the final lap to cross the line with a clear 20 metre margin over Freeman and Brook.
The Minor 20K final saw David Jack put in an exceptional effort from the gun and make a determined effort to stay away from the field. Jack impressively managed to hold a convincing lead until 20 laps to go. Here, he briefly lost touch with his derny – which enabled the bunch to make the first inroads into his lead. Jack’s determination was initially enough to hold off the advancing bunch, although with the group eating around five metres a lap into Jack’s lead, it became clear the group would soon catch him.
Greenstreet and Trevor Bradbury of AW Cycles lead the charge back to Jack and, with ten laps to go, just five riders remained in the lead group. With just three laps remaining, John Hefferman of New Forest CC, Bradbury, Greenstreet and Carr made their move to break away from the field. A strong final lap by Bradbury saw him take the win, closely followed by Greenstreet and Carr in third.
The Derny Fest Final featured the first three riders from each heat and promised to be an exciting race. After the gun sounded, O’Brien made the early break, although Wise immediately chased him down. Buoyed by the catch, Wise and Woolf took the opportunity to break from the rest of the field.
Photo: Jun Aishima
The only rider to attempt to stay with the pair was Martyn Harris of Banjo Cycles, but he was unable to match their early speed. Blazejovsky made a lone break to catch the leaders and managed to stay in this position for the rest of the race. With Harris and Hitchings staying together in fourth and fifth place from this point onwards, the final positions were already decided with 20 laps to go. Although Blazejovsky made some inroads into Wise and Woolf’s lead in the closing, Wise’s impressive final burst of speed was enough to put an significant distance between himself and Woolf in the final straight and enabled him to take the win comfortably. Blazejovsky earned a well deserved third, with Harris and Hitchings taking fourth and fifth respectively.
Photo: Jun Aishima