The Women’s Omnium competition at Palmer Park velodrome – run alongside the Derny Fest – was well attended, with no fewer than 22 women signing on.
The first event of the day was the 500m Time Trial which, given the unusual distance of Palmer Park, saw riders having to ride one complete lap plus an extra 41 metres. Two riders managed to break 40 seconds: Jan Birkmyre of Champion Systems Maxgear-Base rode an impressive 38.90s to take first place, with Lydia Boylan clocking 39.70s for second. Team ASL360’s Anna Railton managed 40.32s for third – just one hundredth of a second ahead of fourth placed Charlotte Broughton of MG Décor.
The Points Race was one of the highlights of the competition, and became an exciting battle from the gun. The first set of points were contested in a sprint with Birkmyre, Sophie Black of Manx Viking Wheelers CC and De Ver Cycles’ Abbie Dentus taking first, second and third respectvely.
After this first set of points, Railton took the chance to make a break. Sadly, with Brit Tate of GTBCycles.co.uk in hot pursuit, she was unable to hold her break until the next points lap and the group became united once more. The next set of points became another closely fought competition with Keira McVitty of Brixton CC taking the honours this time.
Team mate Sarah Connell then took the same strategy of Railton, and took advantage of the temporarily fatigued riders to make break off the front. She impressively gained a third of a lap within two laps, with the group making no determined effort to get back to her. By the time the bell sounded, Connell was near to half a lap ahead of the bunch and winning the next points battle became elementary. Birkmyre took the sprint from an impressive distance to take the first of the minor points in the bunch sprint, with Boylan and Dentus fighting it out for second and third.
Railton and Prestige VC’s Laura Cheeseman formed a chase to catch the leading Connell for the next set of points, but Connell had managed to build such an impressive lead to she was able to hold on take maximum points in the following lap. Black made a chase from behind to take the points for second. The race for the points in the final lap saw Birkmyre take the sprint from an impressive 250m from the line. Her efforts were rewarded with maximum points in the final lap and provided her with the points needed to win the race overall. Connell’s assertive riding in the middle of the race earned her second place, with McVitty taking third.
Birkmyre’s sprinting prowess is well known, and she was able to take the win in the next event, the 500m Sprint. Boylan put in an impressive ride to take second place, with Black finishing third.
The next event, the 2000m Individual Pursuit, saw just one rider break the 2:30 barrier. Broughton, who last year podiumed in the pursuit in the BC Inter Regional Track Championships, won the event with a very impressive time of 2:28.20. Boylan’s fast ride of 2:30.52 was enough for second place, with Birkmyre riding 2:32.22 for third.
The 8km scratch race may have been the final event of the day, but there was certainly no sign of fatigue amongst the riders. McVitty was the first to try and make a break with ten laps to go and was soon joined by the young Isabelle Clarke of Lichfield City CC. Sadly, the pair were unable to consolidate their lead and were soon caught by the bunch. Birkmyre made a further move with eight laps to go, but it was Tate who was the only rider who was able to put a convincing distance between herself and the rest of the group and, with five laps to go, had put a gap of 50 metres between herself and the rest of the field. However, a dual effort by Connell and Laura Massey of Abergavenny RC in the penultimate lap was enough to catch Tate. The closing sprint saw Connell take the win, just a wheel ahead of Massey. Tate’s gutsy riding was rewarded with third.
Birkmyre’s excellent performance throughout the competition saw her win the overall event convincingly, with Railton taking second place and Boylan earning the final podium spot. The overall level of competition was extremely high and, with young riders Broughton, Dentus and Black taking fourth, fifth and sixth respectively, the results are surely indicative of stunning future talent.
Photo: Jun Aishima