A long night of events was planned for this evening and our able commissaires kept the riders on their toes and ready for racing… and racing they did go!
The Seniors, as always, started with a 10 lap event, tonight a combined A & B Scratch race which started with an attack from the non-endurance rider, Dave Dentus, who stayed out alone for the first 7 laps but then the final three were clipped off at a wicked pace as some felt the need to warm up for their impending pursuit heats.
With Dentus caught and the bunch’s pace ever increasing in was down to a mass finish and in the final gallop it was Steve Legg who won powering over the top of Neil Cooper and that other renowned endurance rider Lee Povey.
The B’s first home was local bike mechanic and retro pre-60’s bike collector Rikki Pankhurst and the first lady was Cassie Gledhill.
The Pursuits started soon after with 3 heats of four station start positions and in heat one Ian Greenstreet caught and passed all of his heat contenders as he set the early fastest time of 5min 27.49 secs.
The second heat saw Matt Gittings set an almost identical time to Greenstreet, missing by just 0.3 of a second and they would have fought out the final, which is being held in a few weeks, if it wasn’t for Bryan Taylors storming effort in the final heat to set the fastest time of 5min 21.78 secs.
The Womens Pursuit was a 5 lap straight final and had Emma Patterson set a steady pace to beat Jayne Paine by 3 seconds from Denise Cater who was a further 4 seconds adrift.
The Sprinters were up next and after some very close heats in the A’s category it was an identical final to the previous league night with Lee Povey, John Paul and Sam Serruya pitting their wits and speed against each other.
Paul led down the back straight with Povey following closely and Serruya up nearer the fence. Paul responded to an acceleration from Serruya. Povey countered too but it was Paul and Serruya who drew level hammering up the home straight and it took a few moments for the judges to confirm that it was Paul who took the sprint by what must have been a few centimetres at most.
The B’s Sprint final saw an early acceleration by Rikki Pankhurst down the back straight, and he gained a 30 metre gap on Dave Dentus, with Anthony Moye chasing hard. Dentus had the momentum and too much pace as he passed Pankhurst on the final bend and took a comfortable win.
The Womens sprint final saw Emma Patterson win her second event of the evening powering away from Denise Cater and Cassie Gledhill on the home straight for victory.
The Seniors penultimate event of the evening was an Unknown distance, usually of about 7 laps, this one being no exception. Early efforts to escape were quelled quickly and it was a mass charge to the line, being led all the way by Bryan Taylor, hotly pursued by Neil Cooper , with Steve Legg third. Cam Swarbrick was the first B home.
And to the final event , the AW Cycles 20 km endurance race saw a large field assemble to battle the strong and breezy conditions. An early move by Gavin Mitchell became more and more promising as no one relished a hard early chase. As the lap board ticked over 32 to go a sense of urgency seemed to creep over the field as riders tapped off the front but not a full noise, just edging closer and closer to the tiring Mitchell. And then, as if a switch had been flicked it was full on action, with attacks first from Gavin Spiers, then a much healthier effort from Matt Gittings combined with Neil Cooper and soon the field was in disarray.
Cooper faded surprisingly but Gittings carried on and held a nice half lap advantage over the remainder of the field but he was soon to be joined by some of the leagues “big hitters”, as Bryan Taylor, Steve Legg and Rob King made a move round the top of the banking to open up a gap on what was left of the main chasing pack.
The four riders then did smooth through and off to move quickly away from any other competition and with about 8 laps to go they lapped the field and carried on through to contest the race in its final stages. Sadly for Rob King, he was to puncture with 4 to go, and after being leant a bike, chased valiantly but could not make contact with the leading three riders, who, as they heard the one to go bell, slowed down significantly, with no one wanting to lead into the head wind.
And so it proved to be as Bryan Taylor blasted over the line to win from Steve Legg and Matt Gittings.
The best placed B rider was Gavin Spiers, being the last rider lapped, and Emma Patterson capped off a good night with her third victory by beating Jayne Paine to the line.
The Youths had a full but slightly staggered night, due to the seniors pursuiting and sprinting but it doesn’t stop us mentioning that they had some great results.
William Macke (Under 16’s), George Withers (Under 14’s) and Reg Pay (Under 12/10’s) won all three of the races they took part in, the Hare & Hounds, Sprint and 10 lap Endurance .
We’ll give the youngsters some more coverage next time.