For the second week in a row the weekend’s weather has been superb for racing and this weekend saw the opening round of the National Women’s Omnium Series. A field of 19 starters took to the venue that was originally built back in 1891 and hosted the 1948 Olympic Games.
500m TT was just over a lap of the track for this event and, with a strong breeze on the penultimate bend, it was the stronger and more powerful riders that were able to blast through and post the best times. Defending omnium series champion Janet Birkmyre set the fastest time, by about 2 seconds, with 39.146 from relative newcomer Cassie Gledhill, 41.073 and one of British Cycling’s real future stars, Lucy Garner on 41.205.
The 8km Scratch Race saw a more tactical game being played, as the more experienced riders stayed in the bunch, knowing that a 2k pursuit was next.
Birkmyre remained heavily marked and led out into the strong breeze, being passed on the line by several riders, including
The 2km Pursuit saw the riders complete four and a half laps of the track from two stations and it was Jayne Paine who showed that she has great stamina after her scratch race win, as she produced the fastest time of 2min 49.5secs from Lucy Garner, 2min 51.5 and Janet Birkmyre 2min 52.6.
The Sprint competition was run as a heats, semi’s and finals with qualifying and seeding based on the 500 TT results. Birkmyre, Owen, Garner and Gledhill all made the semi’s easily, with Owen then pipping Birkmyre and Garner beating Gledhill to determine the finals. In these, Birkmyre beat Gledhill in the minor final by half a wheel and Garner showed just too much speed for Owen in the main final.
With the sprint results in, Garner was leading overall with 10 pts, from Birkmyre and Owen on 13 and Gledhill on 20 pts. Paine, having won two races and placing 10th in the Sprint and 8th in the 500TT was now also on 20 pts.
The Points Race is always the last event and usually decides the top placings, many times the top three changed positions and it was going to be close again today.
With the chief commissaire choosing to have sprints every second lap, as opposed to the normal every 4 laps, this made for a harder race with several riders not finishing.
Early points were shared amongst the top 5 riders, with top three rider Janet Birkmyre puncturing early on, getting a fast bike change but missing out on a couple of sprints as she got back into the race.
It was then with 12 laps left to run Jayne Paine set off on her own, putting her head down to create almost half a laps lead on the field and she held this gap, picking up points all the time.
The main contenders were happy to let her to go, knowing that they were not in danger of her overtaking them in the overall standings. It was a good move, as she eventually finished with 24 points, two more than
This meant Lucy Garner won this opening round with 13 points, from
A super days racing, well organised by Graham Bristow and with a healthy crowd of over 50 supporters, it was an excellent day all round.
The next Omnium is the Dudley Grand Prix at Halesowen track on Saturday the 11th of July.