The Studio at Palmer Park Stadium was packed with Reading Track League competitors, families and friends for the annual end of season presentations last week. Guest of honour Don McKellow – who finished 5th in the kilometre time trial at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki – presented the awards and entertained the audience with anecdotes from his time at the top of the sport.
McKellow noted the strength of the youngsters – not just the well attended Youth racing, dominated by riders from the ‘home’ club, Palmer Park Velo, but also in the Senior leagues, which were once again dominated by young, local riders.
In fact, it would be fair to say they were dominated by one young, local rider. Matt Gittings of AW Cycles – who was runner-up in the National Derny Paced Championship earlier in the year – picked up the overall A League title, the Derny Paced Championship as well as the Keirin and Sprint titles – and Team Pursuit and Team Sprint Golds. He could only manage Silver in the Central Division Individual Pursuit title – losing out to Nick English of Reading CC in a close final. Nick Abraham took the AW Cycles 20k Endurance Championship, while Sarra Boyd of Mildenhall CC was the Ladies Champion.
The League’s most prestigious trophy – the Outstanding Achievement Award, presented each year to the most improved rider – is beginning to develop a bit of a pattern. The 2008 award went to John Paul – at the time an Under 16 rider for Didcot Phoenix, but a product of the Palmer Park Velo school of track racing – who won the Senior B League. Aimed at Juniors (Under 18s), novices and Veterans, the B League is a big step up from Youth racing but Paul – who represented Scotland in this year’s Commonwealth Games – won it comfortably. 2009 saw Cam Swarbrick of Team Terminator – another PPV old boy and another Under 16 – take the B League title – and the award.
And so to 2010. Once again, the B League was dominated by an Under 16 rider. William Macke of Palmer Park Velo had the overall title wrapped up with about a month of the season left – and deservedly took the most improved rider award – as well as the B Keirin Championship.
In the Youth categories, Jason Pitt dominated the Under 16 Boys competition, with PPV team mate Daniel Lansley taking the Under 14 category by almost as big a margin. In fact, it was PPV all the way, with Abigail Dentus taking the Under 14 Girls title, Cameron Thompson the Under 12s, Callum Macleod the Under 10s and Euan Macleod the Under 8s.