Despite a clear blue sky conditions were decidedly chilly for the 4th weeks racing at Preston Park. The conditions didn’t seem to affect numbers though with 80 signing on, 35 for the senior events and 45 for the youth. Amongst those riding was Felix English last year’s League champion and the man who managed to surprise Chris Hoy in the first round of the European Championships.
In the senior events the opening scratch race run over 8 laps saw a steady opening couple of laps. With 4 laps to go an injection of pace by Mark Grigg (Cult Racing) saw the bunch lined out but everything was back together with 2 laps to go as the pace dropped. With 300 metres to go Felix English (SIS) could be seen halfway down the bunch launching his finishing effort and on the line it was Felix taking a narrow victory from Ashley Dennis (VC Jubilee) and Paul Barnard (Team Terminator).
After 6 sprint heats the line-up for the final comprised Felix English, Lee Povey (Team Terminator), Ashley Dennis, Mark Burgess (Team Terminator), Brock Duncumb-Rogers (Progressive Cycle Coaching) and Mark Grigg. Brock Duncumb-Rogers took a flyer just after the start forcing Lee Povey to chase and get on terms. With 200 metres to go Lee was fully committed as he hit the front. Coming into the finishing straight Lee was still clear but being chased hard by Felix English, and at the line the positions had been reversed as Felix took the win from Lee with Mark Burgess securing third spot.
Next up was the B category devil and here eliminations were made until there were six riders left to contest the final lap. First over the line was Mark Grigg taking his first victory in the battle for the B category league title followed by John Aston (Unattached) and Mark Turner (SIS). The best of the ladies in the race was youth rider Laura Cheesman (Preston Park Youth) who had won the British Schools Under 16 title the previous weekend. Laura managed to survive in the race until the penultimate elimination, taking eighth place.
Following the B’s it was the turn of the A category riders and a points race. With light beginning to fade and a few more races to try and fit in the race was cut to only eight laps with points every two laps. With Felix English sitting this one out it was the chance for another A category rider. The first sprint was taken by Ashley Dennis from Stewart Bettis (Team Terminator) with Jack Hoyle (Team Terminator ) third and Nick Smith (VC Jubilee) fourth. Ashley then took the second sprint from Brock Duncumb-Rogers, Oliver Pepper (Kinesis Morvélo Project) and Paul Barnard. Brock took the third sprint from Nick Smith, Andy Edwards (Brighton Mitre) and Paul Barnard with Ashley failing to score. So coming into the final lap the battle for the win would be between Ashley and Brock. The final sprint was taken by Lee Povey with Ashley taking second place and the race victory and Brock taking third on the line to finish second overall. The final lap win for Lee propelled him into third place overall.
With daylight almost gone the two dash races for the seniors were shelved and the final distance race was cut to three laps. Run off at a brisk pace it saw Felix English take his third victory of the night, second was Lee Povey and third was Ashley Dennis. Ashley now has a 21 point lead in the overall standings for the A seniors with Felix English slotting into seventh place with his evenings tally of 19 points.
In the combined Under 14 and Under 16 events the opening 4 lap scratch race saw Amy Smith (VC Jubilee) lead a stretched out bunch over the line at the end of the first lap but the race stayed together until the final lap and coming into the finish it was Jake Deakin (Preston Park Youth CC) with a comfortable lead taking the victory from Gabriel Parle (Preston Park Youth CC) and Oliver Moors (VC Jubilee). In the 1 lap handicap saw Spencer Thomas (Preston Park Youth CC) take back 55 metres from long marker Celia Jenkins (Preston Park Youth) to win the event but it was Jake Deakin from scratch who stormed past everyone except Spencer to take second place, with Connor Murphey (VC Jubilee) also overcoming a large handicap taking third place. The Under 14 and Under 16 devil saw some close eliminations before it was down to the final six riders contesting the finishing sprint where Spencer Thomas came over first from Jake Deakin and Connor Murphey (VC Jubilee). However a review by the commissaires saw Jake Deakin relegated moving Connor Murphey up to second with Gabriel Parle third. The final event was a 3 lap dash and this saw Jake Deakin back to winning ways as he beat Connor Murphey and Spencer Thomas.
The Under 12 opener over 2 laps saw a 1,2,3 for Preston Park Youth CC riders with Noah Ridgway-Brown winning by a big margin from Isaac Wright with Ben Tucker in third. In the handicap it was long marker Matthew Deacon (Preston Park Youth CC) taking the win with Noah Ridgway-Brown second and Nicholas Wickens (Preston Park Youth CC) third. The final scratch race for Under 12 riders saw a repeat of the first race with Noah Ridgway-Brown winning from Isaac Wright and Ben Tucker.
The Under 10 1 lap scratch saw another 1,2,3 for Preston Park Youth CC with Bradley Burke winning from Michael Wickens and Evelyn Parle. The handicap was won by Michael Wickens from Christian Bright (Redhill Raiders) and George Sloan (VC Jubilee). The final event for the youth D saw another win for Bradley Burke from Michael Wickens and Christian Bright.
The Under 8 opener went to Samuel Jaques (Preston Park Youth CC) from Rory Burke (Preston Park Youth CC) and Archie Sloan (VC Jubilee). The handicap saw Samuel Jacques take the win ahead of Archie Sloan and Rory Burke. In the 200 metre sprint Samuel Jacques took his second victory with Archie Sloan second and Rory Burke third.