A damp misty evening at Preston Park saw 70 riders signing on for the evenings racing, 26 for the senior events and 44 for the youth events.
The seniors got things under way with the combined A and B scratch race. A flurry of activity mid race saw Brock Duncumb-Rogers open a gap but he was soon chased down by the field. Then with 2 laps remaining it was youth rider Matthew Hill with a sizeable gap on the bunch which he managed to hold until the line for a fine win. Matthew was followed over the line by his teammate Jack Priddle who had also escaped the bunch on the final lap. The Under 16 and Under 14 scratch also saw a lone attack succeed as Callum Oliver attacked with a lap to go and managed to hold off the field, Under 16 leader Jake Deakin leading the bunch over the line in second place. The Youth E scratch saw Samuel Jacques continue his winning ways and in the Youth D it was a victory for Michael Wickens. In the Under 12 scratch Noah Ridgway-Brown took the win from Isaac Wright and Ben Tucker.
Promoter Vern McClelland decided on a change to the senior sprint having just two heats to try and save time, with the first three from each heat going forward to the final. Four riders from Team Terminator – Jack Hoyle, Mark Burgess, Paul Barnard and Stuart Bettis made it through to the final and they were joined by League leader Ashley Dennis and Richard Bailey. In the final surge for the line it was Jack Hoyle who managed to hold off Ashley Dennis for the win.
The Under 16 and Under 14 handicap was a classic with Jake Deakin managing to come from the back and overtake the whole field, just getting past Callum Oliver on the line. Samuel Jacques took the Under 8 handicap denying long marker George Abbott-Stacey the victory. Victory in the Under 10 handicap went to George Sloan and in the Under 12s Matthew Deacon made the most of his handicap to hold off the field.
The Under 16 and Under 14 Devil saw Connor Murphy take the win to keep up the pressure on Under 16 leader Jake Deakin who was eliminated before the final lap and failed to score any league points.
The B seniors Win and Out saw Mark Grigg make a huge effort to take the victory only to be passed by Steve Kane along the finishing straight. The Senior A Win and Out gave Jack Hoyle his second win of the evening.
The Under 8 sprint saw another win for Samuel Jacques and in the Under 10 Win and Out Michael Wickens took his second victory. As the Under 12 riders took the line for their Win and Out it had started to drizzle and at the end of the race which saw Noah Ridgway-Brown taking the win the decision was made to abandon the rest of the programme with the track becoming damp and the light failing.
One of the things missing from the track this year has been Gavin Smiths commentaries and for the first couple of weeks no one felt brave enough to fill the great man’s shoes. I’m glad to say that Anthony Rogers has put his racing on hold and stepped up to the mike and is already up to speed. The League has also seen a good response to calls for help with judging each week ranging from some of the youngsters from VC Jubilee to parents of the youth riders. The success of the league depends on volunteers and it’s great to have so many stepping up this year.
Next week sees the first of the League Championship evenings with the Scratch Race Championships, lets hope the weather is good.