03 Track – 26th October
A warm evening and twenty track riders made for an excellent third Track Racing session for the 2016-17 season. Initially the wind looked a problem with a very stiff headwind in the back straight. As usual, the wind moderated as racing progressed.
The 8-lap A grade scratch race was enlivened by an attack from Kerry Knowler on lap 3. Kerry gained a considerable lead before Alec Millett finally burst from the pack to take up a chase. Alec is in good form and caught Kerry by Lap 5. Unfortunately, with both riders well positioned, Kerry began to flag, leaving Alec exposed over the final laps. Michael Langdon and Steve Jones accelerated over these laps and comfortably reeled in Alec. Michael had the legs to take the win by around 2 metres. Steve took second and Alec held on for a well deserved third place.
The B Grade scratch race started easy. However, the pace quickened by lap 4 and was quite solid over the final two laps. The final sprint was hotly contested, with Roger Wheatley taking a narrow victory over Ian Drayton and Andrew Peel in second and third place, respectively.
The evening’s second event was a 20-lap points race. This is a very tough event with three intermediate sprints and one final sprint for accumulating points. To make things interesting, the stronger sprinters in each grade conceded a half lap start to the other riders. In A grade, Rowan McMurray and Chris Thompson competed for the first sprint. Rowan took a narrow victory and, sensing a tactical advantage, held his pace to open up a very significant lead on the two pursuing bunches. Both bunches kept up a solid pursuit and began to fracture under the relentless pace. Rowan took the second and third sprints and seemed likely to hold off the limit bunch to the end. A gutsy final effort from Steve Jones eventually reeled in Rowan and allowed Steve to use his superior sprinting prowess to take the final sprint. By then, Rowan was unbeatable on points. The event ended with Rowan and Steve taking the first and second places with 24 and 14 points respectively. Michael Langdon, Craig Kentwell and Ben Robey took equal third with 12 points.
The B grade points race virtually followed the script set by A grade. In this instance, it was relative newcomer, Tony Beasley, who took the initiative. Tony was second to Steve Hirsler in the first sprint. However, he held his pace to establish a significant lead over the two pursuing bunches. Tony looked strong throughout the event and comfortably held his lead to take the next two intermediate sprints. Over the final five laps, a pursuing bunch with Andrew Peel, Ross Scutts, Ian Drayton and Phil Anderson managed to reel in Tony. Andrew Peel took the final sprint closely followed by Steve Hirsler. Tony still had sufficient energy for third place in the final sprint. The final points wash up was Tony Beasley (22 points) first place, Ross Scutts (18 points) second place. Again, three riders (Steve Hirsler, Phil Anderson and Andrew Peel) took equal third with 12 points.
The track session closed with the usual all-in, Italian pursuit. With 10 riders on each team, this was going to be an enjoyable, competitive and tough event, especially for the limit riders. Team 1 made a good start with Graeme O’Neill and Phil Coulton leading out. From this point, first one then the other team made marginal gains. However, Team 1 held a lead throughout the race. By the time Team 2 was down to their last two riders, the situation seemed hopeless. Alec Millett put in all the effort he had left after a hard night and Steve Jones did likewise. However, the pace held from mid race by Rowan McMurray, John-Paul DeSousa, Craig Kentwell, Chris Thompson and Michael Langdon left no room for an upset. Team 1 took a comfortable win by around 8 metres.
Major place getters were as follows:
8-Lap Scratch: (A Grade): Michael Langdon, Steve Jones, Alec Millett (B Grade) Roger Wheatley, Ian Drayton, Andrew Peel.
20 Lap Points Race: (A Grade): Rowan Mc Murray (24), Steve Jones (14), Michael Langdon (12) (B Grade) Tony Beasley (22), Ross Scutts (18), Steve Hirsler, Phil Anderson and Andrew Peel (12 each).
Combined Italian Pursuit: Winner Team 1 (Graeme O’Neill, Phil Coulton, Roger Wheatley, Tony Beasley, Andrew Peel, Rowan McMurray, John-Paul DeSousa, Craig Kentwell, Chris Thompson, Michael Langdon).
Current Points Score Leaders: Michael Langdon (55), Steve Jones (52), Ian Drayton (47), Roger Wheatley (46), Alec Millett (46), Ross Scutts (40), Rowan McMurray (38). Phil Anderson (35).