04 Track - 2nd November

The fourth Track Racing session for 2016-17 attracted a good roll up of 22 riders. The evening was warm with a fresh breeze creating a headwind in the back straight. The wind did not moderate until late in the racing session.

The 8-lap A grade scratch race was largely a bunch sprint. The pace was solid and held the big pack together for the first five laps, with only two riders dropped. Michael Langdon put in a feeler attack on lap 6. He gained about 10 metres before Alex Millett and Martin Graham sensed the danger and closed him down. Martin stuck on the front with the overall pace up a notch, as the bell lap approached. The pack accelerated into the bell lap and held together at furious pace. The final sprint was very close with Steve Jones just pipping Paul Conner and Michael Langdon in that order.

The 8-Lap B grade scratch race looked to unfold as a bunch sprint. The pack consolidated approaching the bell lap with only a single rider dropped. However, Matt Morgan surprised the bunch by jumping early in the bell lap, soon gaining an unbeatable 30 metre gap. Matt held on to take a good win with Andrew Peel and Ross Scutts picking up the consolations in second and third respectively.

The next race was a 4-lap handicap. In A grade, Kerry Knowler set the pace from a good handicap. She went well out and, initially, looked a good prospect for the win. However, by the close of Lap 2, Craig Kentwell and Chris Thompson had caught Kerry, forming a lead group. On the bell lap, the anchor riders Alec Millett, Paul Connor, Michael Langdon and Steve Jones hauled in the leaders setting up a hotly contested sprint. Paul Connor took the sprint lead and held it to the line to just beat Michael Langdon and Steve Jones in second and third respectively.

In the 4-lap B Grade handicap, Alison Hale made the most of a good handicap by lapping at a solid pace. Only Steve Hirsler could overhaul her in the final lap. Andrew Peel could not quite make it and had to settle for third behind Alison.

A 6-lap Miss & Out race followed the handicap. In this race the first across the line, each lap, drops out. The winning order is the same as the sequence of drop out. In A grade, Steve Jones took the win followed, in sequence, by Paul Connor, Michael Langdon, Alec Millett and Kerry Knowler. To their credit, the final sprint was very closely contested by Kerry Knowler, Ben Robey and Chris Thompson. In B Grade, Steve Hirsler took the first sprint for the win followed, in sequence, by Andrew Peel, Phil Coulton, Ross Scutts and Phil Anderson.

The track session closed with the usual all-in, Italian pursuit. With 9 riders on each team, this was going to be an enjoyable and tough event that would stress the anchor riders. The teams were quite evenly matched. Team 2 likely made a tactical error in ordering their anchor riders. However, it is uncertain whether this was decisive. In the event, both Teams got off to a good start with Team 1 gaining a slight lead. Team 1 then increased their lead significantly, until around mid race when the situation began to reverse. As the anchor riders took over, it looked like Team 2 might be able to close the gap. However, the evening had taken its toll. Though Martin Graham, Paul Conner and Steve Jones put in their best, they could not manage the heroic effort needed, at that stage. Michael Langdon took a comfortable win for Team 1.

Major place getters were as follows:

8-Lap Scratch: (A Grade): Steve Jones, Paul Connor, Michael Langdon (B Grade) Matt Morgan, Andrew Peel, Ross Scutts.

4-Lap Handicap: (A Grade): Paul Connor, Michael Langdon, Steve Jones (B Grade) Steve Hirsler, Alison Hale, Andrew Peel.

6-Lap Miss & Out: (A Grade): Steve Jones, Paul Connor, Michael Langdon (B Grade) Steve Hirsler, Andrew Peel, Phil Coulton.

Combined Italian Pursuit: Winner Team 1 (Matt Morgan, Phil Anderson, Ross Scutts, Kerry Knowler, Rowan McMurray, John-Paul DeSousa, Alec Millett, Ben Robey, Michael Langdon).

Current Points Score Leaders: Michael Langdon (75), Steve Jones (73), Alec Millett (62), Ross Scutts (56), Steve Hirsler (50), Phil Anderson (49), Rowan McMurray (48), Ian Drayton (47), Andrew Peel (47).

Graeme O'Neill