05 Track - 9th November
The fifth Track Racing session for 2016-17 attracted another good roll up of 20 riders. The evening was unsettled with predicted rain. However, the cloud formation for the warm up and initial racing looked benign and suggested the full race program should be viable.
The 8-lap A grade scratch race unfolded in an unexpected manner. The pace was solid and held the pack together for the first five laps, with no riders dropped. Ben Robey tried an attack. However, it was quickly covered by Michael Langdon, causing Ben to lose interest. Next lap, Michael Langdon and Alec Millett put in an attack. When this was covered by Kerry Knowler, Michael lost interest leaving Alec and Kerry to carry on with their surge. As the bell lap approached, the bunch realised they had given Alec and Kerry a bit too much lead. Michael Langdon, Steve Jones and Paul Connor set about retrieving the situation. They managed to catch and pass Kerry. However, Alec held on for an enterprising and well deserved win. Steve Jones and Paul Connor took second and third places, respectively.
The 8-Lap B grade scratch race started at an easy pace. However, the pace lifted incrementally as the laps ticked by, until one rider was dropped. The remaining pack was together approaching the bell lap. The race transitioned to a classic bunch sprint from which Ian Drayton emerged victorious over Phil Anderson and Tony Beasley. It was a good return to form for Ian, after a week of ill health.
The next event was a 2-Lap time trial taken from a standing start at the railing. There was a little apprehension, as 2 laps provide the perfect distance for a real gut busting effort. The times were quite interesting with a bigger spread in A grade than we are used to. Paul Connor set the best time at 51.03 seconds, closely followed by Michael Langdon at 51.47 seconds. Alec Millett showed his good form by setting the third best A grade time at 52.64 seconds. In B grade, three riders went round in under 60 seconds. Steve Dean set a great winning time of 55.70 seconds. He was followed by Wayne Shippley in 58.40 seconds, then Ian Drayton in 59.95 seconds. It was good to see Wayne Shippley have success in his first outing with the track group.
By the start of the third race, the weather conditions were looking decidedly less promising. A decision was made to forego the scheduled Snowball events and proceed to the final, all in, Italian pursuit to finish the session. There were 8 riders on each team, so the prospects were good for the usual enjoyable and tough event. The unfolding race confirmed that the teams were quite evenly matched. Team 1 made a good start and picked up a useful lead. However, Team 2 was unfazed and steadily pegged back the small advantage. Kerry Knowler and Ben Robey, riding in the middle of Team 2, put in great laps to give Team 2 a handy lead. Andrew Peel, Paul Connor and Michael Langdon, who anchored Team 1, put in fine efforts. However, Steve Jones was able to take the win for team 2 by around 6 metres. This is not a large margin after 8 laps.
Racing concluded for the evening with all participants dry and happy. As the last rider closed the track gate, the heavens opened up and dumped a torrent onto the venue. Sometimes things just turn out as they should!
Major place getters were as follows:
8-Lap Scratch: (A Grade): Alec Millett, Steve Jones, Paul Connor (B Grade) Ian Drayton, Phil Anderson, Tony Beasley.
2-Lap SS Time Trial: (A Grade): Paul Connor (51.03s), Michael Langdon (51.47s), Alec Millett (52.64s) (B Grade) Steve Dean (55.70s), Wayne Shippley (58.40s), Ian Drayton (59.95s)
Combined Italian Pursuit: Winner Team 2 (Alison Hale, Ross Scutts, Ian Drayton, Kerry Knowler, Ed Garnett, Ben Robey, Alec Millett, Steve Jones).
Current Points Score Leaders: Michael Langdon (89), Steve Jones (89), Alec Millett (80), Ross Scutts (68), Ian Drayton (65), Phil Anderson (61), Andrew Peel (55), Kerry Knowler (52), Roger Wheatley (51).