13 Track – 25th January

The attendance for Session 13 of the track racing season was again below par, possibly because of the proximity to Australia Day. On this occasion, B grade numbers held up reasonably well. The weather was fine for racing. The day was mostly cloudy. However, the cloud cleared and the evening warmed considerably as the warm up session progressed. As usual, the breeze was initially stiff and moderated over the session.

With low numbers, the 10-lap A grade scratch race was not expected to host many attacks. However, Kerry Knowler livened things up on lap 8. The pack quickly accelerated to take Kerry’s wheel and nullify the attack. Steve Jones and Alec Millet bided their time, then hauled around Kerry on the final lap, to set up an exciting sprint. Steve and Alec rocketed over the line in lockstep, for the first dead heat of the season. Kerry Knowler took second place followed by Ed Garnett in third.

The 10-Lap B grade scratch race was interesting and exhausting. Graeme O’Neill led out at modest pace. Dougal Torrance attacked on the first lap and quickly established a 15 metre gap. This had the whole pack scrambling to keep up. The torrid pace held for the next 5 laps until Dougal was finally hauled in. There was a short respite, before the pack was again accelerating over the final laps. Steve Hirsler rode well to take the sprint win from Phil Anderson and Tony Beasley in second and third respectively.

The evening’s second event was a 1-lap standing start time trial. This is a great test of acceleration and all out speed. Alec Millett impressed with the only time under 28 seconds. Hard to believe Alec started in B grade last year. He has improved enormously and is now one of the fastest (if not fastest) in A grade. Ed Garnett put in a good time of 28.51s to take second spot in A grade. All the A grade times were within a spread of 1.5 seconds. In B grade, Steve Hirsler put in a great time just below 30 seconds. The next four riders in B grade were within a 1.8 second spread. Dougal Torrance took second with a time below 31 seconds.

The evening’s third event was a 2-Lap handicap. With the modest numbers, this race was all-in for A and B grade, providing some interesting racing. In previous handicap events, Graeme O’Neill had always been run down from a good handicap. Not this time! Graeme suffered through the two laps. He held on by a few metres to take a rare win from a fast closing Tony Beasley and Alec Millett. Alec was the stand out performer from A grade, confirming his current great form.

As usual, the final event was an all-in Italian Pursuit. This was one of the best of the recent pursuits, with Team 1 and Team 2 circulating in lockstep until the anchor riders Steve Jones and Alec Millet took the final lap. Alec is in great form and Steve was slightly balked by riders circulating on the duck board. The nett result was that Alec pulled off a great win for Team 1. A lesson learned is that riders will need to finish their turn at the fence for future pursuits.

Major place getters were as follows:

10-Lap Scratch: (A Grade): Steve Jones & Alec Millett (dead heat), Kerry Knowler, Ed Garnett (B Grade) Steve Hirsler, Phil Anderson, Tony Beasley. 1 Lap SS Time Trial: (A Grade): Alec Millett (27.93s), Ed Garnett (28.51s), Steve Jones (28.76s) (B Grade) Steve Hirsler (29.50s), Dougal Torrance (30.76s), Phil Anderson (31.49s)

2-Lap Handicap: (Combined A & B Grade): Graeme O’Neill, Tony Beasley, Alec Millett.

Combined Italian Pursuit: Winner Team 1 (Alec Millett, Kerry Knowler, Tony Beasley, Steve Hirsler, Graeme O’Neill).

Current Points Score Leaders: Alec Millett (220), Phil Anderson (215), Michael Langdon (209), Steve Jones (201), Ross Scutts (199), Tony Beasley (163), Steve Hirsler (154), Kerry Knowler (139).

Graeme O'Neill