Senior A Focus
We are now four weeks into the season and the Track League is still wide open with everything to play for. The competition between riders is most intense within Senior A as, of course, the overall League winner will be decided from these riders. The first event of the evening was a Scratch with A and B racing together. This resulted in a win for Jake White with B rider, Tom White second and Grace Lister (racing in Senior A for her first season) third. After a series of Match Sprints it was onto a Course de Primes event where Mahyar Abbott (also riding his first season in Senior A) took the first lap before falling back and allowing Jake White to take the lead and then distance himself from the rest of the field and take the maximum points for himself with second place going to Giulio Cervi and third to Jake’s sibling Zak White. In the other Course de Prime it was Will Farmer over the line first with Tom White second and Grace Lister third.
More skilful handicapping was in evidence for the final event of the evening with Brotherton Cycles riders Brian Handley and Karl Ward joining Tom White, Grace Lister and Simon Orme (Brereton Wheelers). The fast pace helped by Brian and Karl ensured that Tom and Grace couldn’t be caught by the rest of the riders and at the Intermediate Sprint it was Tom over the line first followed by Grace with Brian taking third. After the full 22 laps it was still Tom first and Grace second but Jake White managed third place.
Jake White currently leads Senior A Rankings with 96 points. Zak White is in second place with 65 points and Will Farmer is third with 51 points. It is, however, too early in the League to make any meaningful comment other than to say that we have an exciting season of racing ahead of us.
Clearly the fine weather had a dramatic effect on numbers and with all young riders as enthusiastic and determined as ever at the beginning of a Wheelers Track League. Some riders were competing in the League for their first time: James Shaw, Max Beaumont, Leo Postance, Vin Zangaro and brother and sister Ben and Annabelle Whitehouse. Anyone reading this report who would like to enter this year’s League it isn’t too late just talk to one of the coaches any Friday night.
The first race for Freewheelers B was a 50 metre Sprint with a win for Micah Johnson Hayward with Liam Spruce second, Leo Postance third and Annabelle Whitehouse fourth. The first Freewheelers A event was a 3 Lap Scratch. Ray Lovell took first in this race with Oliver Ward second, Niamh Fletcher third and James Shaw fourth. After two handicap races it was on to two Keirin events with senior Wheeler Seb Bacon acting as the derny. In the B event Niamh Fletcher quickly took the wheel with Oliver Ward and Ray Lovell closely behind her. As Seb turned off the track it was these three who hurtled towards the finishing line for the closest race of the night with Oliver Ward just nine hundredths of a second ahead of Niamh Fletcher and Ray Lovell third.
The final Freewheelers event produced even more excitement with all riders on the track split into two teams, one led by Oliver Ward and the other Ray Lovell, for an Italian Pursuit. It was clear that the Friday coaches had done a very good job training the riders as each knew exactly what to do with each doing half a lap except for Ray who had to do one full lap. Leo Postance led out Oliver’s team with Annabelle Whitehouse leading Ray’s team. As Leo and Annabelle peeled off it was Liam Spruce and Micah Johnson’s turn on the front with tension building all the time to see which team would get over their finishing line first. Then followed Vin Zangaro against James Shaw and then Max Beaumont against Ben Whitehouse. On the final lap Niamh Fletcher and Oliver took on Ray with the final half just between Oliver and Ray but it was Oliver over the line first. An excellent night of racing and if tonight’s performance is anything to go by an exciting Freewheelers League is ahead of us.
Wolverhampton Wheelers Track League Wednesday 1st May 2019
This was the first night of our track for 2019 and, as usual, anticipations were running high. Some of the riders who competed in previous years have moved on and others have returned with increased levels of both competitiveness and racing maturity. Last year’s vet trophy winner Simon Orme returns and is accompanied by fellow Brereton Wheeler Gina Willis. Gina is riding her first Wheelers League as is Mark McCann of Breakfast Club Velo. Tony Deleon makes his return to the League after an absence of a few years.
The first event of the evening was a 12 Lap Scratch with Senior A and B competing together. This produced a close finish with Zak White just ahead of his brother Jake with Will Farmer taking third. Tom White was fourth over the line and the first B rider. The Senior B Elimination saw a win for Elodie Gage with Tom White second and Tony Deleon third. Jake White took the Senior A Elimination with Giulio Cervi second and Mark McCann third. Tom White made sure of a victory in the Senior B Unknown Distance by making his break early in the race with no one able to catch him. The Senior A event was won by Zak White and the following Marymoor Crawl events provided the crowd with their usual share of amusement. Senior B rider Tom White showed considerable grit and determination in the final event of the evening; the 22 lap Handicap. The A riders were unable to catch him at the Intermediate sprint but he then went on to keep his lead and win the whole event!
In previous years one rider has quickly dominated the League with other riders being unable to challenge his position. After tonight’s racing all the indications are that this will not be the case this year with a number of riders being capable of taking that crown. This means a more interesting and entertaining League for us all.
This years event saw 17 riders take to the start covering a very wide rage of ages and abilities.
First to go were the Youth riders covering ages from under 10 to under 16, some of the smaller ones enlisting the help of a front wheel support.
One thing that they all had in common was determination! After the first round (a flying start 250M TT) less than 2 seconds covered the first three; Ben Lucas, Elodie Gage & Will Farmer.
Not far back was George Dunn, followed by Niamh Fletcher, Vincenzo, Kian Wiggan, Olly Ward, Ray Lovell and Nyla Fletcher.
It was the longer and so much harder second round over 500M from a standing start that really made the difference....
Seeded in pairs according to their first round times these 'Head to Head' races are always tough and often very close!
Ninth spot went to Nyla (Niamhs' younger sister) over Kian Wiggan reversing their positions from the opening round.
Seventh overall went to Olly Ward by 1.78 seconds, after a very close battle with Ray Lovell.
Fifth place went to Niamh Fletcher over young Vincenzo who as an under 10 comfortably won his age category.
Third spot was secured by Ben Lucas by virtue of his faster first round time and after near identical 500m times.
The top seed, Will pulled away in the closing stages to take the overall title from Elodie by just over 1 second! Well done Will.
The Seniors, Juniors and Veterans race saw all three categories represented covering a near 50 year age spread.
The opening round of a 500M flying start no less than four riders within a single second of each other,
Zak White led the standings with 20.22s followed by Seb Bacon the defending Champion, Steve White (a former winner) and new comer Mahyar Abbott.
A little further back were Giulio Cervi, Robin Kyte (multiple past Champion) and Junior Alex Hall.
As with the Youth riders it was the longer distance of 1 kilometer that made the difference!
Alex Hall unfortunately having to ride solo due to the odd numbers.
Giulio Cervi was just over a second faster than Robin Kyte who was over 10 seconds off his best and having a bad day! - maybe for the last time in this competition.
3rd place went to veteran Steve White over Mahyar Abbott. Steve clocking a personal best time.
The Final was a close run thing with Seb & Zak staying close until the final half lap when Seb stormed home to record a splendid 44.49s worthy of anything set by past Champions.
However with less than a second between then it was very close indeed, here's to next years contest!
This years Down Hill or 'Freewheel' contest attracted a good turnout with two groups leaving Aldersley in cool but sunny conditions to meet up again at the start at the top of Lilyhurst Lane near Sherrifhales. It was also good to see Terry Jones there in his van as he was on call working in the area and not able to participate himself.
Of some 25 riders at least 16 took to the start line with their left hand crank duly strapped to their chainstay.... and launched down the hill past the golf club - Fore!
Early markers were Jeremy Guy, Matt Morris (winner in 2013), Jason College, Phil Thomas & Mark Spruce who was the early leader....
Further attempts by Phil Metcalf, Ollie Baker, Colin Finch, Paul Hammond, Doug Jones, Mark Primmer, Ian Horton and Alex Berg were all surpassed by a flying Richard Sadlier - winner in 2016!
With only two more riders to go Richard looked to be on course for a second victory....
Dave Hill, who very aptly and kindly donated the annual trophy for this event was not able to surpass Richard;'s mark and still has yet to win his own award!
Last man off and defending 'Champion' Robin Kyte, enjoyed a clean run and managed to go past Richard's mark by some 3 lengths to win for a record tenth time!
The 'Post Mortem' was held in the cafe at the Lilleshall sports centre not far from the finish before returning to Wolverhampton via Church Eaton, Wheaton Aston & Brewood.
Since the D. Hill trophy was first awarded in 1991 there have been ten different winners of all ages and abilities - from teenagers to pensioners!
The first recipient was Ray Farnworth who went on to win five times over the next eight years, a feat equalled by Roy Stevens.
So next year come and have a go it is the easiest form of cycle racing - the exact opposite of the Hill Climb Champs!