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!
This years Hill Climb Champs was run off in torrential rain that persisted throughout the day.
Many riders took the option of getting to the start by car but there were still a few hardy souls who rode out to the event including Steve White and Matt Morris!
The adverse weather obviously put a dampener on most riders ambitions with a much reduced field taking to the start line.
Just 10 riders, six from Newport C. C., three Wheelers and one Mid Shropshire Wheeler. The notable absentees were the Clarion Clubs who, in recent years, have had their annual meeting in Ironbridge on the same weekend.
The hot tea and coffee laid on by Jim & Jane Morrison of Darcy's restaurant was welcomed equally by competitors, officials and spectators on this cold and very wet morning - all proceeds going to charity.
So it was that each rider had to battle not just the incline but wind, rain and slippery leaves as well, consequently most folks times were slightly longer that previous years.
However, Alex Berg of the Wheelers was a notable exception going 4 seconds faster than last year to clock 4 minutes 11 seconds with Steve White not far behind with 4 minutes 29 seconds.
But it was Matt Morris who yet again proved to be the fastest Wheeler and for the 5th consecutive year!
Matts' time was 3 minutes 46 seconds, just 8 seconds slower than last year.
Matt & Steve rode home only for Steve to puncture at the bottom of Coalport bank, and we all know what a joy it is to mend a puncture in the rain!
But Steve wasn't finished getting wet.... his daughter was celebrating her birthday with a pool party in the afternoon!!!!
You can easily recognise Steve White he is the guy with gills and fins, able to hold his breath for 4 min 29 seconds!
Well done to all three riders and many thanks to the Newport C. C. for putting the event on.
Tonight marks the end of a whole summer of track racing at Aldersley stadium. The Wolverhampton Wheelers Track League remains one of the premier venues for track racing in the Midlands and, as in previous seasons, has seen its fair share of both drama and excitement.
Racing started with a 3 Lap Dash first for Senior B and then Senior A. The B event saw a blistering performance from Simon Orme (Brereton Wheelers) as he made his move on the last lap with the rest of the field unable to catch him. This secures a second place for Simon in the Sprinters League. He is also the best performing Vet rider. Grace Lister took second place with Zak White third. The A event saw a win for Matty Lewis with Giulio Cervi just ahead of Jake White on the line. In the 12 Lap Scratch Paul Smith briefly took the lead but at the end of the race it was the familiar pattern of Matty Lewis first, Jake White second and Grace Lister third. An extended start for the Mary Moore Crawl ensured that many key riders were out before the sprint began so it was another win for Matty Lewis with Jake White second and Seb Bacon third.
Track League organiser Mark Lewis piloted the derny for a series of three Keirin races. The A race went to Matty Lewis with Jake White second and Seb Bacon just one thousandth of a second ahead of Giulio Cervi. The B riders were split into two races the first won by Mahyar Abbott with Zak White second and Grace Lister third. The second race was taken by Will Perry with Will Farmer second and Tom White third. The 22 Lap Handicap saw the A riders catch up with the B’s with fifteen laps to go but this didn’t deter anyone making their mark including Jacob Gilkes (Lichfield City Cycling Club) and Tom White both under 14 riders working together and leading out the field, but it was A rider Giulio Cervi who made his decisive move to take the Intermediate Sprint with Zak White second and Jake White third. There was no doubt who would take the final win and following Matty Lewis was Jake White, Zak White, Oliver Baker and Grace Lister.
Grace Lister takes first place in the Senior B category with 323 points. This is Grace’s second consecutive win yet she is still only an under 14 rider. Zak White takes second place with 228 points in his first year of racing the League. Third place goes to Oliver Baker with 214 points and fourth place goes to Simon Orme with 180 points. Tom White has made good progress in his first year under 14 having ‘ridden up’ last year. He takes fifth place with 179 points. Mahyar Abbott has also made good progress having only been a Wheeler for one year and having little cycling experience before that. He takes sixth pace with 135 points. Will Farmer lies in seventh place with 119 points and Will Perry takes eighth place with 98 points. Amelia Southall takes ninth place with 91 points and Elodie Gage takes tenth place with 67 points. Under 14 riders Alex Ward, Jacob Gilkes and George Dunne take eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth places respectively. Lucy Hart (Mid Shropshire Wheelers) takes fourteenth place with Sophie White (Team Empella Cyclo-Cross.Com) fifteenth and Paul Smith sixteenth. Andy Collins (Mid Shropshire Wheelers) and Adrian Ravenscroft (Beacon RCC) share seventeenth place.
Matty Lewis has dominated the League this season and takes his third consecutive win in Senior A and is thus the overall Track League winner. His 408 points represent a substantial lead over his rivals. Jake White comes in second place with 302 points. This is Jake’s second full season racing in the League and during that time has made substantial progress. Giulio Cervi has also made significant progress especially as this is his first year in the League. He comes third with 227 points. Seb Bacon takes a very creditable fourth place with 212 points. The only other rider coming anywhere close to these four riders is Charlie Fisher (Newport Shropshire CC) with 124 points who remains a popular rider whenever he appears in the League. The Wheelers are grateful to the following riders who for various reasons were unable to complete the League: Karl Ward, Ethan Roberts (Brotherton Cycles), Gabriella Homer (Cycle Team OnForm), Paul Wright (Brotherton Cycles), Hayden Norris (Lichfield City CC), Callum Lister (Cotswold Velorijden) and George Beck (Bikestrong KTM) for their participation.
Finally two new categories have been introduced this year: the Sprinters League and the Endurance League. First place in the Sprinters League goes to Matty Lewis with Simon Orme second and Zak White third. The Endurance League winner is also Matty Lewis with Jake White second and Grace Lister third.
First race of the evening was the Keirin with Senior A rider Giulio Cervi ‘volunteering’ to be the derny. As Giulio set the pace for the B riders it was Oliver Ward who took his wheel followed by Liam Spruce. Oliver won the sprint closely followed by Niamh Fletcher. Both these riders completed the Wolverhampton Marathon 20k bike ride last weekend; Niamh with her dad Ryan and Oliver with both his parents Sally and Lee. The points difference between these two riders is very close and we will have to wait until the League finishes next week to see who wins the B Rankings. Liam Spruce was third in the B Keirin. Ray Lovell took the wheel first in the A event but it was Ethan Steinke who won the sprint with Ray second and Henry Lewis third.
The B Dash started slowly with all riders watching each other and trying to work out who would go first then Oliver Ward made his move with Niamh Fletcher once again in hot pursuit. Oliver took the win with Niamh second. Liam Spruce took third place with a very determined Micah Johnson in fourth. The A riders seemed even less willing to make their move but it was Ethan Steinke who was first to go with the others unable to catch him. Ray Lovell was second with Henry Lewis third.
The final two events were Handicap races which, due to the handicapping skills of the coaches, produced some interesting results. The B race ran over two laps and saw Micah Johnson setting off first. He held on to his position valiantly but could not avoid being passed first by Oliver Ward and then Niamh Fletcher with just half a lap to go. However he did manage to hold on to third place with Nyla Fletcher fourth, Kian Wiggan fifth and Liam Spruce sixth. The A race ran over three laps with Henry Lewis setting off first, then Ray Lovell and finally Ethan Steinke and this was exactly the order at the end of the race. Ethan has a clear points lead in the A Rankings but this didn’t stop either Henry or Ray still delivering the best race they possibly could.
Just two weeks more meetings after tonight before the end of this season’s Track League and the racing remains as competitive as ever. The first event was a 12 Lap Scratch with A and B racing together. Despite considerable efforts by Hayden Norris (Lichfield City Cycling Club) it was Matty Lewis over the line first just ahead of Jake White with Hayden having to settle for third. First B rider over the line was Zak White with Grace Lister second and Mahyar Abbott third.
A series of individual Standing Laps saw Hayden Norris make the fastest time of 32.71 seconds, Matty Lewis second with 34.47 seconds and Jake White third with 34.75 seconds. Fastest B rider was Mahyar Abbott with 35.14 seconds, second Zak White with 35.32 seconds and Grace Lister was third with 38.01 seconds.
The B Points event saw Mahyar Abbott taking the first two sprints before easing off towards the end of the race. There were also some good efforts from Paul Smith. Paul has only recently joined the Wheelers and this was his first time racing in the League. At the end of the race it was Zak White over the line first followed by Tom White and Grace Lister. Another Lichfield rider, Jacob Gilkes took a well deserved fourth place. The A event resulted in a win for Matty Lewis with Jake White second and Giulio Cervi third.
The next event was a series of Match Sprints, three riders per sprint with positions seeded from the Standing Lap. The race featuring the three fastest riders saw Hayden Norris taking the win with Jake White second and Matty Lewis third. A full list of the other sprints can be found in the results. And then it was on to the final event of the evening; the 22 Lap Handicap. The B riders set off strongly but despite this they were caught two laps before the Intermediate Sprint. Hayden Norris took this but B riders Zak White and Mahyar Abbott still managed second and third places respectively. With six laps to go the strong trio of Matty Lewis, Seb Bacon and Giulio Cervi took over the race and with two laps to go Matty Lewis pulled away from the whole field to take the final win.
In the two weeks remaining of the League it is difficult to see how the leading riders in the two categories can be beaten: Grace Lister leads Senior B with a margin of more than 100 points and Matty Lewis has almost 60 points more than his nearest rival. However the differences between the other riders is far closer and there is still everything to play for. Watch this space!
First race up tonight was an Elimination event with all Senior riders racing together. First A rider over the line at the end of the race was Matty Lewis followed by Jake White and then Giulio Cervi. Grace Lister took the first B rider place with Zak White second and Oliver Baker third.
Riders separated for the next two sets of races: 3 Lap Dash and Points. In the B Dash Mahyar Abbott made his move too soon on the last lap and was overhauled by the field with Zak White taking the win just ahead of Grace Lister and Simon Orme (Brereton Wheelers). The A event provided more excitement for the crowd with Lichfield City Cycling Club rider Hayden Norris taking the win just ahead of Matty Lewis with Seb Bacon third. The B Points race saw Oliver Baker and Grace Lister well ahead of the rest of the field carving up the maximum points together with Grace over the line first at the end of the race and Oliver second. Matty Lewis eventually took over the A Points race and it was Seb Bacon second over the line and Giulio Cervi third at the end of the race.
What proved to be the final event of the evening was the Marymoor Crawl and here Matty Lewis once again illustrated both his skill and strength; waiting on the line for the whistle and then he was off. There was a challenge, however, in the form of Simon Orme who took a well deserved second place just 0.03 seconds behind Matty with Zak White third. Just as the race was ending the expected rain came down cheating the riders and the crowd of the traditional Handicap race which usually concludes the evening. However this was the only race lost to the weather this season so not too bad an outcome after all!
Numbers were slightly down tonight probably because we are still in the main holiday period, but never the less those racing displayed just the same grit and determination as ever. Racing started with an Unknown Distance race resulting in a win for Jake White with sibling Zak White being the first B rider over the line.
The Flying 200 produced some interesting results which were certainly augmented by the accuracy of our electronic timing system. This time Zak White was fastest with 30.703 seconds yet only 1.065 seconds separated the top five riders with Brereton Wheelers rider Simon Orme taking third place with 31.483 seconds. These results were used to seed another event later in the evening; the Match Sprint.
After an Elimination race it was onto the Match Sprint with Jake White, Simon Orme and Paul Wright racing first. This resulted in a very close ending finish with Simon over the line first ahead of Paul by a mere one hundredth of a second. More excitement followed with Giulio Cervi, Grace Lister and Mahyar Abbott all starting slowly and watching each other intently but then Mahyar made a surprise break and couldn’t be caught. The final Match Sprint saw a win for Oliver Baker with Tom White second and George Dunne third.
There was another win for Mahyar Abbott in the Marymoor Crawl and then it was all down to the final event of the evening, the 22 Lap Handicap. Simon Orme led out the B group and it’s clear to see how these riders have improved over the season all working well with each other to hold off the A group. There were only three A riders in this final event and when Paul Wright had to pull out with a mechanical problem it left just Jake White and Giulio Cervi to share the work between them. They managed to catch the B group a lap before the Intermediate Sprint but Grace Lister and Tom White not going to give in claiming first and second place respectively. Jake White had to settle for third place. Needless to say Jake was first over the line at the end of the race with Grace taking another second and Oliver Baker third.