Our usual correspondent was unavailable this week so this report will be a) brief and b) lacking it's usual focus.
The rain held off although the clouds were dark enough at one point that the lights had to be switched on, almost immediately prompting the sun to come out. The evening started off as usual with some spirited racing from the Freewheelers although, as it's so fast and furious, by the time the computer's set up to do its thing, I've missed most of the detail so you'll have to use your imagination (or memory) alongside the results.
The Senior racing saw the welcome return of Jacob Gilkes (Lichfield City CC), a youth rider with a strong family background of racing. He put in some very strong rides, challenging Tom White closely until an unfortunate delamination of the sole of his shoe led to an early retirement, depriving us of the opportunity to see how he would measure up to Tom in the final handicap race of the evening.
The highlight of the evening was an Italian pursuit with two teams of mixed A and B riders going head to head. The lead swapped between the teams throughout the race with neither able to open up a decisive gap. In the final lap, Mark McCann of BC Velo, having opened the race for his team in the first lap, pulled back a deficit of a bike-length to just defeat Giulio Cervi (WWCC) by a couple of metres and give the home straight team victory.
Joe Guy Memorial Evening
Tonight’s racing was to celebrate the life of Joe Guy a rising star of the Wheelers whose life was tragically cut short in a road accident. Many of the Wheelers racing tonight were contemporaries of Joe including Seb Bacon who came back from uni especially for the night. Paul Wright brought a large group from Brotherton Cycles along with George Mills Keeling formerly a Wheeler and now riding for Cycle Club Bridgnorth. Jack Hibberd of Bromsgrove Olympique CC, twice winner of the League in previous years, was also in attendance to spice up the racing.
Senior B started the racing with a 10 lap Scratch. After five laps Tom White took the lead and no one was able to pull him back. Despite great efforts by Will Farmer and Elodie Gage Tom took the win closely followed by Will Farmer and Craig Whittle (Fred’s Race Team) just ahead of Simon Orme (Brereton Wheelers). The 12 lap Senior A Scratch went to George Mills Keeling with Mark McCann (BC Velo) second and Jake White third. Will Farmer took the fastest Time Trial in Senior B with Jack Hibberd second and Craig Whittle third. Mark McCann was the fastest Senior A rider with George Mills Keeling second and Jake White third.
The Match Sprint events produced some interesting results with Elodie Gage winning against Tom White, Mahyar Abbott winning against Jake White and Mark McCann winning against George Mills Keeling (although George had pedal trouble). The closest Match was between Paul Wright and Brian Handley with Paul triumphing over Brian by just four thousandths of a second. This was not, however, the closest event of the evening when in the Freewheelers Scratch Oliver Ward and Ray Lovell recorded a dead heat. This was the first time this has happened since Simon Fielding started the timing solutions, a clear confirmation of the efficiency and accuracy of the equipment and software.
Joe Guy had an aspiration to complete a ten mile time trial in under 21 minutes and so the final race of the evening was a 21 Lap handicap. To add more drama to the race Brian Handley performed more super quick maintenance on his bike while the rest of the riders waited patiently. Then the first group were off with Craig Whittle, Will Farmer and Tom White all working together nicely to maintain their handicap advantage. The main group were now in hot pursuit and at eleven laps to go Will and Tom were still in the lead but with eight laps left George Mills Keeling and Mark McCann bridged the gap and overtook them. Then with six laps left George made his move to gain a clear lead over the rest of the field and win by a significant margin. Mark McCann took second place with Karl Ward third, Tom White fourth, Brian Handley fifth and Giulio Cervi sixth. So George won the race and thus the Joe Guy Memorial Trophy. Joe’s parents Steve and Ange and his brother Craig were on hand to make the presentation.
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.