A bumper field of 24 male and 10 female riders gathered at Welwyn's Gosling Stadium for the National Derny Championships - which was interspersed with a round of the National Sprinters League. Four riders from each of three heats would make it to the Men's Final, with a straight Final for the Women.
Miles Stovold (scienceinsport.com) was fastest in 200m Sprint qualifying
First up, though, were the sprinters and it was Eddie Bird of PCA Ciclos Uno who kicked off the 200m qualifying session, setting a benchmark time of 12.27 seconds. A handful of riders went under 12 seconds, though Miles Annon (Team Terminator) just scraped in with an 11.96, with Steve Pulford (Bush Healthcare) and Barney Swinnerton (scienceinsport.com) just a fraction apart at 11.79 and 11.8 respectively. Second fastest was Lee Povey (Team Terminator) on 11.59, but clear leader was Miles Stovold (scienceinsport.com) who just missed out on breaking the 11 second barrier, clocking 11.09.
Last year's runner-up Matt Gittings (AW Cycles) - who flies to the US on Monday to start a cycling scholarship at Marian University in Indianapolis - was the first of the favourites to take to the track, with Alex Wise (Agiskoviner) and James Notley (Planet X) also strongly fancied to be in the four that made it through the final.
Iain Young (Scunthope Poly), Jack Hibberd (Halesowen A&CC) and Robert Cox (Cambridge CC) were quickly distanced by a train headed by Wise, Notley, Jordan Hargreaves (Teamwallis CHH RT), David Martin (thebicycleworks.com) and Gittings. As Hargreaves and then Martin faded, Hibberd fought back and started to close on the leading group but Gittings had by now moved through to the head of the race and the group was coming apart.
With 17 laps to go it started to rain, with Gittings and Wise a little ahead of Notley, with Hibberd in pursuit. As the rain came down harder, the gaps widened with Gittings started to pull away when, with a third of the 33 lap race still to go, the officials called a halt to proceedings. With little doubt as to who the top four were going to be, the result of the first heat would stand and the competitors headed to the grandstand to wait for the rain to stop.
It did stop, briefly, and it was hoped that racing could resume but, just as the track was starting to dry, the rain came again and time ran out.
The National Derny Championships (but not the Sprinters League round) have been rescheduled for the 24 September 2011 but the winner of heat 1, Matt Gittings, won't be present.