20 riders made the start line for this edition of the Eurovets, with rain promised there was no hanging about and after Schoolmaster Rothwell sorted all the ‘who goes where’ etc, two consecutive (one after the other) 10-rider 20-heat matches took place.
Match 1 looked tasty with most of the big names taking part, excepting the little names of Kirkup and Whiting. Gavin Parr off gate 1, away quickly from Frith off 4 and Hodgkinson. Griffith from the gate in 2, Venson second and Jason Keith having a heavy fall. Meanley led home Kirkup in third.
Races 5 to 8 went as expected Parr-Griffith-Venson and Frith winning with Hodgkinson chasing hard. To race 9 and clash of the top 2, it was Griffith all the way from Parr to remain unbeaten.
Race 11 and Hodkinson away, Meanley chasing hard till his crank just fell off, not a happy Dave. Keith recovered from his first race fall for a win over Widdas in the 12th, but his chances gone.
A second win for Hodkinson over Keith and Kirkup, and this was followed by Griffiths remaining unbeaten with a win over Dave Frith. Wins to Parr and Griffith saw them top the scores with the others all losing to each other, the mishaps to Keith and Meanley kept them out of the race-offs.
Match 2, again provided plenty of actions, Pete Chant zoomed from the gate to lead home Mick Aris, Paul Timms on his home track a comfortable winner of the second, Hemming second with Burgess recovering for third. McLaughlin beat Smith in the third. Timms and Chant took the next 2 with Aris and Machie having a good natured 4 lap battle in the 8th.
Hemming took the 9th from the fast starting Graham, Timms remained unbeaten after holding off Pete Chant in the 10th. Wins to Aris and McLaughlin and two important wins to Burgess followed.
The 16th and Aris McLaughlin and Hemming all changed places but Mick took the 4 points. Kevin Smith a comfortable winner of race 17 with Chic holding off Jim Graham for 3 laps to great applause.
Chant defeated Burgess for an excellent 19, Hemming won from Andy Amos, with Aris having a fine match inflicting Timms first defeat. Again lots of close races with Timms and Chant losing once whilst Mick Aris pleased with 19.
Enter the Super computer (AKA Fred) to arrange the various repechages and qualifiers. After these additional races the various finals lined up, still sunny.
Over 60 and Aris off 1 was away being chased by Kirkup and Whiting, a lap to go and it all went wrong for Mick as he became the second rider to lose a crank, but managed to scoot home in front of Whiting Kirkup and Graham.
Over 50 B Final, McLaughlin took this after a tangle with Widdas and Hemming, Phil H taking second.
The a Final and Paul Timms away from the inner and a casual 4 laps , all the action behind as Burgess made up ground to eventually pass Hodgkinson with Aris third runner up.
Over 40 B Final and Mick Aris in his 8th ride was feeling the pain, Venson away and a comfortable winner, Aris holding off Hodgkinson for third, Dave Frith a good second place. Aris helped back to his chair by Chic.
The A final produced a real tasty line up, Griffith 1 Timms 2 Parr 3 and Chant 4. Top scorers race for the top scorers, simples. Griffith away from Timms with Chant and Parr in the mix, Parr manages to round Timms and gives chase to Griffith.
Last bend and contact sees Parr win with Griffith second and Timms third. Referee Winwood awarding the race as it finished with Griffiths not too happy. A great race to finish a really good meeting.
Thanks to Birmingham for their hospitality, especially the buffet at the Tennis Court Inn. Mark Winwood for officiating and all the helpers without who’s time the match couldn’t take place.
Next round is East London, with the finale at Wednesfield.
Match one: M Griffiths 20, G Parr 19, D Frith 17, N Venson 17, S Hodgkinson 18, P Widdas 13, J Keith 12, T Kirkup 12, J Whiting 13.
Match two: P Chant 19, P Timms 19, M Aris 18, P Hemming 16, M Burgess 17, J McLaughlin 16, Chic Mackie 11, J Graham 12, A Amos-Adams 13, K Smith 14.
Over 40s Mark Griffith 146, Norman Venson 129, Pete Chant 119, Dave Meanley 112.
Over 50s Paul Timms 135, Joe McLaughlin 131, Steve Hodgkinson 121, Mike Burgess 120 (5 rounds).
Over 60s Mick Aris 143, Fred Rothwell 133, Chic Mackie 132.
Please note these are subject to verification, any rider who thinks their scores are wrong please drop me a line.
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British Cycling would like to thank the organising team, officials and everyone else who helped promote this event. Our sport could not exist without the hundreds of people, many of them unpaid volunteers, who put in many hours of hard work running events, activities and clubs.