Good Friday Track Open

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Good Friday International Track Open

Story posted April 2nd; report and photos by Guy Swarbrick (

The organiser's view of the day
Graham Bristow writes "Once again, unfortunately, the weather got the better of the Meeting. Despite an optimistic start with some good times in the preliminary time trials, the weather closed in just before the one o’clock official start. By two o’clock, the rain was still falling heavily and a number of riders had already packed their bags and left for home, the sky was completely overcast and the home straight was becoming one long puddle. The weather forecast was that the rain had settled in for the day so the officials decided the only sensible course of action was to reluctantly abandon the meeting."

"In truth, with no grand stand or other real cover to shelter in, the Velodrome quickly became a miserable place to be and it was amazing to see how quickly everyone vacated the site, leaving the various stallholders, and caterers to pack their unsold stock and think of what might have been."

"Although the sun did return to dry the track in the late afternoon, the decision to abandon was the right one because although the track dried out, the track centre remained waterlogged and the grass and mud around the track remained lethally slippery for spectators. Everyone involved in the organisation of the meeting is extremely disappointed, not only at seeing the fruits of their labour being in vain, but for all the riders and spectators who had travelled from far and wide to be at what had promised to be a great meeting."

Franco Marvulli said afterwards "I'm pleased to have been invited and was looking forward to riding at Herne Hill in the famous Good Friday Meeting. I hope I can return next year."

Two track stars ready to race at Good Friday, left: third fastest in the Sprint competition,  Craig MacLean. Right: 2nd fastest was Italian Roberto Chiappa.

Event Report from Guy Swarbrick

After a couple of years of successfully dodging the clouds, the 2009 Good Friday Meeting was abandoned early in to the afternoon session with the finals of the Adept Handicap, the opening heats of the Sprints and the Points Race going ahead before the rain finally set in for the afternoon. The forecast for the 2010 meeting – which had attracted some top class Sprinters in Roberto Chiappa, Craig McClean and Pete Mitchell and Endurance stars Franco Marvulli, Rob Hayles and Toni Tauler – didn’t look good, with rain forecast to roll in around 1pm, but the meeting got underway in front of a small, but optimistic crowd.

The track was still very damp and the wind gusting as the first riders set off for their flying 200 metres race against the clock in qualifying for the Neovite Sprint. The first rider up – Maher Al-Ausi of VC St Raphael – punctured and the early starters were struggling in the mid-12 seconds. Craig McLean was the first under 12 seconds with a 11.878, a mark which was soon eclipsed by Academy rider Pete Mitchell, who took the time down to 11.811. The only other rider to get under 12 seconds was Chiappa, who beat McLean's time by two thousandths of second but couldn’t get anywhere near Mitchell’s time.

Fastest qualifiers in the Tandem, Paracycling World Champions Barney Storey and Neil Fachie.

With the track drying but the wind even more unpredictable, the times in the White Hope Sprint qualifiers were all over 12 seconds – with one exception. Tuntsall Wheeler’s Kian Emadi eclipsed all of the times in the ‘senior’ competition with a sensational  11.697 200 metres. City of Edinburgh RC duo Callum Skinner and John Paul took the second and third slots with a 12.003 and a 12.220 respectively.

This year’s meeting also featured a Tandem Sprint competition, with Craig McClean and Simon Jackson aborting their first attempt because of a problem with the rear chain on their machine. World Champions Barney Storey and Neil Fachie then stormed round on what was by now a virtually dry track in just under 11.5 seconds. With Czech pair Pavel Buran and Ales Moravec and GB duo Dave Readle and Anthony Kappes unable to match that, McLean and Jackson went off again and also managed to break the 11.5 second barrier.

Half a dozen heats for the Adept Handicap were run before the lunch break, with Pete Mitchell, Lee Povey, Callum Skinner, Miles Stovold, John Paul, Matthew Rotherham, Jelger Bisschop, Fabien Keiser,  Marloe Rodman, Jody Cundy and Michael Mulcahy making it through to the Final – the first event of the afternoon session.

Over the lunch break, we were treated to the slightly surreal sight of half a dozen ‘Ordinaries’ – due to race in a 1 Mile Challenge later in the afternoon – warming up with the the endurance riders, who, as it turned out, were getting their only laps of the day. By 1pm – when the afternoon session was due to start, the rain began to fall out of the sky. The start was postponed to 1.30, by which point the rain was coming down harder than ever. A few hardy souls – notably Rob Hayles and his Endura team mate Alexandre Blain – bravely splashed round until 2pm when the meeting was finally abandoned – three events earlier than in 2009.

By that point, though, the crowd – and a good number of the competitors – had already left. The British weather puts any event at risk – and the timing and moveable nature of Easter makes Good Friday particularly vulnerable and difficult to predict. But surely Graham Bristow and the organising team are now due a little good luck?

Photos from Guy Swarbrick

Very very close to being fastest, Craig MacLean and Simon Jackson.

Left: Kian Emadi of Tunstall Wheelers was fastest in the White Hope Sprint qualifiers with a time that was fastest of all the sprinters. Right: Third fastest in the White Hope qualifiers was John Paul (City of Edinburgh).

Left: Callum Skinner of the City of Edinburgh club was second fastest in the White Hope qualifiers. Right: Peter Mitchell was quickest in the senior sprint competition.