Halesowen Friday Night Track League

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Halesowen Friday Night Track League

Story posted May 10, 2010; from William Fotheringham

Friday night track league at Halesowen opened on what was supposed to be the official first night of summer but actually felt like a throwback to early March. Strong fields though, particularly in the B cats and youth races, showed there were plenty of hardy souls willing to brave the icy winds.

The youth riders began proceedings with an unknown distance won by James Jevons of Stourbridge Velo, after which Steve Brown of Redditch R&PCC showed all-round dominance, timing his run perfectly in the 800m scratch, then adding the points and closing eight-lap scratch to establish an early advantage. From the host club, Angela Eggleton and track newcomer Molly Weaver look set to give Jevons and Brown a run for their money in this category, with both finishing consistently in the minor placings throughout the evening.

In the freewheelers, the A category is already shaping up to be a two-way battle between Jordan Sharples of Halesowen and Matt Shaw of Solihull – 12th and 19th finishers respectively in 2009 - with Jordan taking a field sprint in the opening two-lap handicap and Matt getting the best of his rival in the three-lap handicap. Along the way, both of them took their heats in the 410m dash along with Andrew Warner of the host club.

In a relatively small freewheeler B field, the scratch riders struggled to get on terms with those given more generous handicaps, with Andrew Wheatley taking the opening two-lap handicap from Redditch’s James Ralph after carving through the field from 40m. The one-lapper went to Emilia Reynolds, starting on 60m, from Joshua Hubble, while Jenny Kendall followed up fourth place in event one with a win in the closing two-lapper from Chloe Weaver.

Among the A categories, it was business as usual for last year’s winner Tom Gregory of Halesowen, who took both the eight and 25-lap scratch races ahead of fellow sprinter Tom Baker, and backed that up with runners-up slots in both the course des primes, and kilo scratch. In that event both the young fastmen allowed veteran William Fotheringham to steal an early march with an escape from two laps out as the field marked time. Showing fine form during the evening was road racer Daniel Harris, who broke away alone in the course des primes to take five sprints for a clear victory, then split the evening’s closing 25-lap scratch to pieces by making a lengthy break along with Lee Aris of Wednesfield and Fotheringham. 

That event was combined between the A and B-categories, several of whom made it into the decisive split, with last year’s youth winner Sam Francks taking the honours in the final sprint from Ciara Horne. The shorter B category races were dominated by Steve Croggon of Beacon Roads RCC and veteran Jim Varnish, with Croggon besting Varnish in both the eight-lap scratch and the points race. Fittingly national master’s sprint champion Varnish took the B-cat sprint event, a kilo scratch, ahead of Jack Cracknell, who has moved up from the youth category this year.

This year’s main innovation is the starters series sponsored by V-sprint bikes, which opened with a 3-lap handicap for under-12s riding fixed, an event which saw Joe Feiven make a successful return to competition after a break. The other novelty for 2010 is a visitor’s cup for all visiting clubs or teams, awarded to the club or team with the most points in the league, with an additional point per rider signing on each evening. Thanks to Steve Brown’s fine run in the youth races, Redditch should be in pole position in that one.

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