London Track Championships
Story posted August 6, 2010 | Click for Results: | Photos from Paul Churchhill of Rollapaluza
After a grey morning where Herne Hill’s Saturday morning training session was mostly cancelled due to persistent drizzle, the sun burnt through the clouds at around 2pm, and stayed out all day. Not too hot, a light breeze – perfect racing conditions. The riders would need the best conditions possible to get through a packed “Olympic Omnium” programme consisting of flying 200m, individual pursuit, points race, kilo, devil and scratch race. As well as this there were also team sprint and team pursuit events, giving London’s teams a chance to battle it out.
The competition was open only to residents of London boroughs, and was the first time in nearly a decade that London’s track racers could compete in a regional competition together, instead of being spread between the three regions that intersect the capital city. A great field had assembled for this occasion. 35 men, a impressive and all too uncommon 7-strong women’s field and a good showing from the juveniles too.
The opening flying 200m saw Team Terminator duo Miles Stovold and Miles Annon taking first and second respectively, just 4 hundredths of a second apart. Rollapaluza CC’s star rider Estelle Rogers topped the women’s times, half a second ahead of possibly London Dynamo’s only track rider - Lydia Boylan. In the youth competition, host club Velo Club Londres’ Tristan Lambert came out top in the Over 12 competition only weeks after breaking his elbow. VCL’s Max Bergin clocked nearly a second faster than all his rivals in the Under 12 competition to take a maximum 10 omnium points.
After a quick handlebar change, the next event was the individual 5 lap pursuit. Herne Hill local hero, Sigma Sport’s Symon Lewis took the win, 4 seconds ahead of new housemate VCL’s James Solly. Estelle Rogers won the women’s pursuit, while Eryn Nolan and Lydia Boylan finished less than half a second apart in second and third.
Next up was the first of the days two team events – the team sprint. 7 teams signed up, with many having attended the previous weeks Sunday training session and Wednesday track league, in order to specifically practice for the event. Dulwich Paragon, Twickenham CC, London Pheonix, VCL, Rollapaluza CC and Team Terminator all fielded teams. Team Terminator’s Miles and Miles took the win with a time of 48.01, but as they rode in a composite team, with Kingston Wheelers’ John Coolahan, the prestige of fastest team sprint team in London passed to Rollapaluza CC’s A team – Guy Powell, Rob Mortlock and Mike Cooper.
Back to the omnium and Symon Lewis pushed ahead with a win in the points race ahead of One-Life Development Squad’s Jake Martin. The race was relentless, with many of the favourites missing out on the big points. It was surely at this point the intensity of the days programme hit home to the riders. Estelle Rogers took another convincing victory in the women’s points race, with Max Bergin again winning the Under 12s. David Conceicao beat Tristan Lambert to the top spot in the Over 12 points race, showing the benefit of years of track racing experience.
Next on the programme was the “Kilo” – in quotation marks because it was actually 900m (two laps of the track).The sprint specialists came to the fore in the men’s competition with Stovold beating terminator teammate Anon – who had started with amazing speed, but tied up with some agonizing-looking “square pedaling” into second place. This time Rogers didn’t have her way in the women’s event, with Lydia Boylan taking the victory in the womens 500m event. Again, Max Bergin proved unbeatable in the Under 12s, and David Conceicao took the Over 12s.
After a short pause, the bunch race action was back on, much to the delight of the uncommonly large crowd of spectators Lewis got his own back on the sprinters in an efficiently ridden devil finishing first, ahead of Solly second, and Martin, third. Rogers rode an equally dominant race and was back on top in the women’s devil.
Back on with the aero-bars and with aero-helmets being passed around like flees in a nursery it was time for the hotly contested team pursuit. 8 teams had signed on, but by this point in the programme, only 5 dedicated teams had the energy to follow through with their intentions. VCL, London Phoenix, Rollapaluza CC, and Dulwich Paragon (all teams who have promoted rounds of the recent Open Season open meetings) all fielded teams. VCL’s A team of James Solly, Jules Birks, Iain Cook and Chris Goodman took a very impressive win, catching and passing their on-track rivals, posting the fastest time of the day – 4.35.90 for 8 laps.
The final events in the programme were the scratch races. A nice straight-forward bunch race to finish a busy day’s racing. The programme had been slightly adjusted to give the senior men a longer break, so the first scratch was the womens. Again, Estelle Rogers proved too much to handle in a bunch sprint. Close behind however was Anna Glowinski from Eryn Nolan. Again, Bergin won the Under 12 scratch, but was showing the strain after being pushed hard by Charlotte Cole-Hossain. David Conceicao just got the better of Tristan Lambert in a well timed bunch sprint ahead of VCL’s Josh Cole-Hossain.
The men’s 15 lap event started tamely but soon sped up, after a few attached by Iain Cook, in an attempt to drop the sprinters from the group. In the closing stages of the race a small breakaway group of James Solly, Matt Theobolds and Jules Birks formed. This was only strengthened when another 2 riders joined.
The group was brought back at the crucial moment with barely a lap to go. In the ensuing confusion and hesitation, Jake Martin took the initiative and launched a strong attack with 400m to go. The responses from the bunch came too late, and with the head of the bunch still tired from the breakaway, and regular favourite Symon Lewis boxed in until 200m to go, he lasted until the finish to take an impressive victory. Lewis crossed the line in second ahead of John Coolahan, and an uncharacteristically “disgruntled” James Solly.
The results were hurriedly (perhaps too hurriedly) computed and sportingly, and in a testament to the great friendly atmosphere of the event, almost all riders stayed to watch and applaud the winners presentations.
Well done to all the riders and clubs who put up teams for the team competitions. Also thank you too everyone who helped make the event happen. The regular officials, Ron, Brian and Dereck. George for running sign on, and Jan for providing refreshments. MC Connor Bunns on da mic, Paul Churchill for photography duties and all those who were roped in to timing and holding at the last minute. See you next year.