Report: Preston Park Track League

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Preston Park Track League (Rd 18)

Story posted August 16, 2010; Report by Gavin Smith, photo by Sally Page, Video by Ishmael Burdeau

A shower just before the scheduled start-time of the final Preston Park meet of the season put the racing in jeopardy. Luckily, the rain stopped and the track was deemed dry enough for competition. Fifty-one riders signed on in the quest for league points and overall placings and the first event got underway 25 minutes late. With many regulars away on holiday, there was a potential bonanza of league points available for those vying for decent overall season placings. As Preston Park tradition demands, a celebratory lap of honour took place for the various league winners.

League leader Felix English already had the senior league sewn up before tonight, but his absence after recently competing in the Junior World championships,  was no doubt still greeted with relief by some of his rivals. Brock Duncumb-Rogers was safely lying in second spot before tonight, but there was real interest in third place where young Ashley Dennis was leading reigning league champ Mark Burgess by only four points.

The traditional opener was reduced to just six laps and it wasn’t long before the first attacks were mounted. Paul Barnard, Sam Cheesman, Alan Cooper, Ben Miller and Steve Kane were the first to show but it was Martin O’Brien who succeeded in breaking the elastic after two laps. O’Brien’s luck wasn’t in, however, as Jack Oliver-Blaney, Dennis, Jack Hoyle and Mark Turner put on pressure at the head of the bunch and reeled him back. O’Brien didn’t give up, and he had another dig with two to go, before black-clad Matt Davies powered forward at the front with Andy Edwards right on his wheel. Meanwhile, though, Duncumb-Rogers had been awaiting his moment and at the end of a strong last lap, he stormed home first followed in by Dennis, Edwards, Oliver-Blaney, Nick Jepson and Cheesman.

The handicap final was keenly fought, Cheesman just edging it ahead of Edwards, Kane, David McElhannan and Burgess. Jepson threw down the gauntlet in the 15-lap Points race, taking the first maximum.  Duncumb-Rogers then broke away with Edwards and Davies, Edwards taking the next five points two laps later before the bunch reacted and everyone came together.

Edwards again managed to scoop the next maximum with six laps to go, then on the penultimate payout it was O’Brien who hit the jackpot. The points tallies were close and it was all going down to the wire. As it happened, Edwards was first over the line at the finish to secure a great win, followed in points by Jepson, Hoyle, Davies, Dennis and O’Brien.

Burgess bravely tried his luck with a breakaway attempt on the first lap of the unknown distance race. He was joined in the escape by Kane, Jepson and fast-improving Ben Gerrey and at the first £5 prime it was Kane who took the money, just before the bunch rejoined. Just one lap later, commissaire Daniel Gerrey’s whistle signalled another lap-prize, much to the horror of the riders at the back of the bunch who were struggling to maintain contact. This latest award went to Duncumb-Rogers, then Davies rocketed away to claim the last prime. As the bell rang, Davies had a 60-metre lead but the usual suspects in the peloton were determined to secure the season’s final win. However, Davies had other ideas and he went into overdrive to take victory, Edwards winning the bunch gallop for second, followed by Dennis, Barnard, Oliver-Blaney and Duncumb-Rogers.

Senior “A” overall: 1st Felix English, 2nd Brock Duncumb-Rogers, 3rd Ashley Dennis, 4th Mark Burgess, 5th Jack Oliver-Blaney, 6th Drew Holmes.

Senior “B” overall: 1st Sam Cheesman, 2nd Jack Hoyle, 3rd Nigel Burrows, 4th Nick Jepson, 5th Steve Kane, 6th Martin O’Brien. These results are provisional and are based on the “8-meet minimum” rule.

Full details can be seen at 

There was great interest in both the U16 and the U14 leagues, with the identity of the overall champions hanging in the balance. The special weekly youth award this time went to Celia Jenkins, who has shown great determination all season, with real improvement in both stamina and speed.

Under 16 /Under 14
Under 16 league leader Amy Jacobs was away on a training course in Wales tonight, but just nine points behind her in the league was Jack Priddle, much relieved that the rain had stopped and he had a chance to take the title. Before tonight, Under 14 league leader Matthew Hill had a slender 6-point advantage over his main rival Jake Marley.

Olly Priddle put up an impressive display at the start of the 4-lapper, leading through with some confident riding. But as the race stayed more or less together throughout, a bunch sprint was going to decide it. Matthew’s win increased his overall lead, and he was followed home by rapid Laura Cheesman and Spencer Thomas with Jake fourth. The first Under 16 over the line was Jack, so his six points left him needing just three more for the Under 16 championship.

Spencer won a tight sprint in the handicap race, with Sarah Cooper runner-up and Jake Marley third. Jack won the Under 16 2-lap dash in front of Sarah to secure the Under 16 title and in the Under 14 contest it was Matthew who triumphed ahead of Spencer and Jake. Matthew’s win gave him overall victory in the Under 14 league.

League stalwart Dave Gerrey kindly donated £10 for a 5-lap course de primes, with £2 on offer every other lap. Jake pocketed the first payout after two laps, then spectators were treated to an impressive piece of riding from newly-crowned Under 16 champion Jack, as he broke away to take the next four cash prizes and the race win. Second over the line and first U14 was Spencer, followed by Laura and Matthew, while Sarah was 2nd Under 16.

Under 16 overall: 1st Jack Priddle, 2nd Amy Jacobs, 3rd Sarah Cooper, 4th Imogen Farlie, 5th Michael Dixon.

Under 14 overall: 1st Matthew Hill, 2nd Jake Marley, 3rd Kimberley English, 4th Gabriel Parle, 5th Spencer Thomas, 6th Laura Cheesman.

Under 12
The 2-lapper stayed together throughout, the bunch sprint being won by Isaac Wright from Douglas McCauley and Ben O’Brien. Nicholas Wickens took the handicap victory, followed home by Zak Corum-Haines and Isaac. The devil-take-the-hindmost was won in style by Isaac from Ted O’Brien and Nicholas.

Overall: 1st Amy Smith, 2nd Isaac Wright, 3rd Ben O’Brien, 4th Douglas McCauley, 5th Thomas Burnett, 6th Ted O’Brien.

Under 10/Under 8
The youngest age-groups were pleased to have some keirin races to contest, with heats before the minor final and final. Rahul Fortescue-Talwar won the U8 final ahead of Rory Burke and Freddie Davies, while Stan Abbott-Stacey came first in the U10 final, followed over the line by Bradley Burke and Miranda Wright.

The Under 8 1-lap scratch was won by Rahul from Ben and Rory, with Freddie fourth. The U10 equivalent was dominated by Stan, with Miranda second and Charlie Brooker third. Miranda rode well to win the handicap event in style, George Turner placing second and Georgina Burnett third, with new rider Anya Tamplin taking a fine fourth.

Under 10 overall: 1st Noah Ridgway-Brown, 2nd Bethany Lewis, 3rd Stan Abbott-Stacey, 4th Richard Hoyle, 5th Dominic Kazlauskas, 6th Miranda Wright.

Under 8 overall: 1st Rahul Fortescue-Talwar, 2nd Ben Battle, 3rd Rory Burke, 4th Oliver Brooker.