Track: Horne Wins Omnium In Reading

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A packed programme at Palmer Park would see the six derny paced races interleaved with a women's omnium to provide an afternoon of non-stop entertainment - with a thrilling twist at the end.

The women's omnium kicked off with the 500m time trial and it was young Rosie Blount of Derby Mercury who took the win with a 35.81 - just under a second up on Emma Baird of City of Edinburgh. In third place - and the best part of a second down on Baird - Ciara Horne of the four strong Cycling Ireland Track Development team, just a fraction ahead of fourth placed Lydia Boylan of Look Mum No Hands.

After the explosive power of the 500m it was on to an 8km scratch race, where the bunch stayed largely together - give or take a couple that were blown out of the back - until the final sprint. Harriet Owen of Motorpoint Pro Cycling and the Great Britain Olympic Development Programme took the honours from Estelle Rogers of Rollapaluza CC and Horne. There are many ways to win an omnium - some dominate every event, some are very strong in the time trials but weaker in the bunch races - but consistency, finishing reasonably well up the order in every event, even when it isn't your strongest discipline, is as good a way as any.

The 2km Pursuit, it turns out, is Horne's strongest discipline - she took the win easily, her time of 2:27.45 beating second placed Jayne Paine of Willesden CC by 8 seconds. Rogers took third, a further second back with Boylan in fourth, a second behind her.

The sprint heats were seeded on 500m times, with the winners of the four heats going straight in to a four-up final. Horne missed out, coming second in her heat, leaving Blount, Boylan, Rogers and Donna Williams of Team Terminator to contest the final. Blount took her second win of the day but her relatively poor showing in the scratch and mid-field performance in the pursuit meant she'd have to do spectacularly well in the one remaining event - the points race - to have any chance of a podium place.

Williams' second place didn't do overall contenders Boylan and Rogers any favours, but Horne's win in the 5th-8th final kept her in the race.  The final points race was dominated by Owen and Horne - the Irish rider taking some early wins before the former Palmer Park Velo youth rider started to take control. It was close at the end, with Owen taking 21 points to Horne's 19. Rogers took third place with six points and Boylan fourth with four.

That was enough to put Horne on the top step of the podium, ahead of Owen, Boylan and Rogers.

And so to the main event. A capacity field of twenty seven riders signed on for the Derny Fest - no fewer than seven of them current or former members of Palmer Park Velo. The event was divided into three heats and three finals - the top three from each 10km heat progressing to the 25km A Final, the next three to the 20km B Final and the remainder to a 15km C Final.

As is so often the case in derny racing, the first heat was completely dominated by a rider who then failed to take the win - although in the case the circumstances where a little unusual.

Adam Duggleby of pulled out a half lap lead in the early stages and held the gap while the rest of the field scrapped behind it. It was the perfect tactics for a qualifying heat - settle in to a comfortable lead, away from the action - and tick off the laps to the finish. Or, at least, it would have been - had it not been for the puncture Duggleby suffered with about 10 laps to go. Able to change his wheel, Duggleby was thrown back in to the race with his lead intact but unable to make contact with his derny. By the time they did get back together he was in fifth place and looking a little stressed.

Knowing that he only needed to finish in the top three to qualify for the final, Duggleby moved past Ian Greenstreet of Newbury RC and Cam Swarbrick of AW Cycles and settled in for the run home. James Solly of VC Londres took the win with Clare Newland of Welwyn Wheelers taking second.

Heat 2 was less dramatic, with Sebastian Pancratz of Beeline Bicycles RT and Alex Simmons of Lyme Racing Club easing away to take the first two qualifying places - while Reading Track League regulars Martyn Harris of and Harry Strudley of AW Cycles battled for the third spot in the A final. There was very little between them on the line, with Harris losing contact with his pacer in the last five metres but just managing to hold on to take third.

Drama again in heat 3 - although the result wasn't really in doubt once early leader Stephen Bradbury of AW Cycles ran out of steam. The race had quickly settled down with a group of three riders away - Oliver Davies of Dinnington RC, Matt Gittings of AW Cycles and Sam Sturgeon of Team Terminator.

Just a couple of laps before the 5-to-go cut off when a rider whose derny fails is allowed to take the wheel of another rider and ‘share' the derny - Davies' derny stuttered to a halt.  Unfazed, Davies simply latched on to the back of Gittings' wheel and stayed there for the duration. It can't have hurt that, as well as being one of the country's leading derny racers, Gittings is also a trained pacer!

With the qualification sorted, it was time for the first of the three finals - for those who had finished seventh to ninth in their heats. Eight riders took to the track and it was Trevor Bradbury of AW Cycles who set the early pace. Kevin Holloway of VC10 took over the front before being overhauled by Clive Burr of VC Londres. In the closing stages it was a three way tussle between under 16 riders Jason Pitt and Max Stedman of Palmer Park Velo and Max Pendleton of Mildenhall CC.

Max and Max had come through the field together and were side by side, lap after lap, with Pitt moving to the head of the race as they came into the last five laps. Then it was Max - Pendelton - that was ahead, easing away from Pitt until two to go when a determined effort saw the Palmer Park rider - his team mate on his wheel - some round the outside. Stedman made a valiant effort to close on him, but it was Pitt - paced by father Andrew - that took the win, from Stedman and Pendleton. Bradbury held on for fourth.

The B final saw all three of the AW Cycles Junior Team still in the competition drawn together with Frazier Carr and Harry Strudley - drawn one and two at the start - leading for much of the race. The third member of the trio - Cam Swarbrick - had been drawn eighth and eighth he stayed until 15 laps to go.

With Carr and Strudley sharing the action at the front of the race with Joe Holloway of VC 10 and Symon Lewis of Elite Edwardes Cycling, the rest of the riders and their pacers kept in touch - never allowing the entire field to extend more than the length of the straights.

With 15 to go, Swarbrick started to move up through the order - behind Jack Hibberd of Halesowen A&CC - passing the fast fading early leaders and entering the last two laps with only Greenstreet, Corrine Hall of Team Corridori ahead of them. They swept past both in the closing stages with Swarbrick unable to match Hibberd's pace in the run in. Hibberd and pacer Doug Pinkerton took the win with Swarbrick second, Greenstreet third and Hall fourth.

The A final was all set to be a titanic battle between Duggleby - so dominant in his heat until the puncture - and local hero Gittings. Duggleby quickly moved to the head of the field while Gittings settled in behind, shadowing his rival a couple of bike/derny lengths behind, but content not to make his move.

The rest of the field was out of contention now - Davies and Simmons would take third and fourth, but Gittings and Duggleby were in a different race. Would Gittings have enough left to make an attack? If he did, would Duggleby be able to respond? The answer came with two laps to go when Gittings attacked, coming round his rival out of turn four as on the bell lap.

Duggleby responded, but couldn't match Gittings' pace - losing contact with his pacer as Gittings exited the last corner for the final time. The win was, in the end, comfortable - and was even more remarkable given the fact that the leader's rear tyre had punctured on the last lap - letting the last of its air out on that final bend, making it difficult for the AW Cycles rider to hold pacer Derek Marloe's wheel.


Women's Omnium


1. Ciara Horne (Ireland Track Development Team)
2. Harriet Owen (Motorpoint Pro Cycling)
3. Lydia Boylan (Look Mum No Hands)
4. Estelle Rogers (Rollapaluza CC)
5. Jayne Paine (Willesden CC)
6. Donna Williams (Team Terminator)

Derny Fest

Minor Final 1 - 15km

1. Jason Pitt (Palmer Park Velo)
2. Max Stedman (Palmer Park Velo)
3. Max Pednleton (Mildenhall CC)
4. Trevor Bradbury (AW Cycles)
5. Clive Burr (VC Londres)
6. Kevin Holloway (VC10)

Minor Final 2 - 20km

1. Jack Hibberd (Halesowen A&CC)
2. Cam Swarbrick (AW Cycles)
3. Ian Greenstreet (Newbury RC)
4. Corrine Hall (Team Corridori)
5. Frazier Carr (AW Cycles)
6. Joe Holloway (VC10)

Final - 25km

1. Matt Gittings (AW Cycles)
2. Adam Duggleby (
3. Oliver Davies (Dinnington RC)
4. Alex Simmons (Lyme Racing Club)
5. Sebastian Pancratz (Beeline Bicycles RT)
6. Sam Sturgeon (Team Terminator)