Narrabundah Track Racing – 8th March

Attendance for Session 18 of the track racing season was relatively good, given that several regulars were in Sydney for the national track championships. Fourteen riders attended, split equally between A and B grades. Unusually, the weather was quite cool. There was strong headwind down the front straight, an uncommon direction for the Bundadome.

Seven A grade riders lined up for the initial 10-lap scratch race. The race did not take long to become interesting. On lap 3 Ben Davis accelerated off the front, pursued by Dougal Torrance. The resultant split was slowly closed by Andrew Peel over several laps. By lap 8, the pack had fully consolidated. Shortly after this, Michael Langdon led a bunch of four riders out for the final laps. Michael set a hot pace and managed to hold off Ben Robey for the win. Andrew Peel followed in third place.

The 10-Lap B grade scratch race started at moderate pace and began to hot up around mid race. Lap 7 saw the first rider dropped with a second rider dropped as the final lap approached. Tony Beasley put in an early attack approaching the bell lap. He soon had a substantial gap on the field. John Lowe pursued, but to no avail. Tony took a comfortable win over John Lowe and Phil Anderson, in that order.

The evening’s second event was a 200 metre, flying start, time trial. This is an exhilarating event, though quite technically demanding. Ben Robey lined up with aero helmet and took a bit of good natured ribbing on the start line. Ben had the last laugh with the best A grade time and the only run under 13 seconds. Michael Langdon and John Paul De Sousa set the second and third best times in A grade. In B Grade, Steve Dean set a scorching time (13.92 seconds) that would have been good enough for fourth in A grade. John Lowe and Ian Drayton set the second and third best times in B grade. John is rapidly settling in to track racing and becoming a strong performer in B grade.

The next event was a 2 Lap handicap race. In A grade, Michael Langdon put in a great performance from the scratch mark. From the start, he accelerated quickly and surged around the field in just over a lap. He soon locked onto John Paul De Sousa, by then, the lead rider. John Paul was not intimidated by Michael’s surge. He held a scorching pace over the final half lap and gave Michael little chance to overtake. This was a good win by John Paul with Michael taking a well deserved second. Dougal Torrance took a creditable third, his first podium in A grade.

In B grade, Graeme O’Neill led out from a good handicap. Graeme’s handicap was reduced following his last 2-lap handicap win. However, a slight error by the starter delayed the pursuing bunch and provided Graeme with an opportunity for a second win in this event. John Lowe and Steve Dean emerged from the pursuing bunch to take second and third places, respectively.

The final combined Italian pursuit had six riders, drawn from A and B grades, on each team. This was a great event and the closest team contest so far this season. Both teams made good starts with Team 1 establishing a very slight lead. It soon became clear that this would be a close contest, with the two teams circulating almost in lockstep. As the final lap approached, Team 1 had, by then, eked out 1 – 2 metres advantage and looked the best prospect for a win. However, Ben Robey, the team 2 anchor rider, found inspiration from a good racing session. He rocketed around the track gradually closing on Michael Langdon and taking him on the line by no more than 100mm. Team 2 were, naturally, jubilant. Regardless, Team 1 were still very satisfied with such a great race.

Major place getters were as follows

  • 10-Lap Scratch: (A Grade) Michael Langdon, Ben Robey, Andrew Peel. (B Grade) Tony Beasley, John Lowe, Phil Anderson
  • 200 m Fly TT:
    (A Grade) Ben Robey (12.94s), Michael Langdon (13.17s), John Paul De Sousa (13.82s). (B Grade) Steve Dean (13.92s), John Lowe (14.36s), Ian Drayton (14.84s)
  • 2-Lap Handicap: (A Grade) John Paul De Sousa, Michael Langdon, Dougal Torrance. (B Grade) Graeme O’Neill, John Lowe, Steve Dean
  • Combined Italian Pursuit Winner: Team 2 (Ben Robey, John Paul de Sousa, Andrew Peel, Dougal Torrance, Tony Beasley, Ross Scutts).

Current Season Points Score Leaders:
Michael Langdon (289), Phil Anderson (277), Steve Jones (260), Ross Scutts (258), Tony Beasley (223), Alec Millett (220), Graeme O’Neill (179), Kerry Knowler (174).

Current Omnium Points:
Steve Dean (8), Michael Langdon (8), Ben Davis (6), Ross Scutts (6), Kerry Knowler (5), Dougal Torrance (5), Phil Anderson (5), Ben Robey (5), John Paul De Sousa (3), John Lowe (3).

Graeme O’Neill