Andy Ballentyne went up to the Manchester Velodrome to have another go at the Masters Track Championships - this time in the 40-44 age group. He entered for two events - the Points race and the Pursuit.
The 80 lap (20 km) points race was convincingly won by the reigning champion Russell Williams (GB) with 42 points who broke away with Robert Veroba (Can) and eventually lapped the field. Points are scored on a 5,3,2,1 basis every 10 laps with 20 points for lapping the field. Andy was 7th with 3 points, scoring 2 points on the second sprint and 1 on the final sprint after having to lead out the field for the last three laps. The overall time was 26.19 with an average speed of over 28mph.
In the 3km pursuit, Andy up against eventual 4th placed Nicholas Jonsson of Australia, started a bit too quickly with 17 second laps and paid for it at the end with final laps of 19 and 20 seconds. His overall time was 3.51.97 and less than a second slower than his previous best time set in 1998, however it has given him something to work for next year.
A party of 15 Easterley members made their annual trip to the Mildenhall Rally which is second only to the York Rally in size. Events include grass track racing, a childrens duathlon, Audax, cyclo cross, a quiz night and more.
A quality field of 80 riders in the grass track racing made the events tough indeed and the soft ground, although safe, made the going even harder for the heavier riders. The riders were split into three categories on the Sunday - Sprinters, Endurance and non specialist. Richard Jordan rode in the non-specialist whilst Chris Burley and Andy Ballentyne rode in the endurance events. All three riders found the competition fierce and the only notable results were 4th in the Team Pursuit, Chris getting 6th in the Walkers 3km, Andy making the final of the 800m, and then Andy winning the last event of the weekend - the consolation devil!
After yesterdays meeting at Woodbridge, Richard Jordan needed just 3 points to get his second license whilst Andy Ballentyne needed approximately 30 for his first cat.
This meeting followed a similar format to the previous West Suffolk Meeting in July in that included separate sprints for licence categories and age categories. This meeting however was at the Priory School in Bury St.Edmunds with a tight 200m track on a slope that made the going hard into the finishing straight.
Andy's first race was the 400m scratch for 2nd cats where he was second behind Neil Withington (again!). Richard was 5th in the 3/4/J 400m scratch won by Paul Watts.
Next up was a 5km scratch race. This was part one of a split point race. The riders competed in two 5km scratch event but scoring 30, 29, 28 etc points for each event with the overall winner being the one with the most points. Neil, Paul Carter, Simon Layfield, Pete Whelan (Plomesgate CC), and Andy got away from the rest and Neil was again the winner followed by Paul Carter and then Andy.
Back to the sprints and the age related 800m scratch. The Masters A/B/C's were combined and Andy got the better start from Keith Richardson and then lead all the way to the line for the win with Keith 2nd and Simon Layfield third.
The next event was a Devil for Women, 3/4/J and U16. First was Paul Watts wth Richard scoring another point in 6th place. The E/1/2 Devil however only had 6 riders where Neil was the winner (surprise, surpise) with Keith just holding off Andy.
This was followed by the second 5km event. The same five riders as before got away from the field and Neil was again the winner and therefore the winner overall. Andy however finshed ahead of Paul Carter and shared second spot with him.
After a long weekend's racing Andy decided to sit out the 600m handicap. Richard however competed and was third in his heat. The finals were then run as a final for heat winners, a final for 2nd placed riders, a final for thirds etc. Richard won his final.
Andy and Richard again linked up with Paul Watts for the Team Sprint event and recorded a time of 1-05.56. They were again the second placed team behind the Mildenhall/Neil Withington combination who recorded 1.04.53.
This all means that Richard gained enough points for second cat license and the 81 that Andy got for the weekend is enough for him to regain his first.
Andy Ballentyne and Richard Jordan went up to ride the Plomesgate meeting held on a tight 200m track at St.Mary's School that included off camber bends to make the cornering trickier still.
The first race was an 8 lap scratch for Elites, 1st and 2nd Cat men where Andy was third behind Neil Withington who was to have a very good weekend.
Richard was unplaced in the corresponding event for 3rds/4ths and Juniors but made up for that by getting through to the 500m handicap (off 94m). Andy off 58m was 3rd in his heat and didn't make the final. In the final itself, Richard was third behind Becky Figgit (Plomesgate) and Keith Richardson (Mildenhall CC).
Next up was the Devil for all categories and Neil Withington was the winner with Andy in second spot. This was followed by the 10 lap E/1/2/ points race where Neil lead throughout. Second place was not so clearcut though and Paul Carter (Team Welwyn) was second for the first 4 laps with Andy third. Overtaking was not easy on the tight course but Andy got past Paul on lap 5 and stayed ahead of him for the rest of the race to come home in overall second place.
In the 400m scratch, both Andy and Richard were second in their heats where the winner and the two fastest second placed riders went through to the final. Unfortunately for Richard however his heat was one of the slower ones and didn't make the final. In the final itself, Neil again won the race followed by Keith, promising junior rider Paul Watts (Ipswich BC), Simon Layfield (Team Welwyn) and then Andy who had drawn an unfavourable outside start position.
The longest race of the day was the 8km scratch. The race soon settled down with a small group lapping the rest of the field This group included Neil, Paul Carter, Simon, Paul Watts, Martin Fry, and Andy and in the final few laps, Neil jumped away for the win followed by Andy in second place.
Andy and Richard linked up with Paul Watts for the Team Sprint event and recorded a time of 1-08.51 for second place behind the Mildenhall/Neil Withington team in 1.06.76 but ahead of Team Welwyn in 1-09.26
Both Chris Burley and Andy Ballentyne went up to ride the rain curtailed West Suffolk Wheelers meeting at the Hardwick Middle School which also included a round of the National Endurance Series and as a consequence had attracted the leading contenders.
The meeting is unusual in that included separate sprints for licence categories and age categories.
In the 2nd Cat 400m sprint, Andy and Chris were therefore drawn against each other however it was Charles Tennick who got the best start with Andy chasing to get on terms. Andy couldn't catch Charles but held on to second place with Chris coming fourth.
In the Masters B/C category 800m, Andy, Chris and Charles were again in the same event and it was almost a case of deja vu. Charles again got the best start but this time Andy was on his wheel. He couldn't quite come round him in the final straight however to record another 2nd place however Chris moved up to 3rd.
The National Endurance event held over 8km, series leader and the previous day's Silver Medallist from the National Championship - Leigh Haigh made a break after 3km. A chasing group of 8 riders formed behind him including Chris, Andy, Jason Benham, John McClelland, Peter Whelan, Paul Carter, Max Pendleton and Ian Clarke. Pete Whelan was happy to lead this chase group and the others were quite happy to let him until John McClelland leant a hand with Jason and Chris. They started to close the gap with 8 laps to go but this merely spurred Leigh on to greater efforts and he pulled the gap open again to come home the clear winner. Behind, John McClelland lead out the final lap for 2nd place with Andy on his wheel for 3rd and in the process holding off Jason in 4th, Paul 5th, and Max 6th. Chris finshed in 9th place.
In the Senior Devil for Elites, 1st and 2nd Cat riders both Andy and Chris rode but neither rider was placed.
Next up was a 15 lap Madison which is believed to be the first time this has been run on the grass. 8 teams started and all finished despite the steady drizzle that was starting to make the track slippery, especially when trying to do hand slings on the bends! It was also the first Madison for a number of the riders, Chris included.
Andy and Chris got off to a good start just behind the Scunthorpe Poly team of Jason Benham and Charles Tennick. These two teams opened up a good lead on the 'Race Scene' team of Leigh Haigh and John McClelland and the the 'National Championship Jerseys' team of Richard Kennedy (400m Champ) and Sarra Whelan (Ladies 800m Champ). The Scunthorpe team stated to open up a lead on the Easterley until the last lap when they closed the gap down but Andy couldn't quite catch Jason who held on for the win.
With the rain now quite heavy, the remaining events were cancelled except for the 60m dash but neither Chris or Andy rode in this.
National Squad rider Evan Oliphant made it all look very easy on his way to victory in the 8km Championship at the tight Heckington Show ground.
A month's rain had fallen in 1 hour during the week which made the ground soft and heavy going which suited the leaner riders rather than the sprinters. This was coupled with a strtong headwind in the back straight to make things hard for everyone. A quality field also included current 800m Champion and former 8km Champion Ben Elliot, Jason and Jamie Streather, former medallist Jason Benham, Endurance Series leader Leigh Haigh and Biggleswade winner James Holland-Leader.
The meeting started off with a Devil to get the riders used to the track. Andy Ballentyne was eventually eliminated with just 2 more to go.
The following event was the 400m heats however Andy did not make the final.
In the Championship itself, a break formed early on with Andy getting across to this break with Jason Benham to leave 7 riders in the lead. This however was short lived and with riders jumping around, the pace was erratic and Andy was dropped when Evan Oliphant jumped away followed by Ben. They quickly got a gap but Ben couldn't handle the pace Evan was setting and was soone dropped. Leigh Haigh meanwhile had jumped away from the break and has soon passed Ben. With Evan lapping all the other riders, these were the final positions.
Andy finished in 10th position.
Richard Jordan made his hard track debut at the Eastern Region/ECCA Track Championships to ensure the Easterley had a qualifying team.
In the first event - the 6 lap pursuit - Andy Ballentyne was the fastest of the Easterley riders in a time of 3-44.46 which was 6 seconds quicker than last year and 4th fastest overall behind winner Ben Price (Mid Anglia CC). Chris Burley was also making his pursuit debut and ended up with a 4-00.62 after having omitted to pump up his tyres to racing pressure, whilst Richard was 3rd with 4-29.81.
In the 750m sprint, Andy won his heat with a 200m time of 13.45 into the headwind finish to qualify for the semi-final where he was 3rd - the winners going to the final and the 2nd placed riders to the minor final.
The next event was the team pursuit where the three man Easterley team were drawn against the four man Team Welwyn. They didn't disgrace themselves and ended with a time of 3-52.90 in eventual 5th place only 1 second behind the West Suffolk Wheelers team who were also at full strength.
The last event was the 10 mile scratch which also incorporated the Raleigh Cup for the first ECCA rider. The going was steady for the first half of the race until Peter Bissell (Team Welwyn) tried his hand. This lasted a couple of laps until he sat up when Andy went underneath him, taking Simon Layfield (Team Welwyn), Joe Liversidge (Stevenage CC), and Peter Bissell with him. Ben Price was the last to get across from the bunch and these five then forged a half lap lead.
With 2 laps to go, the games started with Peter, Ben, Joe and Andy watching each other. Simon however continued and got a gap. With Peter not wanting to chase his team mate, Andy marking Joe for the ECCA trophy, Joe watching Peter for the Junior Eastern Region championship and Ben watching all of them, it wasn't until after the bell that they started the sprint by which time it was too late to catch Simon. Peter was 2nd at the line followed by Ben with Andy coming round Joe on the line for 4th.
This means that Andy wins the Rothmans Trophy as the ECCA Senior champion and the Raleigh Cup as the first ECCA rider in the 10 mile. This is the first time he has won these trophies on the hard track as the other wins were on grass.
Andy Ballentyne, Chris Burley and Richard Jordan all rode the Biggleswade meeting which included rounds of both the Short Distance and Endurance National Series and as a consequence attracted a high quality field including the leading riders in both competitions and Richard Kennedy (Chesterfield Coureurs) - the National 400m Champion and 800m Silver Medallist.
The first event was the 1 Mile Scratch with all 32 male competitors riding. Andy lead out the last lap and a bit but faded and came 7th.
In the Short Distance Series held over 800m (3 laps of the track), Andy pipped Ian Clarke (Fenland Clarion) to 2nd place in his heat and went straight to the semi final. Chris and Richard however had to go to the reperchage where they were both drawn in the same race. Richard tried to lead out Chris but he was pipped by Leigh Haigh (Race Scene).
In the semi, Andy lead out and tried to control the race but lost out to Dave Langlands (Fenland Clarion) and Paul Carter (Team Welwyn). He was therefore destined for the minor final in which he came 3rd.
Next up was the Endurance Series event which was held over 8km. Current series leader Jason Benham was riding along with 2nd placed Leigh Haigh. The race proved to be a battle of attrition with the strong headwind in the back straight. James Holland-Leader (Principia RT) attacked at half distance whilst behind a group of eight riders formed. Leigh Haigh jumped from this group in an attempt to bridge the gap but was hampered by a puncture. Numerous other attacks were made from the group but none were able to get back on terms with Holland-Leader. Andy was tailed off this group with a few laps to go and ended up 9th. Chris was just outside the top twelve.
All three Easterley riders were eliminated from the next race, the Devil, fairly early on - all suffering from the effects of the tough 8km.
Neither did they make it through the to final of the 500m handicap which in the event wasn't held due to a torrential downpour which curtailed the meeting
Andy Ballentyne regained his 2nd Cat license with a 3rd place in the 16 lap scratch event at the Winterton Show organized by the Scunthorpe Poly CC. Charles Tennick (Scunthorpe Poly) made the early break after going for the first prime. He quickly gained half a lap until Dave Heald (VC St. Rapheal) started chasing followed by Jonathon Tennick (Thurcroft CC) and a group of 6 riders. Jonathon faded but Andy went straight past and quickly caught Dave Heald. Meanwhile current 8km series leader Leigh Haigh had also broken away, came past Andy and linked up Charles. Leigh outsprinted Charles for the win whilst Andy held off a fast finishing Richard Lambert (Rossington Wheelers).
Only Andy Ballentyne rode the track league but didn't gain any points. The closest was in the Devil where he was the last rider to be eliminated.
Rain brought a premature end to the evening's racing, which was unfortunate for Andy Ballentyne as he was one of the 'Hares' in the 10 lap Hare and Hounds. The four Hares who started with a half lap lead on the rest of the field had just started scoring league points (they had stayed away for 6 laps) and were looking comfortable to stay away to the end when the downpour came.http://www.bcf.uk.com/results/2004/06_june/19_welwyn.shtml
Both Andy Ballentyne and Chris Burley rode the track league this week, Chris in the B's and Andy in the A's.
Chris Burley was again the last rider to be eliminated in his devil whereas Andy was up against WCPP rider and World Championship Silver Medallist Tony Gibb in the A's (amongst others). All of the A cat events were won by Gibb and were run off at 30mph pace - the fastest being the block pursuit in 5m 42 secs.
Gibb didn't repeat his feat of trying to break 20minutes in the final event of the evening, the 10 mile, but it was still run off in 21.04. Chris found himself undergeared on 88", but Andy just missed out on the first prime and a placing in the final sprint.
Both Andy Ballentyne and Chris Burley rode this week but neither rider managed to score any points. Chris dropped down to the B cats until he finds his feet and was the last rider to be eliminated in the Devil. Andy scored some points in the A points race but then broke his saddle whilst trying for more which brought his race to a premature end. He managed to borrow one for the 10 mile but the position was much higher and didn't feel comfortable.
Conditions were much better than last year's event with the sunny weather making for a firmer and therefore faster track. Three members of the Easterley rode the meeting with Paul Allet being a non started due to a 'heavy night' the night before!!!!
The first event was the 800m and Chris Burley made it through the the final as a fastest 2nd place rider, eventually coming 5th in the final losing out to winner Dave Heald (VC St.Raphael) and National 400m Champion Richard Kennedy (Chesterfield Coureurs) in second.
Meanwhile in the Unknown distance event for riders who didn't make the final, Andy Ballentyne came second.
Both Richard Jordan (off 94m) and Chris (66m) won their heats of the 500m Handicap to make the final whilst Andy (53m) lost out. In the final itself, Richard made a valiant effort to hold on to his lead but was overtaken in finishing straight and was just pipped to third by Keith Richardson (Mildenhall CC). Winner was Leigh Haigh (Race Scene) with Chris coming 6th in the tight finish.
In the Devil for riders who didn't make the 500m final, a field of over 30 riders made for a long event. The going was steady with just one rider being eliminated each lap. Andy kept himself near the front to avoid having to sprint each lap and came home in third place.
The next event was the 1 mile scratch race with the first three riders in each of the three heats going through the the final. Andy rode a controlled race on former 8km Champion Dave Baker's (Ciclos Uno) wheel to qualify for the final, however both Chris and Richard missed out. The final was a much quicker affair with an attack mid race stringing the riders out. Andy came round Richard Kennedy with a lap to go to hold on to third place in the sprint.
The final event of the day was the 8km (or 5 mile). The large field was broken up when the prime was sounded. Leigh Haigh attacked for the prime with Paul Carter (Team Welwyn) chasing. Leigh won the prime and carried on going. Andy caught up with Paul and the two linked up to chase Leigh. Meanwhile Chris, former 8km champion Max Pendleton (Mildenhall CC), former Welwyn Track League winner John McClelland (London St.Christophers) and former Division Champion Neil Lewis (North Road) had formed a chasing group and joined forces with Andy and Paul. This formed the pattern for the rest of the race except for John McClelland jumping away on his own.
Leigh Haigh managed to lap all of the riders including the chasing group with two laps to go. In normal circumstances, lapped riders would finish on the same lap as the winner, however the chasing group - with points up for grabs, accelerated and unlapped themselves. The bell rang for the final lap and both Paul and Chris sprinted for the finish the next time and sat up, not realising that they had another lap to do. The more experienced Andy and Max however carried on with Andy coming third and Max fourth. Chris eventually came 6th.
All in all quite a good day for Easterley members with riders getting placed or reaching the final of all the events. Chris scored his first licence points of the year and Andy gained another 18 points towards getting his second licence back.
Andy Ballentyne rode his first track league meeting for three years but lacked a bit of finishing speed at the end of the races and failed to win any points. The 10 mile was slower in the cold conditions than the previous week's super fast event and the bunch stayed together with John McClelland sprinting home as the winner.
Andy Ballentyne went 'up Norff' to ride the first Championship of the year hosted by the Scunthorpe Polytechnic CC. This was his first grass meeting for a year and found the going tough against a large quality field. Expectations were low in the Championship itself as the distance doesn't suit him and they proved correct as he didn't progress beyond the repercharge.
The seedings went mainly to form and the final was contested by 7 time Champion Richard Kennedy, former 400m, Kilo and Keiren Champion Jon Norfolk, former 800m and 8km Champion Ben Elliot, 800m and 8km medallist Jason Benham, former BMXer Ian Sharp, and Joby Ingram-Dodd. The previous minor final saw a major crash on the last bend when the leader lost his front wheel and took out the four riders behind him with only the last rider just managing to avoid the crash and finish. Martin Bramall ended up with broken ribs and collar bone which meant that an ambulance had to be called.
The delayed final saw Rick, drawn in the inside lane, get his usual fast start followed by Ben Elliot. He consolidated his lead to finish well clear at the end. Beind however things were not so clear cut. Joby Ingram-Dodd crashed on the second bend and then John Norfolk had to come wide round Ben Elliot causing Ben to cut inside, possibly causing Ian Sharp to crash out. In the process he caught Ben's back wheel breaking a spoke and causing it to rub against the frame. Jon finished ahead of Ben and Jason, with Jason just pipping Ben on the line. Jon was originally relegated but then reinstated to the silver medal position. Jason's bronze medal means that he is only the second rider to get a medal in all three grass track championships (400m, 800m and 8km). The only other rider to do so is Richard's older brother Pete who has won all three championships and was an interested spectator at this meeting.