Apart from some rain on the Friday night, the club's annual trip to the Mildenhall Rally was greeted with hot and sunny
conditions although a stiff breeze made the going hard for those doing the grass track racing or the 100km Audax in the exposed
Liam and Kiera Jordan and cousin Aaron Freeman all won medals in the childrens racing. In the adults grass track racing, the main event of the weekend was the National 8km Championship which had attracted a field of 45 riders with a dozen potential medallists. Andy Ballentyne qualified comfortably in the first 5km heat however both Richard and Russell didn't. In the final, after a cagey start the reason was kicked into action by Richard Lambert. He was brough back but the pace remained high and the field was gradually whittled down. In teh final few laps, a group of five formed at the front with Andy fighting to get back to them. This group contained the favourite Ben Elliot, John McClelland, James Holland Leader, Charles Tennick and Jason Benham. Ben lead out the final sprint and came home the winner ahead of John and James. Andy ended up in 6th position.
None of the Easterley members made 800m h'cap although Russell Dore made 400m medallist Russell McClean work much harder than he would have wished for his place in the final. In the 1000m time trial, 400m Champion Dave Heald was a clear winner with a 1.39 ahead of Richard Lambert (1.42) and Leigh Haigh (1.45). Andy recorded 1.46 for 4th (?) place.
On Monday, Andy was faced with a very tough heat in the 800m scratch race and didn't make it through to the semi. He made up for it however with a 3rd place in the consolation unknown distance won by Richard Lambert. The main distance race of the day was the Walkers 3km race and as always is a fast and furious affair. The bunch was soon strung out and Andy ended in 5th place behind winner Neil Withington. Neither Andy or Richard made the 400m h'cap final and Andy was 5th in the consolation unknown distance. In the final Team Sprint, Andy joined up with Paul Carter (Team Welwyn) and Neil Lewis (Southborough) but just lost out to the Chesterfield Coureurs by 0.1 second!
Kiera, Liam and Aaron with their medals at Mildenhall
Richard rode the second West Suffolk Wheelers meeting and got 5th in the 400m for 2nd cats, 3rd in a composite team for the team sprint and 10th in the 5km
Andy Ballentyne and Richard Jordan rode the Plomesgate meeting held on the tight 208m track at St.Mary's School with mixed
fortunes. The off camber bends and bumps and dips made the cornering tricky and a bit of light drizzle later in the meeting were to
have a to dramatic effect.
In the 4 lap scratch which was a counting event for the Eastern Region Grass Track Series, Andy won his heat to qualify for the final. In the final itself, Andy made a move mid race to get the lead but was thrown off line by a bump in the track and drifted wide on the bend, losing the places he had gained and finished 4th. He was however the first Eastern Region rider. The winner was Richard Lambert (Rossington Wheelers).
Both Andy (63m) and Richard (103m) reached the final of the 500m handicap where Richard was just pipped by Ian Clarke (Fenland Clarion) for the win.
Next up was the Senior Devil. Richard Lambert led out the final few laps and was followed home by Andy in second position.
This was followed by an 8 lap scratch for Seniors. Neil Withington attacked with 3 laps to go and Andy chased but couldn't quite get past him in the finishing straight.
By now a little rain had fallen which made the track a bit trickier to ride. The last event was the 24 lap 5km event and was another counting event for the Eastern Reagion series. After a gradual whittling down of the riders, Neil Withington led out the last two laps chased hard by Andy, Ian Clarke and then Richard Lambert a few lengths back. With a lap to go, Andy was pushing Neil hard around the bend when his front wheel slipped away over a bump in track and he slid off. Ian was right on Andy's wheel and with no where to go hit him and somersaulted over the top, breaking his collar bone on landing. Andy meanwhile only suffered grazes on his knee despite breaking his crash hat. Despite the crash, Andy ended up as first Eastern Region rider as the decision was taken to award the placings on the positions over the line with a lap to go.
This means that Andy is the outright winner of the Series with a maximum 80 points from four counting events.
Xray of Ian's collar bone after his pinning operation!
Richard Jordan, Paul Allet and Andy Ballentyne all rode the Eastern Region Grass Track Championships ably promoted by the Team Welwyn.
In the first event, both Andy and Paul were pipped on the line in their heats and so could only ride the minor final which was won by Andy.
Keith Richardson won the major final which was an all Mildenhall CC affair.
The 4 lap (1,600m) individual pursuit was the next event and Andy was the quickest with a 2-36.8
Thre then followed a 5 lap Team pursuit. Andy and Richard rode next to each other to give plenty of shelter to Paul who is a pure sprinter and recorded 3-51.94 for 4th Place. Fastest Team was the Mildenhall with 3-24.5
In the 800m scratch, Andy was determined to make up for his mistake in the 400m and made sure he won his heat to make the major final. Neither Richard or Paul however won their heats. In the Final itself, Max Pendleton (Mildenhall) led off but Andy attacked with 300m to go and came home the winner ahead of Ian Cooper (Mildenhall), Paul Carter (Team Welwyn) and Max.
There then followed a Team Sprint and the Easterley were the 3rd quickest with a time of 1-56.46 behind the Mildenhall B ( 1-55.82) and Team Welwyn (1-53.87).
The last event was the 8km scratch. A fast pace was set by Pete Whelan (Plomesgate) from the start and the field was gradually whittled down until 5 riders were left in contention with 6 laps to go - Andy, Max Pendleton, Pete Whelan, Richard Webster and Simon Layfield (both Team Welwyn). Andy then attacked and opened up a gap of several lengths which he held to the finish.
The points Andy gained from this meeting should be enough to see him promoted to an Elite category and Richard and Paul have done enough to retain their 2nd Cat Licenses.
Both Paul Allet and Andy Ballentyne rode the Southborough meeting which is a new event on the calendar
organised by grass track regular Neil Lewis, formerley of the North Road CC but now with Southborough since moving to Kent. This
the first grass track meeting in Kent for many years.
The track was approximately 300m and the ground was hard and although there were only 8 riders, the racing was competitive and fast.
The first event was the 800m scratch with Paul and Andy making the final. In the final, Andy attacked round the last lap to take the win from Ian Clarke (Fenland Clarion), Neil Lewis with Paul 4th, although Paul was feeling the effects of giving blood during the week.
The next event was the Devil and Andy again came home first ahead of Ian Clarke. Next event up was the 500m handicap and Andy was 4th after a slightly chaotic start affected a number of riders. This was followed by an unknown distance which Ian Clarke won attacking with a lap and a half to go after spotting when the commissaire was going to ring the bell from the other side of the track. Andy couldn't quite come round Ian and had to settle for second.
There followed a 4 lap Italian pursuit. Andy teamed up with Paul, Pete Whelan (Plomesgate CC) and Rob Hobbs (West Suffolk Wheelers) to come home a second ahead of the other team (Ian Clarke, Jayne Bevitt (Fenland CLarion), Keith Richardson (Mildenhall CC) and Neil Lewis.
The final event was a 5km which was run at a fast pace and riders gradually dropping off top leave Andy and Ian alone for the final 2 laps. Andy lead round these last laps to hold off Ian in the sprint.
It was a low key meeting but very friendly and enjoyable nonetheless.
Again Andy was contesting the finish of most of the events but not quite having the speed to score any points - the closest being the final 10 mile covered in a time of 21.03 where he was 5th.Full results
The meeting opened with 400m scratch sprints for individual categories so Andy was riding against the other 1st cats, plus
the Elite Women which in this case meant World Sprint Champion Victoria Pendleton. A fast start by Neil Withington and Vicki
meant Andy was always struggling to get on terms and finished in third.
The next event was the 5km scratch to count for the Endurance Series. This followed a similar pattern to the previous day's 8km at Biggleswade until the final 5 laps when Richard Lambert attacked and got a small gap. James Holland-Leader chased after him with Andy following. Richard held on for the win, James was second and Andy was clear of the bunch in 3rd.
The Short Distance series event followed - this time contested over 620m i.e. just over 2 laps. Again Andy qualified in his heat to avoid the rep, and in his semi final to make the 6 up final again. In the final, he again got on Richard Lambert's shoulder but couldn't stop the rest of the field coming past him on the final lap.
Andy then teamed up with last year's 8km Silver Medallist Leigh Haigh (Race Scene) for the 15 lap madison. After 5 neutralised laps to get into the swing of changing, the race started at a furious pace with Richard Lambert (partnered by Charles Tennick) immediately putting in an attack with Andy was following in second place. Richard/Charles started to gain and were not going to be caught. Meanwhile Neith Withington/James Holland-Leader caught Andy/Leigh and gained a bit of a gap although this came down near the end and they nearly caught them.
The prospect of points in both the National Endurance and Short Distance Grass track Series' meant a quality field for
both this meeting and the following day's meeting at Bury St.Edmunds.
It was a bit chilly to start off with but the sun soon came out and that combined with the fast track and only a gentle breeze meant conditions were perfect for racing.
The meeting opened with a fast and furious 1 mile scratch event where Andy Ballentyne was 6th.
The next event was the 800m scratch to count for the Short Distance Series. Andy qualified comfortably in second place in his heat which meant he didn't have to go through the repercharge. He again qualified comfortably in the semi-final which meant he reached the 6-up final. In teh final itself, Rickard Lambert led off, Andy moved up to his shoulder and stayed there to the bell. However Russell McClean and Neil Withington came past which meant 4th place for Andy.
Next up was the Endurance Series 8km event. There were a number of riders all of a similar standard which meant the racing was fast but tactical with no one really wanting to commit themselves to an all out attack. It all came down to the final few laps with a nearly a dozen riders in contention. Andy moved to the front and hit the front with a lap to go. James Holland-Leader went past down the back straight but drifted wide round the final bend. Andy seized his chance and went up the inside and held on for the win - his first 8km win for a long time and against a quality field.
In the following Devil, James Holland-Leader put in a mid race attack which split the field. Andy moved up to the front group but then got boxed in with 3 laps to go.
Andy Ballentyne rode the National Masters with a mixed set of results.
In the 750 time trial he did 58.626 for 15th place although this does establish a club record.
In the points race he tried to get away in an early break after the second sprint with two other riders but was pulled back before the third. The race was then stopped due to a crash caused by a clash of wheels between race leader Jeff Snodin (D.A.R.E.) and Tim Lawson (S.I.S.). After the restart Andy picked up a point in one of the sprints and narrowley missed another so it all rested on the final sprint which he needed to win to a bronze medal. He was could only manage 4th however so his 2 points gave him 7th spot.
In the pursuit Andy did a 4.03 for 10th but was hoping to do better although that time would have put in 5th place in the next group down (the 'B's).
The final event was the 20km scratch. Andy upped the gear from the 90.6 he rode in the points to 92.6, gambling on a fast bunch finish. After a cagey start, Alastair Taylor (Musselburgh RCC) jumped away mid race. Andy latched on to him quickely and they were joined by Rob Richardson (Hounslow District Wheelers). They stayed away for nearly 10 laps but were pulled back with about 10 to go. Andy then sat in to recover but with 2 to go Peter Ettles (Forres CC) went. The bunch chased chased and with 1 to go Andy stuck his head to wind up the gear. Jeff Snodin came over the top for the clear win but Andy just got round Ettles for second place and the Silver medal.
The photo finish of the 20km
Paul Allet and Richard Jordan both rode the Fete on the tight 170m track.
In the 10 lap scratch race won by Neil Lewis (Southborough), Richard was 7th
Paul was 3rd in the 2 lap sprint with Richard 6th. The race was won by Keith Richardson (Mildenhall CC)
The Easterley then joined up with the Hemel Hempstead CC to win the Italian Pursuit.
They were then 3rd in the Team pursuit which was one by the Fenland Clarion with the Mildenhall second.
And in the Devil & 5km both Paul and Richard where pulled out by the commisaire.
Andy rode the open meeting in the hot and humid condiitons but feeling a bit tired from the previous evening's Track League failed to pick up any placings.
Again Andy was there or thereabouts in most of the races but just lacked the extra speed needed in the sprints to pick up any placings.
The weather looked threatening first of all but cleared up and with lighter winds than previous weeks the racing was very fast and provided a new track record of 5.42 for the 'A' 10 lap block pursuit. The 'evens' were comfortably up on the 'odds' with 3 laps to go however Andy had just done his turn on the front and re-joined the back of the string when the rider two in front decided to swing off. At that speed there was no way to get back to the group!
The first race was a 10 lap scratch and Andy was just outside the points in 5th spot in the dash for the line. The next race was the 10 lap points and Andy tried his usual tactics of a late attack. It didn't pay off this week however and was unplaced in the overall result.
In the final race of the evening, the pace was moderate to start with but picked up steadily, Russell Hampton (Glendene CC) picked up 3 primes in a mid race solo attack that was eventually brought back. In the final few laps, the pace meant the field splintered and 6 riders contesting the finish. Andy was again 5th with John McClelland (Agiskoviner) getting the win in the years fastest time of 20.58.
Although the ground was hard and fast, the windy conditions played a big part in the racing.
Andy made it through to the final of the first event, the 800m scratch after a hard fought heat in which Russell Mclean (Clayton Velo) went off hard and Andy held off the challenge of Neil Lewis (Southborough) and Richard Lambert. In the final, Martin Smith (Chesterfield Coreurs) and Richard Kennedy (Chesterfield Coreurs) led off followed by Andy and Russell. Into the second lap, Andy had Richard boxed in on the inside but Russell came round the top on the back straight. Richard managed to get past Martin but not Russel who repeated his Hertford win and Andy couldn't quite come round Martin and so ended up in 4th position.
The 800m handicap was next and Richard (154m) and Andy (94m) were both drawn in the same heat. Andy just caught Richard before the line fro 3rd palce and so made the final - the first 3 from each heat doing so. In the final it all came together and Andy went past Martin Smith and Jason Benham (Scunthorpe Poly) on the final bend and held off a fast finishing Richard Lambert for the win.
Richard meanwhile won the novelty hoop elimination race where riders have to circle the track until the bell is rung and then stop with their wheel in a hoop, albeit with a the aid of a hoop stuffed down his skinsuit!! This gives him automatic entry to the You Cee Eye World Hoop Race Championship at the Mildenhall Rally.
Richard followed this up with second place in the 4 lap block handicap race. In the windy conditions, Andy rdiing in the scratch group never managed to get near the longmarkers. The final event, the 8km was reduced from 20 laps to 16 in view of the windy conditions. Leigh Haigh (Race Scene) immediately went on the attack chased down Andy. He repeated this a further 3 or 4 times and each time was closed down by Andy until he finally went clear with about 5 laps to go. He was chased by Richard Lambert who couldn't stay with him, followed home by Andy Ballentyne and then Pete Whelan (Plomesgate CC).
Andy however scored maximum points towards the Eastern Region Grass Track Series as the first Eastern Region rider in both the 800m scratch and the '8km'.
The weather finally warmed up although there was still a strong breeze blowing. Unfortunately a crash near the end of in the first 10 lap 'B' event caused a delay and the re-running of the last 5 laps to get a results. Andy however was safely ensconced in the 'A' group and was unaffected.
He was there or thereabouts in all the races but just lacked a little finishing speed to score points. He led out the sprint in the 10 lap block handicap but was swallowed up, and was last rider to be eliminated from the Devil.
In the 10 mile, a group of 5 riders including Mike Broadwith, John McClelland and Joel Stewart, went away after a prime. Andy sensed the danger and jumped across to them to be joined by George Olive, Bryan Taylor and one other rider. George promptly paid for his effort but the remaining 8 riders quickly gained two third's of a lap lead which they held to the end. Bryan Taylor led the group home in 21.00 minutes dead.
Andy Ballentyne and Richard Jordan both rode the North Road meeting and the rain that had been threatened held off although there was a strong breeze to contend with.
The first event was the 800m where Andy's chain unshipped just as he hit the front in his heat which meant he didn't score any points towards the Eastern Region Grass Track Series. Richard didn't make the final either which was won by Russell Mclean (Clayton Velo) ahead of 400m Champion Richard Kennedy (Chesterfield Coureurs) and John McClelland (Agiskoviner).
Both riders therefore went into the consolation unknown distance race which stayed together until last year's 8km Silver Medallist and National Endurance race champion Leigh Haigh (Race Scene) broke away. Andy jumped across and caught him as the bell was rung. He then went passed him with half a lap to go for the win with Leigh hanging on for second place from a fast finishing George Olive (North Road CC).
The next event up was the 500m handicap where both Richard (off 92m) and Andy (off 58m) made it through the final. In the final, Andy was never in contention but Richard managed 4th place after having to back off when the gap he was aiming for closed. Winner was Keith Richardson (Mildenhall CC).
The next event was the 1 mile scratch and Andy and Richard were in the toughest of the three heats with Russell McClean, Leigh Haigh and Guy Cook (Chesterfield Coureurs) all riding. Andy made it through in second spot along with Russell and Leigh. The final was a fast race with John McClelland trying to jump away tracked by Martin Smith (Chesterfield Coureurs), Richard Kennedy and then Andy. Martin died a liitle and swung out so Richard went through to John's wheel. Andy overtook Richard with a lap to go to get on to John's wheel hoping for him to go wide so he could go up the inside. John held his line however forcing Andy to go wide but he couldn't come past John. Leigh Haign was third.
In the final event - the 5 mile, Leigh and John tried an early move which was tracked by Andy but then sat up leaving Andy in the lead. He held on for a 3 laps to take the £5 prime and was then re-caught by a group including Leigh, John, Guy, Tony Bradford (North Road) and Ian Clarke (Fenland Clarion). Leigh and John made another attempt with a couple of laps to go with Andy and Tony trying to bridge the gap. John sprinted home for the win followed by Leigh and Andy came round Tony for 3rd and the first Eastern Region rider.
In the womens' events, World Sprint Champion Victoria Pendleton convincingly won her races and is looking good to regain her National 800m title next weekend at Carlisle.
Because of the threat of rain there were not so many riders this week but that didn't stop the racing from being hard and competitive in the blustery conditions.
In the group 'A' 10 lap scratch, a group of 5 riders opened up a small gap with 2 laps to go and Andy managed to hold on to 3rd behind winner Mike Broadwith (Agiskoviner) and Philip Hetzel (Ipswich BC). In the 10 lap Block Pursuit, the Odd Numbers starting in the home straight quickly got a lead but then distintegrated because they were going too hard. The Even's in the back straight however kept their form and the VC Londres' Bryan Taylor cam home first followed Mike Broadwith and then Andy in third spot.
The points were quite evenly distributed in the group 'A' 10 lap points race with a number of riders all contesting the early sprints. Andy bided his time until 4 laps to go when he went solo to win the next 2 sprints and was then joined by John Scripps (VC Londres) and George Olive (North Road CC). He scored a 3rd on the penultimate lap and then 2nd on the final sprint to come home 3rd overall behind John Scripps and Bryan Taylor.
The last event of the evening was the 10 mile completed in a time of 21.46 which was won by Bryan Taylor following a lead out from teamate John Scripps. Andy found himself on the front at the wrong moment after Kristian Downs (Glendene CC) swung up early and closed down on the Londres pair which enabled John McClelland (Agiskoviner) to get 2nd with teammate Joel Stewart 3rd.
After having to miss the first two events, Andy Ballentyne rode the 3rd event of the series but was lacking a bit of finishing speed to score any points. The conditions were cold and windy and not really condusive to high speed.
In the 'A' 10 laps scratch, World Championship sprinter Ross Edgar cruised to an easy win but then didn't contest any other event. The second event was the Hare and Hounds where the Hares put in a good performance to stay away, and then Andy was one of the last to be eliminated in a generally fast devil.
The evening's final event was the 10 mile scratch when four riders including Alex Dowsett (Glendene), Michael Broadwith (Agiskoviner) and Joel Stewart (Agiskoviner) quickly got a half lap lead after the prime. The bunch managed to peg at 2/3rds of a lap however, and despite shedding riders it stayed that way until the end. Alex Dowsett won the sprint in a respectable 21.30 for the conditions. Andy stayed with the remains of the bunch but didn't pick up a placing.
Andy Ballentyne rode the Chelmer roller contest along with 2nd claim member Steve Freeman.
In the flying start 440, Andy was 3rd in 17.49 seconds behind Antony Stapleton and fastest - roller specialist Trevor Walters (16.12 seconds) although was unfortunate to be drawn on the red roller which is slower than some of the other rollers. Steve was 4th in 18.62.
The flying 440 produced the seeding for the 880 heats, and in the first heat, Steve was drawn against Graham Painter and Antony with the first 2 going through. Steve and Antony duly made the final. Andy was up against Trevor (Ian Browning having dropped out) which meant that they only had to beat Graham's time of 46 seconds to make the final. This is where Andy perhaps showed his greater experience, when again drawn on the red roller did just enough to qualify comfortably whereas Trevor went flat out to win the heat.
And so to the final. Trevor was unfortunate to be drawn on the red whereas Andy got the faster yellow roller. At the start, Andy got away the quickest and led round the first lap and a quarter when Antony made his charge and on his slightly bigger gear overtook Andy for the win in 34.06 seconds. Andy was second in 35.06 with Trevor and Steve tying for 3rd in 39 seconds.
After a brief rest, these four riders went for the Chelmer's 5 mile record of 6.48. Each rider took it in to turns to do one flying lap with three laps rest. They came home with a time of 6.42 to beat the existing record by 6 seconds.
Thanks to the Chelmer for organising the racing.