Andy Ballentyne's continued return to form meant he ended up with 6th place in the 6 lap pursuit in a time of 3:42.92, a couple of seconds quicker than his previous best in 2004. The winner was Douglas Bradshaw in 3:32.00
In his 1 lap sprint sprint heat, Andy was drawn against the experienced Dave Baker who was too good for him but second place meant he progressed to the semi without having to go through the repecharge. In his 2 lap semi, an Economic Energy rider jumped with 500m to go but Andy was soon on to his wheel, coming round on the final bend for a comfortable win to make the final. The final however was a much harder affair with John McClelland (Agiskoviner) who had earlier knocked Baker out, James Jackson (PCA) and Robert Cox (Cambridge CC) to contend with. John led off and with Andy sitting in 4th spot tried to use the banking to get a jump with 500 to go. However it was not to be and they others came by to leave Andy in 4th spot. Still it was much better than he had expected at the start of the meeting.
The final event was the 10 mile which was a cagey affair with no riders really committing themselves. With 3 laps to go there was a crash at the head of the bunch which meant it neutralised until after the ambulances had been. The restart was changed to 10 laps and it was a much depleted field that contested the final sprint, with John McClelland again getting the win, with Andy in 6th spot. Andy ended up as second (equal) ECCA rider tied with Dave Baker on 10 points, behind overall winner James Jackson on 13.
The highlight of the grass track year is always the Mildenhall Rally held over the August Bank Holiday and this
year was no exception. With the Rally playing host to the Men's National 800m Championships there was a quality
field, including former champions Dean Downing and Richard Kennedy, current champion Ben Elliot and former 400m champion
and Kilo champion John Norfolk.
Andy found the going a bit to hot for his current state of fitness and didn't progress past the repecharge. The final was a very fast affair with Jon Norfolk winding up the pace from the start with Dean and Ben on his wheel. Ben challenged at half distance but Jon upped the pace to hold him off so Ben hand to slip back into third slot again. With Half a lap to go, Dean put all his effort in to get past for the win, with Ben coming past a fading Jon for second.
The rest of the races were just as furious with Dean's younger brother and former National Road Race Champion Russell livening up the racing somewhat, so much so that it was only until the final race of the weekend - the Consolation Devil that Andy had a chance to come away with some prize money. Ian Clarke (Fenland Clarion) led out the first few laps with Andy on his wheel, but the situation reversed in the last few laps with Andy sprinting away on the last lap.
In the childrens races, Aaron Freeman won the one lap 5 years and under event, following his parent's footsteps perhaps?
Andy rode the Plomesgate meeting which was held in good weather althougth the track was quite heavy and bumpy. Having got delayed in traffic going
up there, he missed the heats of the 750 but was allowed back into the semi final, qualifying second and then coming second in the minor final.
He then followed this up with 5th in the Devil and then 9th in the 8km. The meeting was dominated by Richard Lambert who won all the events.
Andy rode his first grass track meeting of the year - having opted to miss the previous weekend's events at Carlisle and Richmond due to
the poor weather. Conditions for the Letchworth meeting however were hot and sunny with just a gentle breeze, although the track was a little
heavy due to the previous rain.
Andy Ballentyne rode the Friday track league for the first time since 2005, and with getting over a cold, struggled in the first race - the 10 lap scratch won by George Olive (VC St.Raphael). The subsequent races were better after getting in to the swing of it but the evening was dominated by Alex Dowsett who won all the remaining races, including lapping the field on his own in final 10 mile.Full Results (London Cycle Sport)