With looming skies greeting riders for the third Reading Track League meeting of 2014, the chances of enjoying a full evening’s racing seemed slim. The first race of the night was the C league scratch race. A huge field of 36 riders started the race. Sadly, a severe crash in the final lap involving some junior riders put a premature end to the evening’s racing – with the torrential rain starting shortly afterwards.
Any hopes of resuming the original meeting programme were abandoned, although it was deemed safe enough for the Individual Pursuit heats to take place. The fastest three riders would be awarded first, second and third place in the regional championship, and the fastest two in the track league championship would go through to the final on 19 May.
The first heat consisted of Nick English (awcycles.co.uk), Donal Linehan (Newbury RC) and George Clark (High Wycombe CC). It was difficult to choose between English and Clark in the first few laps. Clark appeared to fade after five laps and, given his relative lack of experience at the discipline and English’s metronomic 34 second lap pace, most would have assumed an easy victory for English. However, Clark gained a second wind in the final few laps and ended up finishing just two seconds off English’s winning time of 5:14.13. Linehan finished third in the heat in 5:50.98.
Lining up in the second heat was Ian Greenstreet (Newbury RC), Sean Gorvy (GS Henley) and Stephen Campbell (Twickenham CC). Given his pursuit experience, it was of little surprise that Greenstreet won the heat by a significant margin (18 seconds) in 5:19.66, with Campbell finishing in second place in 5:37.50 – an impressive ride, but sadly just outside the podium places. Gorvy took third place in 5:54.61.
With the fastest three riders (English, Clark and Greenstreet) entered into both the Regional Championship and Track League Championship, the podium places were the same for both. English and Clark will go through to the Track League Championship Final on 19 May.