The Reading Bordeaux-Paris Open Track Meeting

Saturday 3 May 2014

With Palmer Park bathed in beautiful spring sunshine, Palmer Park definitely had the appearance of south-western France – and made the setting very apt for the annual Reading Bordeaux Paris open track meeting.

The first event of the day was the youth six lap scratch race. The riders formed a fairly ordered peloton until the bell sounded for the final lap. Alex Jones (Twickenham CC) led out a train on the final bend, but in the end, it was Anthony Anderson (Sigma Sport) who managed to hold off all other riders in the final straight with his powerful sprint, despite the best efforts by second placed Cameron Thomson (Palmer Park Velo). Jones’ efforts on the final bend earned him the final podium spot.

A healthy bunch of 26 riders started the next race, the 10 lap senior scratch. A fast pace was resumed from the gun, with Martyn Harris (Banjo Cycles) making the first attempt at a breakaway, pursued by Frazier Carr ( and Brendan Drewett (Fareham Whs CC). Harris was caught after three laps by Alistair Rutherford (Wheelbase Altura MGD) and Jon Cannings ( who sped away from the group, but were unable to maintain their lead.. These two riders then led a short breakaway alone. They were unable to sustain, however, and with two laps to go the bunch was back together. Ollie Hitchings (Peter Hansford Racing) took the lead at the bell, but it would always be a battle to hold of the huge sprint potential of many of the riders in the race. In the end, it was Rutherford’s power sprint which carried him across the line first, with Gerry Bowditch (Dream Cycling) crossing the line in second. John Wager (Felt-Colbornes-Hargrove RT) put in the fastest lap of the race (29.2 seconds) to claim the final podium spot.

The Girls Youth Keirin final was held as a straight final, and it was the determined might of Rebecca Raybould (Poole Whs) saw her hold off all the other riders in the finishing straight to take the win with a bike length to spare despite second placed Eleanor Hine (Palmer Park Velo) riding the fastest lap of the race, such was her determination. Natasha Reddy (Palmer Park Velo) took third place.

Just five ladies started to senior ladies Keirin final. Marianne Harding (Willesden CC) led going into the final lap, but it was eventually Niki Kovacs (Brixton Cycles) who narrowly took the win ahead of Lauren Cheesman (RP Racing Team) and Anna Railton (Cambridge CC).

In the U16 boys Keirin final produced an exhibition of extremely mature riding. Alex Jones (Twickenham CC) took the lead coming off the final bend and impressively managed to just hold off the determined efforts of Anthony Anderson ( who crossed the line in second. Dylan Thomas (Palmer Park Velo) claimed third place.

The first of the headline Bordeaux-Paris races followed the Keirin, contested by the ladies and U16 riders. It was Kovacs who found herself doing most of the work for the first eight laps until a break by Thamana Nel (I-Team) and Joseph Linehan (Palmer Park Velo) saw Kovacs swallowed up by the bunch. A strong final lap by Cameron Thomson (Palmer Park Velo), Anderson and Janet Birkmyre (TORQ Performance) saw them lead the field of nine riders who qualified for the major final. In the minor final which followed, it was Jamie Hutchinson (I-Team) who took the honours in a sprint finish, with Nel just edged out for second place and Lydia Brookes (GS Henley) taking third.

The U12 Keirin final followed, with Joe Nethell (Maindy Flyers Youth CC) showing his future potential by taking the win, with teammate Ryan Phillips crossing the line in second. James Ashcroft (Palmer Park Velo) put in a strong final straight to take the third podium position.

Liam Harris (Palmer Park Velo) put in an exceptional performance in the final lap of the U14 boys’ Keirin to take the win with a lap time some 2.5 seconds faster than his nearest competition. Joshua Knowles (Palmer Park Velo) rode well in the final straight to hold of Jan Corsten (Palmer Park Velo) to take second and third place respectively. Just three girls contested the U14 girls’ final and, in a mirror of the boys’ race previously, it was Elena Shaw (Maindy Flyers Youth CC) who took the honours with a lap time 2.5 seconds faster than Bethany Lewis (Palmer Park Velo) who finished in second place. Connie Stevens (Palmer Park Velo) grabbed third spot.

As would be expected with the level of riders present at today’s meeting, the senior Keirin which followed saw the positions determined in a very tight finish. It was the sprint prowess of Martin Dawkins (Team Quest-The Bike Shop) which eventually saw him take the crown, closely followed by Drewett and Wager.

With increasing cash prizes available to all riders in the Ladies/U16 derny final, it was always going to be a hotly contested race. It was Joseph Linehan who stole away with the early lead, although no riders were able to make a convincing break away from the bunch. It was eventually Birkmyre, who had been looking exceptionally comfortable throughout the preceding laps, made her first move with 17 laps remaining on the board and it was only Thomson who could keep with her blistering place. Shortly after, Anderson sadly fell victim to a failing derny, and sensibly tagged onto the back of Connor Woodford (Willesden CC). A replacement derny was soon found, and Anderson’s determination to get back into the race saw him steal away with the lead, passing Birkmyre and taking Woodford with him. Heartbreakingly, Anderson’s replacement derny failed and attempts to get a further replacement derny to him were fruitless. Birkmyre used the situation to her advantage and completed the final two laps at an exceptional speed to take the win, with Thomas taking second and Woodford’s fine racecraft earning him third. Perhaps the greatest credit should be given to Anderson, however, who still managed to claim fourth place despite suffering two derny mishaps over the course of the 15km.

The 20k senior Bordeaux Paris race formed the next item on the programme. The first notable split was made after 30 laps, but such was the determination to qualify for the major final, the race soon reformed as a single bunch. Rutherford was the first to be able to create a discernable distance between himself and the rest of the bunch, with Bowditch and George Clark (High Wycombe CC) bridging the gap to create an ordered trio who worked well together to further distance themselves from the group. However, with 23 laps to go, a minor touch of wheels led to a huge crash on the final bend which took down half the field. Cannings and Streather came off badly in the crash, but were soon up and walking after assistance from the medical team. Nigel Stephens (Finchley RT) sadly had to be taken away by ambulance, but we have no doubt at all his experience as a consultant cardiologist aided his own diagnosis and treatment. After around 45 minutes, the race was restarted with the three breakaway riders allowed to start with the lead they had generated before the crash happened. The three riders managed to maintain their lead until the end of the race to lead the 9 riders to qualify for the derny final. Of the remaining seven riders who went on to contest the final four laps, it was Matthew Callaghan (Gloucester City CC) who took the victory, with Donal Linehan (Newbury RC) taking second and Harris claiming third.

The U12 and U14 riders were combined for the first of the youth scratch races. The bunch split into two extant groups early on in the race, and a group of three riders stole away from the group. In the end, it was Elena Shaw (Maindy Flyers Youth CC) who put in the fastest lap of the race to claim first place, with Nethell taking second and Phillips third. The girls’ U16 scratch followed. After five laps, it was Nel, Raybould and Clarke who made the first charge. The race was won by Nel, with Reybould taking second and Caitlin Shaw (M&D Cycles/Scimitar Sports/Fusion Sports RT) taking third. The U16 boys’ race was a fast and furious affair which which finished with Anderson crossing the line first to take a hat trick of podium finishes for the day.

The headline event of the day, the senior derny final followed, and nine riders toed the line to contest for the Bill Bannister Memorial Trophy. it was Rutherford who made the early break, with John McClelland (Bush Healthcare CRT) in hot pursuit. With 14 laps remaining, Rutherford and McClelland started to increase their distance, with James Holland-Leader (Nuun-Sigma Sport London RT) and Clark trailing the pair. With 12 laps to go, Holland-Leader made a bid to catch Rutherford but was unable to make significant inroads into the leading riders and, with 9 laps remaining, Rutherford’s strong riding saw him start to lap tiring riders. Whilst some riders were noticeably spurred by Rutherford passing them, the increased speed by the other riders appeared to spur him on event further This seemed to give some riders a third wind, but only seemed to spur an accelerating Rutherford on – it was at this point that Rutherford rode the fastest lap of the race (27.7 seconds). With three laps remaining, Clark overtook a tiring McClelland, with Iain Cook (VC Londres) showing his strength to take third place.

Just four male and three female riders started the final race of the day, the senior scratch race (for riders who were not in the preceding derny event). A fairly sedate pace resumed throughout the race with the riders largely staying together until the final lap when Callaghan took out the sprint from half a lap out to cross the line first. Donal Linehan finished in second place, with Frazier Carr ( earning the last podium spot. Lauren Cheesman was the best of the ladies, with Kovacs and Harding finishing in second and third respectively.

With the sun still shining at the end of the event, even the large crash could not detract from what was an excellent afternoon’s racing at Palmer Park.