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Track Success for Avenger

Track Success for Avenger

A successful weekend of hard track endurance track racing yields a brace of wins a brace of 3rds, but ultimately a disappointing finale.

Day 1:

The Ginger Avenger began his preparation to defend his National and European Masters Points Race Championship Titles in July and August with two popular Hard Track Endurance meetings this weekend at the 1948 Olympic Venue Herne Hill and Lyme Valley Stadium, Newcastle Under-Lyme.

The events, split over the Saturday and Sunday, attracted strong fields and the good weather ensured strong racing, great fun and sunburn all round. Having acclimatised to the heat unloading a 50ft container of 82/101 wheels at the PX warehouse a few weeks ago the hot weather posed no problems for the track team.

The Planet X stalwarts Ginger Avenger and Ian Cooper rolled up to Herne Hill on Saturday ready for action. A lack of track racing and track time meant a 300-mile round trip in the Animal, sightseeing in London (plenty of attractions to see on a hot summer’s day) and more coffee than Starbucks.

Coops and Ginger both progressed through the sprint heats with Ginger taking the first prize of the weekend with a 3rd place in the final. Next the Points Race, hard fought over 20 laps the Avenger managed to use his strength from the RAS to ride away from the field with 8 laps to go and lead the field home by half and lap and ensure victory. The final event, the SCCU Roadman’s 25 was the big target with the Avenger looking forward to the 88 lap slog. The first 20 laps passed and the field was starting to look ragged, gaps were opening, the big favourites were looking slightly tired and with 67 laps to go Ginger thought victory could be close as he continued to stretch the field at every opportunity. Then disaster as the rain came down...riders cleared the track and although the rain stopped it was 40 minutes rest before the race was restarted. 30 laps on the lapboard and the context of the race had changed. Settling for a gallop the Avenger rolled into 3rd place over the line for a solid start to his weekend.

Day 2:

Newcastle Under-Lyme and the Planet X Track Team was joined by National Team pursuit champion Steve Clayton and Simon Crouch. The racing started with a 10 lap Course to Primes which offered a bottle of wine for the first person to cross the line each lap. This turned the race into chaos as everyone flew into action for the devil’s liquid...first to bag a bottle was Planet X Steve Clayton winning lap 1...he was then piped for lap 2 and lap 3. The race fired round the track with constant attacks until with 3 laps to go there was a lull. The avenger saw his chance and attacked; going clear by 150 meters he clocked up 3 bottles of wine and the first across the line on the last lap.

The Devil Take the Hindmost is a favourite of the Avenger as he rode strong at the front. Lap after lap the rider last over the line is withdrawn until only 4 remain. As they entered the last lap the Avenger had been at the front for 4 laps and this cost him the race as he was passed in the final lap and had to settle for 3rd.

The finale of the weekend was the 20km scratch race over 50 laps. Looking for a strong performance not just a result the Avenger set his stall out by being present in every break as the big bunch galloped around the track at over 30mph. With 15 laps to go the Avenger started a move that took first 4 then 8 and finally 12 riders clear. This should be the race but no...The group came back. Immediately the Avenger went again. Now only 8 laps to go, this time only 5 riders made the move...2 laps later the group was caught. Not waiting the Avenger moved again off the front with a 3-man group. 4 laps to go and everybody getting tired...the group was not staying away as the Ginger Avenger was chased as the danger man. Caught with 3 laps to go and as the field swung onto the Ginger back wheel they let one of the group trickle off the front. Not prepared to do the work for them Ginger drifted into mid pack about 20th place.

The single rider stayed clear to take a great victory...The Ginger Avenger back in 20th wheel with 400 meters to go decided to give it one last go and managed to storm into 7th place just missing the top 3 positions.

The performance was a strong one, great point’s race preparation and a signal that the underlying strength is there for the National and European Masters and a great platform for the World’s in Portugal in October (just don’t tell Mrs Ginger Avenger...I haven’t told her yet!).

22 June 2010

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