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Race report: Good Friday International track meet

Last Friday saw the Planet X track team open hostilities for the 2012 season at the Good Friday International track meet at the famous Herne Hill velodrome in that there London.

With PX old hand Ian Cooper and ex-international rider James Nottley making his debut, the team took up the cudgels in bright, breezy, chilly conditions. Our boys lined up against a strong field of top fast boys from all corners of Europe in front of big crowd of London fixed gear junkies.

Planet X's Tailwind Charlies took up the charge right from the off. Ian 'Coops' Cooper lining up in a 14 strong field for the Dragonsmoke Derny race, giving away a dozen years (and more than his fair share of hair follicles).

Our man bided his time as the youngsters tore chunks out of each other in a race featuring the respective National Derny champions of France, Germany and the UK. Run off at 40+mph Coops put our new multi-purpose Tri-Spoke wheel through its paces and secured a 7th place finish. Fast and furious two-stroke fuelled mayhem.

Ian Cooper: "That wheel has got to be the stiffest, fastest wheel I've ridden up front. And believe me at that speed you don`t want owt flaky…"

Next up: James 'Jimmy' Nutley put his experience to good use in the Ed Taylor Points race. Jimmy scored in the sprints early doors, he then managed to sneak away in a split mid-way and kept scoring consistently. He just narrowly missed a podium spot by the tightest of margins. Next time Jimmy, next time.

With Coops heading for the showers early on in the Devil, and Jimmy coming unstuck when confusion reigned at the early ringing of the bell for the last lap, it only remained for the big race of the day to be run. The prestigious Golden Wheel scratch race.

The £1,000 first prize ensured that the 50+ peloton hit the pace from the gun and hit it hard. The Planet X boys were prominent at the pointy end of the race. It wasn't long before Jimmy made the selection, with nine others of the day's strongest riders, making a break for it after 10km of the 20km race. They quickly extending their lead to half a lap with Jimmy pulling through strongly. The old boy was doing what he could to hold up the bunch and things were looking good.

Within spitting distance of gaining the lap, the breakaway boys started attacking each other mercilessly until a group of four and then, some time later, another two made the junction. Unfortunately for Jimmy the pace proved just a tad too hot and he and the rest of the break were swallowed up with ten laps remaining.

With all the top spots gone, Coops took up the fight with fellow Northern fast man Adam Duggleby in an attempt to keep the wonga this side of the Channel. They put in a hard two lap turn right at the bell in the hope of setting up Duggleby for the win. Yet the lap proved just ten metres too short and 'Duggers' narrowly missed the top spot, settling for the runners up spot.

It was a good day out for the one speed wonders. With the season stretching ahead and our very own 'Ginger Avenger' putting the finishing touches to his world famous pace, things look good for the Planet X glamour boys.

What's next? Coops takes on the fastest Grandpas in the country in the opening round of the Stallard series. 'Notters' hones his break away form in the sunny climes of Majorca. The Ginger Avenger completes his top secret Hilton Hobbit training camp. And the 'Dinnington Destroyer' makes his flower powered debut.

Pics courtesy of Jeff Baird.

10 April 2012

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