Posted by Editor on 01/31/06
London Velodrome Six Day - Night 3
Courtesy Rob Good
Our first weekend of racing at the Forest City Velodrome is in the books and if you thought racing in Ontario was slow and riders waited for the end of the race for the final sprint, you have not seen the racing during our second 6-Day race of the season. I had both eyes bleeding on Friday night and when the third day was over the eyes were still glazed over and, in addition, my tongue had tire marks on it from my front wheel. Needless to say the racing has been clean, safe and very fast.
During our first Six-Day Bicycle Race in October, only two teams were able to gain one lap on the field after 6 nights of racing, So far, every night has produced attack after attack with most teams gaining a lap at different times throughout the evening's three 30 minute sessions.
How it Unfolded
Sunday's first session started off with a BANG. Three minutes in there was a $100.00 prime put up by one of our regular spectators. Everyone's legs were still sore from the hard race on Saturday night, John Craig Sr. decided with 10 laps to go for the hundred bucks. Team Waterloo put in the first attack and quickly opened a 40m gap, and the Delhi Team had Mike Renneboog start to close the gap. With 2 laps to go there was 20m between the teams on the last exchange. Neil Dignam of the Waterloo Team opened up the distance until 1/2 a lap to go when super fast sprinter Keith Thoranson came along side of the Waterloo Team, but could not cross the line ahead of the gritty Dignam. This battle really set the stage for the rest of the evening.
Immediately after the sprint, three teams were under pressure and in danger of losing a lap in the first five minutes of racing. Team Brantford with Eric Robertson & Piers Davidge began closing the 1/2 lap to the 2 leading teams. This took another five minutes of constant jamming. As Brantford caught the 2 leading teams, the Delhi Team was having trouble holding the pace of the Waterloo & Brantford Teams who had now gapped the Delhi riders. It seemed to take forever to lap the other teams. Really it was another five minutes. That's 15 minutes of constant jamming, as the race settled into the midway Team Sprint. I think that is where my tongue really started to rub on the front wheel.
During the Team Sprint race we had each team make an exchange in an effort to equalize the skill required to not only go fast but be able to coordinate a Handsling exchange. Again it was the Delhi team taking the quick time and the 7 points on offer for the overall competition on night #3. All of the other teams got closer to the sprinters and finished the Sprints less than a second behind.
Because of the long opening Jam, there was only 4 minutes left in the session before the final sprint. (I thought it would be a leisurely ride to the sprint....NOT) Out of nowhere came the London Team of Dave St. James & Dave Byer. Over the top they came, before any reaction from the field the London team had a 1/2 lap lead. All the teams were full on and could not make any ground on the leaders. With 10 laps to go the London Team finished things off by getting back on even terms with Brantford & Waterloo Teams who had gained a lap earlier. At the end of the session the sprint went to the London duo, who surprised everyone with a dash to the end of session #1. The spectators could have gone home at this point as they would have got their moneys worth of racing. There was still two sessions or 60 plus minutes of racing to go. The London Track League entertained the crowd while the Madison riders took an extra 5 minutes to get on the track for the second session.
Early in session #2 saw another $100.00 sprint which was won by the Delhi Team, followed by another full on jam. After gaining a lap at the end of the previous session The London Team was in trouble, followed shortly afterward when Team Delhi missed an exchange and both teams lost a lap to the Waterloo, Brantford & Burlington Teams. Coming up to the mid-way Miss & Out, the Burlington Team of Garnett Abbey & Kurt Schreiter launched another attack to get back on terms with the two leaders, after five minutes everything was back together and the race officials had mercy on us with a Miss & Out. The only problem was that we didn't take it easy..... Funny, I was all for a slow pace to begin with, that was not to be and the hammerfest continued. In the end a hard battle ensued with a tie on points between the evening's two top teams.
Thankfully the last 15 minutes of the session were at tempo speeds as no team had the legs to attack, that is until 10 laps to go when Abbey from Burlington jumped hard and gapped the field and held on for the very deserved victory and the valuable 7 points. Brantford extended their lead - ahead of the Waterloo Team by 8 points and an almost insurmountable lead. The other teams were all one or two laps behind.
All the racers were pretty much bagged at the beginning of the third and last 30 minutes of the night. Recovery and staying out of trouble was the formula for the two lead teams during the final session, countering all the moves made by the teams that were down a lap. The race came down to the final sprint for double points. Brantford sealed the night's victory with a convincing sprint win over Burlington, Waterloo, Delhi, and London.
In the end Brantford wins, Waterloo second - same lap but got smoked in the sprints (this was the hardest race I've been in, in a long time). Third went to Burlington, followed by The London & Delhi teams.
Special thank you to all of the London Track Racers, Super-Subs & Volunteers who worked hard all weekend to make the first half of the race safe and run on time.
Racing continues next weekend, Friday & Saturday Nights at 7pm. The final Chase is on Sunday afternoon at 2pm.
If it's been a long time since you saw a real bike race, make plans to attend 1 or all 3 days of racing next weekend.
Full Results for the 6 day & London Track League can be found at our website - www.ForestCityVelodrome.ca
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