Despite the constant threat of rain once again in what has been quite a dodgy summer of weather so far in the UK this year the Newcastle Midsummer Track Meeting (Part of the British Cycling National Sprinters League) stayed dry and bright all day, making for a great day of racing.
Three Performance Cycle Coaching riders made the trip to Newcastle Under Lyme on Saturday 15th June 2013. Myself, Jack Hoyle and Helen Scott.
Helen had a great day of racing, taking third in the Women’s + B’s endurance and a strong win in the Women + B’s Devil against a very competitive field. Jack showed his strength more and more throughout the day to confidently win the B sprint competition.
I’ve had a fair bit of time out from racing again myself having missed the Scunthorpe and Dundee sprinters league rounds due to a short term back problem I picked up in the gym. This was in fact my first event back since the Herne Hill Good Friday meeting at the end of March so once again I was heading into the competition with some extra nerves and no idea how I would be going.
The sprinters league event started off with a Flying 200m time trial with the top qualifier being Matt Rotherham with a time of 11.22. It wasn’t the fastest of days due to a strong wind against the riders as they accelerated into their effort. I over-geared myself slightly and came in with a time of 11.9 seconds to qualify 7th. I was still fairly pleased with this though as it’s actually the first flying 200 I’ve done in over 18 months.
With the top 12 qualifying to the match sprint rounds I ended up facing Max Nethell who posted a qualifying time fairly similar to my own. A very steady race lead to me making a sharp acceleration down the back straight from behind to take the win and progress to the quarter finals.
My next ride was always going to be more difficult as I faced up against 4th qualifier Joseph Truman. He may have had a faster qualifying time than I did but I was fairly confident that I had the jump and acceleration on him due to my nature of riding. Similar to round 1 I managed to make a jump from behind to get a decent gap under acceleration to win and progress to the Semi Finals.
Sean Mayer of Swinnerton Cycles (Last years National Junior Sprint Champion) awaited in the semi final. After a tense couple of laps he just managed to edge me by half a wheel length on the home straight to progress to the final (eventually won by Matt Rotherham). I went on to beat Leon Gledhill in the 3rd/4th ride off to take an incredibly unexpected podium in my first national sprinters league.
The event has given me a real confidence boost and has truly given me my self belief back. Herne Hill confirmed to me that I could have the potential to make it back to somewhere near where I was a couple of years ago before I sustained my tendonitis injury but last weekend really helped confirm it too me. I have a massive thanks to say to Lee and Pete for helping me get back to this stage from what was effectively square one at the end of last year and I look forward the next few races ahead!
I’d like to wish everyone else in the team the best of luck and a strong summer of racing!