Russell Fairbrass of the Burkes Cycles team won a thrilling Team Scratch race at Round 8 of the Burkes Cycles Speed League held at Wellington Velodrome on Sunday January 27.
Fairbrass, along with Team Red's Mike Naylor and Ben Humphries lapped the field after an early attack in the 20-lap event and once back in the bunch, team tactics came into play with riders on both Burkes and Red squads trying to shake things up.
However, Fairbrass was ultimately victorious, sprinting to victory after being lead out by team-mate Nick Warren. Naylor's and Humphries' Team Red were second with Team Pink in third.
Big winner on the night was Grant Perry in the B grade who notched up two wins and a second place, climbing into the top ten overall and also earning him promotion to the A grade. Perry lost out to Ian Ellis in the opening 8-lap Scratch but more than made up for it with a comfortable wins in the Elimination and Sprinters' Scratch races.
In the A grade, series leader Warren won the first two races of the night, the 10-lap Scratch and Points Race adding to his overall series tally. Peter Moore won the 2-lap Sprinters' Scratch, attacking on the gun and profitting from inaction in the bunch as the other riders refused to take up the chase. Moore finished well ahead with Jon Barnes leading the others home.
Moore and Barnes then rode in the three lap match Sprint Ace ride off. Barnes was first to jump away on the bell lap and despite Moore closing rapidly in the final few metres, the under 17 rider held on for the win.
It was a battle between the top women in a huge C grade field as Renita Vanderhelm, Martine Barnes and Holly Blakely vied for the points on offer. Blakely took the 6-lap Scratch and Points race with Vanderhelm and Barnes second and third respectively in both. Vanderhelm took a fine win in the Sprinters' Scratch ahead of Eleanor Pepperell and Sam Tillotson. There are now just seven points separating the three women in the overall table and at mid-point in the season, the title is still wide open.
Next Burkes Cycles Speed League: SATURDAYFebruary 2, 2013, programme here.
Overall standings after round 8:
Senior/ Under 19: Nick Warren (114pts)
Female: Martine Barnes (65pts). Speed League jersey to be worn by second-placed Holly Blakely (59pts)
Under 17: Jon Barnes (95pts)
Under 15: Martine Barnes (65pts)