WSW Grass Track – Sunday 16th June

Stephen BrookGrass Track, News

West Suffolk Wheelers hosted their annual Grass Track race meeting at Fornham All Saints on Sunday 16 June. This year the meeting was Round 2 of the National Grass Track series, with Sprint and Endurance events.

Grass track races use fixed gear bikes, with the format of the races being familiar to those who have watched velodrome-based track racing – but held on a mown grass track, of 250m length in this case. Riders need to choose their tyres and gearing to best match the grip on offer from the grass surface.

The day’s programme comprised a range of events for all age groups from 8 years and up – a Devil (where the last rider to cross the line is removed each lap until only 3 riders are left to sprint for the win), the 800m sprint distance (just over 3 laps), a 2-lap handicap race (where slower riders are given a lead, with the field coming together towards the end as the handicap unwinds), an unknown distance race (for the Men not making the 800m final), and an Endurance league scratch race – 8km for men (32 laps) and 5km (20 laps) for women, where the first rider across the line is the winner.

There was also a chance for Youth riders not experienced in fixed gear racing to get a taste of grass track racing, with the same race formats but on their normal freewheel bikes.

Tom White (SES Racing) was the winner of the Open 800m Short Distance event, followed by David Mitchinson and Laurence Lisher (both of Cinnamon Cafe-SaddleDrunk RT). Ellie Mitchinson (Montezuma’s Race Team) won the Female 800m race, followed by Abigail Coles (North Road CC) and Sally Withey (Swift Racing).

In the Endurance races, Ellie Mitchinson again won the women’s event over 5km, followed by Sally Withey and Abigail Coles, with reining national champion David Mitchinson winning the men’s event (over 8km) followed by local rider Paul Groombridge (Norwich Racing Team) and Tom White.

Each age group also participates in an Omnium event, where riders receive points for each of the different race formats. In the Youth CDE category (for riders ranging from Under 8 to Under 12), Baily Groombridge (Norwich Racing Team) was the winner, followed by Oscar Darton (CC Ashwell), and in joint 3rd position Elizabeth Whall (Colchester Rovers CC) and Matilda Child (Colchester Rovers CC).

In the Youth AB race for Under 14 and Under 16 riders, Sam Brook (West Suffolk Wheelers) and Arthur Smith (Chesterfield Coureurs) tied for first place, winning 2 races each, with Logan Ayers (CC Ashwell) in 3rd.

We’d like to thank all our riders, our British Cycling commissaires (Pete Whelan and Ian Doe) and our race judges and other volunteers from WSW who helped with setup and refreshments.

The next National Grass Track Series fixture is at the York Rally on 22 June, followed by Colchester Rovers CC Grass Track meeting on 30 June and then Plomesgate CC on 7 July.