Report: Reading Grand Prix Report

Paul Gittings writes… Cycle Premier Metaltek’s Matt Rowe claimed the feature race at the inaugural Reading Grand Prix as he held off Matt Gittings of AW in the sprint for the line after 15km at Palmer Park.

Former GB Academy rider Rowe hit the front on the last of 33 laps and resisted the efforts of Gittings to come around him in the straight. It was a repeat of the last time the pair went head to head in last year’s National Derny Championships at Scunthorpe where they occupied the first two positions. Neil Cooper of AW claimed third in the winner takes all scratch race while Corrine Hall (Team Corridori) took the prize for first woman.

Leading three in womens derny with winner Corinne Hall on the inside. Photo Guy Swarbrick

It capped a successful afternoon for Hall, the national points race champion, who took the women’s derny race, also over 15km. Paced by Derek Marloe, she resisted the efforts of evergreen Janet Birkmyre, a multi-world masters champion, in the final laps. Jayne Paine (Willesden CC) set a fast pace at the start of the race before having Hall, Birkmyre and Rohan Battison (For Fiored Brookvex) for company. Paine could not hold off the first two but managed the final podium place.

The Grand Prix meeting was also a round of the National Sprinter’s League and there proved to be an afternoon of upsets, starting in the qualifying 200 metres where a rising wind had an impact on the seeding for the heats among the top 12. City of Edinburgh’s Kenny Ayre, who won the round at the Dudley Grand Prix, beating series leader John Paul in the process, was an early casualty, failing to get through the first round then going out in a repechage that also saw Tom Baker of Halesowen eliminated.

Matt Rowe edges out Matt Gittings on the line in 15km winner-takes-all-scratch race. Photo Guy Swarbrick

Junior Baker had the consolation of taking the men’s keirin, the concluding event of the programme, while the sprinter’s league final boiled down to a battle between Donal Bailey and Barnaby Swinnerton. It was Bailey, who prevailed over star Swinnerton to take the maximum points.

Other highlights of the afternoon were a win in the men’s points race for Matthew Haase of Cardiff Jif, claiming the double points last sprint ahead of Gittings. Cooper and Martyn Harris were the others on the podium. Junior star Haase also cleaned up in the Course de Primes, winning a clutch of spot prizes. John McClelland (Agiskoviner) won the short scratch race and completed a frustrating afternoon for Gittings by relegating him the second in the Devil Take the Hindmost with AW Cycles junior Cameron Swarbrick a fine third.

Top Welsh coach Courtney Rowe took the B Sprint while Imogen Farlie showed her promise for the future with a popular victory in a special keirin race for women and V50 men. The event was promoted by with support from Reading Velodrome Racing, Reading Borough Council and sponsors AW

Donal Bailey (Black) on the way to victory in Sprinters League Final against Barnaby Swinnerton. Photo Guy Swarbrick

The top six in the sprinters league race get their prizes. Photo Guy Swarbrick

Imogen Farlie (Team Terminator) on the way to victory in the women and men’s V50 Keirin. Photo Guy Swarbrick

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