Report: Ray Martin Distance League

Midweek racing has commenced at the Mountbatten Centre in Portsmouth with a victory for Nick Baker

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Round 1, Wednesday 4th April | Graham Robins Writes

Nick Baker (Zappi’s Cycling Team) was one of four riders to benefit from gaining a lap in the opening round of the Ray Martin League at the Mountbatten track tonight. On a still and dry evening in Portsmouth, many riders across all categories descended on the track and some had to be turned away as the numbers were high for this popular event.

The feature race of the evening started in the evening sunshine but ended up in the chilly evening darkness under the floodlights. Once the race got underway, there were several attacks with Stuart Thompson (Andover Wheelers) the first make a move, he had several attacks before he got a gap of about fifteen seconds before the bunch caught him.

The next to attack was Andy Bryson (Peter Hansford Cycles). Prolific winner Justin Hoy (Felt Colbornes) was another rider trying to bridge across but falling short and slipping back into the bunch. However all these attacks soon came to nothing and the race soon settled back down.

The next significant move saw Nick Baker and Matt Hargroves (Hargroves Cycles) build a lead before Rob McCarthy (Pedal Heaven) and Harry Bulstrode (Peter Hansford Cycles) got across and these four soon started to build a lead.

As the clock went past forty four minutes of the fifty minute race, these four riders caught the back of the bunch and the race was nearly complete. One rider, top Junior Jonathan Dibben (Hargroves Cycles), tried to jump the gap but he soon found himself in no man’s land between the leaders and the bunch.

With 5 laps to go, the leaders tried to force their way through and it was Harry who found a gap. Harry then set about trying to build a lead but he was caught round the back of the circuit by the chasing bunch. With the other three leaders now in the bunch it was all down to the sprint for the line.

Having the four leaders in the bunch made it difficult for the lap scorers to spot them so it will be all down to the video. However it was felt that Nick had taken the win, but it was Lee Smith (Felt Colbornes) first across the line but one lap down.

The fourth cat race was won by Stuart Bettis (Team Terminator) who tried on many occasions to get away from his pursuers but was pulled back time after time. Stuart then seemed to wait his time and unleashed his last attack of the final bend to take a clear and well if not hard earned win well clear of second place on the line.


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