Report – British Derny Champs


Matt Gittings and Hannah Walker regained their British Derny Championship titles with commanding performances at Herne Hill Velodrome on Sunday.

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Report – British Derny Champs

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Photos: Herne Hill Velodrome/Tom Oldham

Both were paced by George Gilbert and took an early lead in their respective races of 15k and 30k — never to be headed. At the same meeting, promoted by Graham Bristow, Pete Mitchell (Performance Cycle Coaching) wrapped up the National Sprinters League overall title with his fourth straight win in the series.


Walker (Epic Cycles-Scott WRT) lost her crown to Katie Archibald in last year’s event at Newport. With Archibald otherwise engaged in the Commonwealth Games Road Race in Glasgow and unable to defend her title, Walker took full advantage in a straight seven-up final.

Janet Birkmyre, who had taken an impressive silver at Newport behind Archibald, gave chase with her ever dependable pacer Bristow, but the elastic soon snapped and Walker rode clear. Niki Kovacs (Brixton Cycles) eventually eased ahead of Birkmyre to claim a fine silver medal about three quarters of a lap down.


The men had to have 15k heats to whittle down the field to an eight-up final, with those respective battles being won Phil Trodden (Rigmar Racing) and Symon Lewis (Nuun-Sigma Sport). Gittings, who is at Marian University in Indianapolis, had been unable to defend his 2012 title after being the victim of a road accident while out training in America last autumn.

He laid down his intentions early in the 66-lap final, but had company from Andy Hastings (Tim Read) and Trodden, paced by Davie Urquhart. Defending champion James Holland-Leader (Nuun-Sigma Sport) tracked the leaders have started from the back and always looked a threat. The relentless 27-second laps eventually took their toll and Gittings (AW went clear.

He eventually caught the Scottish pair of Trodden and Urquhart, who had slipped back to fourth, for a lap and was content to bide his time behind them until the closing stages. After a signal from Gilbert, the pace was significantly upped and Gittings crossed the line in 30 minutes 10 seconds, with Holland-Leader, making an excellent defence of his title in the company of Bristow, the only rider to avoid being lapped in second place.


The unfortunate Hastings lost third place when Read’s derny developed a late problem, leaving the way for Trodden to claw his way back into the bronze medal position. In between the derny racing, Mitchell, who had qualified second fastest behind Miles Anon (SES Racing), was treating the crowd to an excellent exhibition of match sprinting and was never seriously troubled.

For the second round in a row it was Matthew Roper (Brixton Cycles) who had battled his way into the final, but Mitchell eased past him in the home straight to take the honours. Miles Stovold (SES Racing) beat Sean Mayer (Swinnerton Cycles) in the ride off for third.

The meeting, held in hot and blustery conditions, difficult for both sprinters and derby riders, was concluded with a Keirin, won by Mitchell and Mayer with Dutch visitor Michael Veen in fourth.

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