There was an air of uncertainty at Round 5 of the Series, which was held as part of the National Road Race Championships in Stockton-on-Tees. Patrick Robinson of Angels of the North was away with injury, the Belfast Titans had sent over a new, exceptionally fast rider, Jessica Watts had been practicing for a few days on home soil and the weather once again threatened to have an impact. Everything felt unknown and anything could happen…and indeed it did.
ROWENA & JESSICA TOOK IN THE ATMOSPHERE OF THE NATIONAL ROAD CHAMPS
In the qualy’s Team Cornwall took the fastest team time for the first time, after Jess Stone had spent some time coaching her team mate, flat land BMX hero Matti Hemmings, to commit to taking the corners faster. It paid off and the two of them took the lead, just 0.02 of a second ahead of a disgruntled Team London who have been enjoying a run of qualy wins. The South Coast Rollers (Rowena Price and Jack Ravenscroft) were also showing exceptional form with Rowena setting the second fastest female lap, ahead of usual competitor Anna Glowinski and Jessica Watts.
TANYA BUILDS UP THE SPEED IN PRO TEAM QUALY
The racing kicked off after a proud display of Britain’s oldest train – a replica, moving model that was originally from Stockton.
There was a great crowd turn out on Stockton’s new High Street, as the local public were already getting cycling fever as part of Stockton’s Festival of Cycling. They were mightily behind Team Angels of the North and, as Patrick’s replacement, Jack Ambler, took to his first heat against Jack Ravenscroft.
Though it was clear who the crowd favourite was this was Jack Ambler's first time on the StreetVelodrome and the weight of the crowd’s cheers were not quite enough for him to take a win against the experienced Jack R. The first surprise of the competition came when newbie James of the Belfast Titans gave Mad Dave (Team London) a run for his money in the first heats. Dave took the win in the end but it came as much of a shock to him as it did to everyone else just how close it was! John Stockwell from the Suffolk Saints took his first point of the Series after knocking out Matti Hemmings.
The women’s competition has been heating up and last week’s round at Ballyclare showed that there is a new order coming through the ranks. Helen McGregor of the Belfast Titans was not quite on form after missing the last two rounds and was up against 3-years experienced Anna Glowinski, she was knocked out but managed to avoid a catch. After putting down a storming qualification time, Rowena was expected to win her heat against Jessica Watts, but in a magnificent display of riding speed and skill Jessica pulled it out of the bag to beat Rowena to the joy of the home crowd. Unfortunately for Tanya Griffiths of Suffolk Saints her team qualy result meant, she was to face defending champ Jess Stone, losing by a catch.
In the semi’s it was noteworthy of James (Belfast Titans) to knock out John (Suffolk Saints) with a catch point for the team. Anna knocked out Jessica in their head to head, whilst Jessica put down her personal slowest time of the day – perhaps the effort for her first 2 brilliant races was starting to affect her energy levels. The crowd screamed when Rowena raced against Jess the Rolling Stone, it was a win for Jess, but for once, not an easy one! Pull Back Jack displayed some of his usual excitement, with his slower start and faster finish to beat John.
GOLD FOR TEAM LONDON, PRESENTED BY 4 YEAR OLD ABDUL (TEAM SHARKS)
The bronze medal race was between Rowena and Jessica again. It was unbelievably close, with Jessica just about taking the win to put her in third place. As it happened the women’s finals was the usual Anna versus Jess, but this time the result wasn’t expected. Anna had not put down the second fastest times of the day but it was her consistency that got her through. The fastest times of both Jessica and Rowena has proven that they are both in the running for a silver medal and have the potential to knock Anna off the podium entirely, which would be a huge blow for Team London. It’s all to play for in this weekend’s round in Worthing.
GOLD FOR TEAM CORNWALL
The men’s final was Mad Dave versus newcomer James, who really proved worth his salt in Stockton. It was rather unknown for a first timer to make it through to the finals. The win was taken by Mad Dave with less than a quarter of a second in it. The men’s podium was Mad Dave in first, James in second and Jack R in third.
Men's Pro Podium
1st Dave Johnson (Team London)
2nd James McFerran (Belfast Titans)
3rd Jack Ravenscroft (South Coast Rollers)
Women's Pro Podium
1st Jess Stone (Team Cornwall)
2nd Anna Glowinski (Team London)
3rd Jessica Watts (Angels of the North)
Next round: Worthing Beach 3rd July 2016