THE SCENE WAS SET FOR A CLASSIC ENCOUNTER ON THE COBBLES OF BURY ST EDMUNDS
The Suffolk Saints were feeling the pressure/enthusiasm of competing on home ground in Bury St Edmunds in the penultimate round of the UK StreetVelodrome Series.
At each round has seen the regional Pro Teams racing throughout Britain, the local crowds have full-heartedly got behind their home team and proven that the crowd really can influence the results. At Bury St Edmunds things were no different and Tanya Griffiths and John Stockwell pinned their hopes of the local public onto their race jerseys and gave it their all.
Each team was geared up to perform at their best as their last chance to gain Pro points before the SuperFinals at Prudential RideLondon July 31st. Nobody was going easy, Team Cornwall needed to seal their stamp on the most Gold Medals and Team London were fighting for the lead in the most Race Wins, the South Coast Rollers were looking to continue their form from the last round in Worthing and the Angels of the North wanted to remind the southerners that they are a force to be reckoned with. Team Belfast were at a disadvantage as they had a new male rider, Ali Dunn, and Helen MacGregor was still finding her feet after 2 rounds away.
LOCAL HEROS THE SUFFOLK SAINTS BOTH SET PB TIMES IN QUALIFYING
The men’s qualifications threw down few surprises - aside from the fact that most riders were posting PB’s despite the cobbled straights between the bankings. The heat, competition and experience showed the riders to be faster and closer than ever, with the top 5 within 0.5 of a second from each other! However, it was the favourite and twice series winner, Mad Dave, who qualified first, with Patrick Robinson in second and Jack Ravenscroft in third.
The women’s qualifications were also faster and closer than ever, but the mix-up of results was interesting. Jess Stone (Team Cornwall) qualified first with last round’s silver medallist, Rowena Price in second. 0.5 seconds behind was Anna Glowinski, who had showed poor form at the previous round and just 0.02 of a second behind her was Jessica Watts, closely followed by local hero, Tanya Griffiths, who put down her fastest time of the season.
MATTI HEMMINGS WOWS THE CROWD WITH HIS BMX FLATLAND ON COBBLES ROUTINE
In the head-to-heads, Matti Hemmings of Team Cornwall was absolutely buzzing as he posted his fastest time ever, unfortunately for him it was against Patrick Robinson one of the series favourites, who knocked Matti out of the competition. Matti held his own with some spectacular flatland BMX displays for the onlooking crowd, who were treated to some of his Guinness World Record moves. Mad Dave knocked out Ali of Team Belfast with a catch, gaining extra points for Team London and taking no prisoners.
Rowena Price raced against Tanya and the local crowds cheers weren’t quite enough to keep Tanya in the competition, although she did give Rowena a run for her money and avoided a catch. Team London’s Anna Glowinski brought the team ever closer to hopefully winning the Catch Trophy with a catch against Belfast Titan Helen.
The men’s finals were extremely exciting, Suffolk Saint’s John fought his way through to the bronze medal final against South Coast Rollers' Jack Ravenscroft. Narrowly missing out on the podium by 0.2 of a second...despite leading for the first 2 laps and losing focus just slightly in the 3rd giving Jack the win to a loud crowd.
Patrick was in the final against Dave, normally it is hard to shout who would take the win between these two rivals, but Mad Dave was showing exceptional confidence compared with Patrick who was not himself in the warm weather, and Dave took a convincing win in what was a mind-blowingly fast race!
OUR WINNERS GOT GOLD PLUS A SPECIAL BURY ST EDMUNDS KING/QUEEN OF THE COBBLES AWARD.
It was the women’s final that the crowd was waiting for as it really felt like anything could happen. Anna, who had not made it onto the podium last round, was in the finals against Jess Stone, so she knew that at least a silver was in the bag for Team London, and silver it was as the unbeatable Jess took her 7th win in a row. Rowena Price was in the bronze final versus Jessica Watts, the two have been fierce competitors so far, both proving the ability to beat the other, and in this round it was Rowena who took the bronze for the South Coast Rollers.
In the 2 days leading up to the event the Suffolk Saints coached 247 school children as well as employees from local businesses. They won the hearts of the locals with their professionalism and enthusiasm. On race day, they both upped their game and gave the competition a big shock. Tanya said "I was closer than I have been all season, I rode to the best of my abilities and for the first time have felt that I am finally on the same playing field as the more experienced Pro's. I rode extremely well and it was very close, just not quite close enough."
THE SUFFOLK SAINTS WON MANY FANS OVER THE WEEKEND
John had set his fastest Pro Qualy time of the season dipping below 19secs for 2 laps for the first time. It was a great show for the local crowd, but sadly not enough to deliver a medal winning results for the team.
The six teams now move on to the Prudential RideLondon SuperFinals in front of Buckingham Palace. The whole Series boils down to the last day with Team Cornwall set as the firm favourites to take the overall title. But with the added ingredient of the qualifying amateur finalists joining each of the six teams and there being a total of four golds available, anything could still happen. Both Team London and Angels of the North have a mathematical chance of stealing the title from Jess and Matti.
Maths has never been so exciting.
The SuperFinals will be held in Green Park, Central London as part of the Prudential RideLondon FreeCycle. It’s a free event to come and watch. Amateur qualifying (for the last remaining wildcard places) starts at 9.30am and runs until 12pm. Then it’s the Pro Team Qualifying session from 12pm to 1pm. Kids takeover StreetVelodrome from 1pm to 2pm. And then it all kicks off, The 2016 SuperFinals start at 2pm. Who will take home the national title? Which team will win overall? We can’t wait to find out.
Men's Pro Podium
1st DAVE JOHNSON (TEAM LONDON)
2nd PATRICK ROBINSON (ANGELS OF THE NORTH)
3rd JACK RAVENSCROFT (SOUTH COAST ROLLERS)
Women's Pro Podium
1st JESS STONE (TEAM CORNWALL)
2nd ANNA GLOWINSKI (TEAM LONDON)
3rd ROWENA PRICE (SOUTH COAST ROLLERS)
Next round: THE PRUDENTIAL RIDELONDON SUPERFINALS 2016, GREEN PARK, CENTRAL LONDON 30TH JULY