Saturday 18th November 2017
A week off didn't help boost numbers for Round Four of the NCSC local league. A very disappointing turnout, although in mitigation Keith Oldham and Josh Herring both gave prior warning of their unavailability for this one. Luckily for the Club and the Kenton Bar Kings in particular we had a new starter turn out for them today in Mark Boxall, a seasoned biker and local Fire Officer who just fancied trying our sport! Mark slotted into Shane Gray's spot in the Kings lineup and did them proud, really getting stuck in at a very high level on his debut. He was caught out with slides a few times but his challenges were brilliant and his starting pretty decent too after a very short instructible from Jason Keith. Unfortunately one of those slip-ups caused a nasty fall for both himself and Ashie Patterson who was right on his tail and unable to avoid him, coming down very heavily. However, East End Robin's pride was at stake here so Ash jumped straight back on the bike, obviously hurt and shaken, to take revenge in the re-run.
For the Holystone Hawks, Jason's cone exclusion cost him dearly and although the Kings finished third, Norman Carson's similar cone exclusion cost them second place overall. At this stage after four rounds the Robins are firmly in control and it's going to take a few full teams turning up to stop their impressive run, emulating their forerunners of the 1980s in Newcastle's local leagues. However it doesn't look like there's much chance of that with seeminly little interest from the other club members to participate in this competition which is extrmely disappointing.
Saturday 4th November 2017
The Kings and Hawks were both hit hardest by absenteeism this time but the show must go on, so get your act together missing bods. More decent racing on the most grippy surface we've ever been on, really incredible amount of traction available with very few slides.
Richie entertained five youngsters from our Friday Bike Night series from 3:00 pm until 4:00 after which the League sprang into action until 5:00. As you can see from the rolling scores there was never much in it, as once again we use our very levelling missing rider points allocations to ensure no runaway victories. It would be great to get one of these done by the end of the indoor series with a full squad of riders. We're not even getting any apologies or explanations from the guilty, apart from Shane, so a bit of a let-down really. There's just not enough commitment at the moment from some quarters. If Josh can trot up to Blyth from Durham every week why can't the locals make it a few miles from home?
It was a bit of a strain for TK having to wash 16 bikes the night before so please keep them clean now, he's not going to repeat that exercise!
As there was no oval or suitable semi-circular marking on the floor we resorted to a mixture of flat cones and pointy ones. Some idiot, who shall be nameless, decreed that there would have to be a Cone Penalty, so anyone clouting the things would be excluded after the race. Strangely enough that very same idiot was the only one caught out - twice, and both times while leading on the last bend! Luckily for the Robins it was Josh to the rescue and they somehow managed to scrape a single point victory in another thriller.
Sunday 29th October 2017
Yes, a poor turnout today which mainly hit Holystone Hawks butthe end result was at least on paper another very closely contested event. It's to be hoped we can get a bit more committment from all club members as we now take the series indoor to escape the worst of winter. This will start next Saturday (4th Nov) at Blyth Sports Centre and initially will run for five weeks, on November 4th, 18th, 25th and December 2nd and 9th from 3:45 pm to 5:00 pm prompt. We will then take a Christmas break for a few weeks before deciding what comes next. Just by way of explanation, we have ended up chosing Blyth Sports Centre following the fairly successful run of Family Bike Nights at the track when all or most of those youngsters and adults taking part came from the Blyth area after meeting us at the Tour of Britain stage end.
Sunday 22nd October 2017
Twelve of us out for this, just right! The previous weekend's four local league 2/3-man sides were hastilly revised to 3 by 4-man with reserve space before the off, and a tremendous match ensued. Changes will be made as riders come and go or are unavailable but this looks like a winner to get us through to a whole new set of adventures in 2018. Well done to all competitors today, everyone giving it their maximum effort. Maybe the cold helped, although it did warm up nearer to midday! Unlike our unfortunate colleagues up in Glasgow where we should have been today, our track didn't suffer from Storm Brian's intensely heavy droppings and was perfect today.
Sunday 15th October 2017
A windy but fine morning saw the trial run of our new Local League kicking off at 10:30 am, the idea being for us all to have permanent team members for the duration of the league itself. However after this one it is very likely we will switch to three 4-man teams to allow a bit more flexibility when riders are missing (extremely likely!).
The format will become one man per team per race, so three rider races as in most of this year's Euro-Vets series, and possibly 3-2-1 scoring to reflect that. There may then be a short Grand Prix style individual with riders graded to avoid heat leaders constantly crushing reserves.
As you can see from the scorechart below the match was extremely close, blatant team riding being banned outright with the threat of immediate exclusion for slowing rather than a warning first!
Tuesday 10th October 2017
A good turnout tonight on another surprisingly fine evening saw the welcome return of Dan Redshaw following a half-season-long layoff with knee trouble. Following on from the news of Norman Carson's retirement from racing at the end of this year due to knee trouble, I'm sorry to say that young Dan has the same problem, rare to find crippling arthritis in one so young but that's the card he's been dealt. Regardless of that he came back out tonight to give it a real go and although in a decent amount of pain he completed his rides, even managing to stave off his increasingly rapid younger brother Lee in his last race. Once again Josh Herring travelled up from Durham for another session with the Vikings and showed that he's getting some fitness back with a fast and unbeaten display. Jordan Smith also made it out to continue his improvement, even arriving at the track before Jason Keith this time! Rarely, due to normal Tuesday night travel complications, Shane Gray managed to get to the AstroDrome for this one and quite a decent pairs meeting followed after a bit of timed lap action.
That unbeaten display by Josh with strong support from partner Shane saw the duo take the win, and with Dan and Terry getting that unexpected victory over Lee and Paul in the last heat they claimed second place leaving a run-off to decide third spot. As the tapes went up for that one Dan's frame snapped in two places leaving him stranded at the first bend, partner Jordan unable to make inroads after Jason shepherded Malcolm Douglas to the front for a fine win. Looks like Malla's gym sessions are paying dividends! Next meeting is on Sunday 15th here at the Sporting Club as we kick off our new Winter League at 10:30 am.
The rider mentioned below as being involved in the incident at the track was in fact NOT the youngest rider in the club. He is in fact the third youngest currently registered and was the second youngest in attendance on 3rd October. Apologies if this caused any confusion.
Tuesday 3rd October 2017
A bitterly cold night saw just seven of us arrive ready for some pedalling so not quite enough bodies or will power to organise some sort of match. Thankfully Lee Redshaw had just about got over his chest infection of the previous few weeks so was able to join in. We did a couple of fun pursuit-type challenges but Terry's twisted rules had most of the lads scratching their heads until it finally sunk in at the third time of asking.
Dan Thompson was "shepherded" into the fence by Jason Keith resulting in the skipper's rear wheel and Terry's front needing rare surgery. Largely caused by Dan's insistence on trying to overtake when a different approach was needed to win. We ran up the genny for only the second time as it sure got dark quickly come 7pm.
An unfortunate and very unwelcome incident occurred as we neared the end of the session which was brought to a slightly premature close because of it, a fracas between youths breaking out around the track area. Unfortunately it involved our youngest rider and later also his father. The jury is still out on what action, if any, will be taken to avoid further such outbreaks but we are extremely fortunate in that no new parents with youngsters were present.
Tuesday 26th September 2017
A misty, even foggy evening awaited us but that kept the overnight dampness in the track and the grip levels, even with the current loose, crispy top dressing were fantastic, as shown by our timed laps. Josh Herring, our latest addition to the Vikings and the most welcome since Gavin Parr showed up again five or six years ago, was immediately on the pace on a track nothing like his home town one in Norfolk. We kicked off with the customary team match first, only eight of us tonight and under floodlights for the first time. Once again our good friend Alan Roberts came along to witness any possible carnage, this time it was Paul Thompson taking a tumble. Some scary stuff in the pre-match warmups between Bradley, Dan and Paul also had Alan turning his head away!
Tuesday 19th September 2017
Tonight we welcomed Hethersett heat leader Josh herring to Cramlington. Josh recently moved up to Durham so with any luck he could turn out to be a regular here at the AstroDrome, let's hope we didn't put him off tonight!
A perfect evening, perhaps the best there's ever been here with no wind and a clear sky, saw 11 riders take to the track for another six ride killer session. Some good racing as usual and a glimpse of what Josh (admittedly very unfit just now after a long layoff) could bring to our Club if he decides to ride regularly.
Tuesday 29th August 2017.
Wow! A very busy night for the Club was this, as we welcomed the 25 youngsters from Newcastle east end community bike group, the "Heaton Goonies" for a taster session. It's just as well we had a good selection of tiny bikes for this one as most of the kids were about a foot tall! As always though when we have a group like this, a few stood out head and shoulders above the rest, and one young man in particular, a 14 year old called Jack, looked really good on the bike. Sadly the only "elderly" teenager with the group, a 17 year old, couldn't be tempted onto a bike, possibly due to having no-one else his age to keep him company. I know how he feels, takes me back to my tentative approach to the Newcastle club in 1960 something.
Thanks to Dan Wharrier for initially contacting the Goonies and their mentor Dean Holmes for getting them all here at the second time of asking. And also thanks to the Vikings who showed plenty of patience, having to wait until after 8pm for their own session to start. Another entertaining team match, short but sweet.
Tuesday 22nd August 2017.
A special night for the Club as we were joined by one of Northumberland County Council's publicity officers who came to grab some ffootage for use in promoting us on their Tour of Britain web site and Facebook pages. The Tour has a stage ending in Blyth and Richie Smith is currently in negotiations to get us a stand at the finish in the Market Place. Lee Redshaw, JeanPaul Colback and Terry Kirkup were interviewed as part of the shoot and our visitor stayed for the whole session, enjoying the enthusiasm he saw demonstrated by all, both riders and bystanders. Well done everyone.
On track the team scores weren't quite as close as we are used to seeing them but the racing was good with plenty to cheer and TWO dead heats declared by the referee!
Tuesday 1st August 2017.
A poor turnout of just six riders meant no match as such on a perfect evening, but we did instead do some timed laps and followed it with a set of 2-rider pursuits, decent exercise and good fun if nothing else!
Sam, Bradley, Malcolm, Jordan, Jason and Terry present. Track was a little slippery as the wind and hot sun had completely burned off the heavy rain we'd had previously this week!
Tuesday 25th July 2017.
A few cool days following the weekend’s heavy rain kept plenty of moisture in the track for this training session and like Sunday the grip levels were at maximum. It’s a shame there weren’t more riders present to take advantage of it.
With nine available, five took on four and produced another entertaining fixture, the four men using rider replacement successfully to ease to the win. With everyone having just 4, 3 or even 2 rides we ran a pair of individual semis and a grand final to round of the session. Jordan Smith had a great night in this one with some impressive riding.
It was the four top scorers in semi 1 dicing for the two top positions, and the other five taking to the grid for semi 2.
That put Jason and Lee through from the first, and Dan Wharrier and Terry from the second. Jason went through the card unbeaten while TK managed an outside run on his shoulder from the gate in the final to finish second, with Lee third and a tiring Dan fourth.
Tuesday 18th July 2017.
Another minimal set of riders on yet another perfect evening, the track now very loose on top and dust blowing around in the cool breeze. Everyone handled it pretty well but breathing was somewhat tricky at times. Two pretty much imbalanced sides on paper saw a complete reversal of fortune on track with John Wilson blasting away from the gate to win heat one after Dan Wharrier's chain escaped, and Dan Redshaw overhauled by a well-rested and flying young Dan Thompson! More good fortune followed for the "home" team in the next with Lee Redshaw getting the better of Jason Keith into turn one and his mate interfering with the Viking's skipper just enough to slow him down a tad. Two unexpected heat wins but there was another in the offing as Dan T flew away to win while wily old fox Norman Carson held Paul Thompson and Malcolm Douglas back for a terrific four laps. Surely collapse was imminent? Well, no! Lee took another two fantastic wins against the Dans and Jason to see his team lead 41-27 at the interval and would have scored another win had he not slipped a pedal in heat 11. Somehow the away side suffered another two heat losses for no major gains and the job was done, against all bets!
Tuesday 11th July 2017.
Just enough bods with TK still not fit enough to ride, still a decent, fun workout for the lads on a lovely evening.
Tuesday 16th May 2017.
Not too many turning out for this one on a fine evening for racing, the track retaining only very slight dampness after a very wet Monday, but as usual grip was excellent. Plenty of bike swapping going on as John Wilson strives to find the ideal shape and size after 5 years on his trusty steel Archie Wilkinson, now definitely showing its age, to say nothing of its weight.
Tuesday 9th May 2017.
Another fine display by Lee Redshaw to snatch the win with a great defense against Jason keith in their final race, heat 20. A slip by Jason at the pits bend lap 3 may have cost him the chance of victory.
Also more good effort from Jordan, Dan T and Bradley tonight as they continue to progress. Quite a nice evening for racing with just a bit of a breeze.
Tuesday 2nd May 2017.
A cold start but the wind eased slightly. Bone dry track, pretty dusty but everyone stayed upright except for Malcolm's slight tip-off, nowt to do with the track though!
Once again some exceptional performances from the slightly reduced turnout with all our younger riders having at least a couple of great rides and no-one even noticed how many rides I made them take although there may have been the odd 3-lapper in there.
Thanks to under-the-weather spectator Ashie Pattrerson for his help in preparing the track for Saturday's Euro-Vets meeting once this match was over, this year we stage Round One and are hoping for a great turnout from the Vikings' Elders!
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