Posted by Editoress on 02/20/06
Courtesy Rob Good
It's cold outside however the racing action was hot at the Forest City Velodrome on the weekend. The 138m Velodrome saw the first Short Track Championships held in London Ontario.
200 spectators were entertained by the 42 riders in attendance for the combined Sprint & Endurance event. The riders could choose to race in any event, with an accumulation of time which determinded the Sprint Champion. On the Endurance side the riders accumulated points over 10 very tough events over 2 days.
How it Unfolded
The riders started to arrive at the Velodrome early on Saturday afternoon. One of the first to pick his pit area was former World Keirin Champion Gord Singleton. Gord was very eagar to test his legs this early in the season.
Racing started with some short scratch races and flying laps to help seed the riders for the Sprint Tournament.
The largest division were the Masters racers. We had to split them into 2 divisions at the last minute. This proved to be a good descision as Rob Ackers (Detroit) crashed early in the second scratch race after his rear disc wheel folded up on it's own. Luckily with the pack split, it meant that few riders were in the area and all riders avoided the crash.
It was a battle over the 2 days between Masters Garnett Abbey, Burlington & Marc Goveia, St. Catherines. Abbey accumulated the most points in the endurance events with Goveia taking home the hardware in the sprint events.
During the Championship weekend, there were many photo finishes as the racing went down to the last event in both the Junior & Senior Divisions.
The Juniors put on a quality show with new comers Alex Fournier & Ryan Crawford both from London being separated by less than 1 second. The last sprint event was the Flying 500m. Founier came home the winner by setting quick time in the final race. Crawford finished a very close second in only his 2nd competition.
The Senior events were even closer. Overall race leader Keith Thorarison from Vancouver, had a commanding lead in the division going into the final event. Thorarison had a good flying 500m to close his end of the competition, little did any know that Gord Singleton would put in an outstanding performance to close the 1.2 second gap at the beginning of the event. In the end Singleton gained 1.11 seconds during his effort in the race. This left him .09 seconds behind the very happy Thorarison during the Trophy presentation. Neither rider knew who had come out the winner until they were called to the podium.
Hayley Roberts (Hamilton) had a very good weekend winning both ends of the Sprint & Endurance events. Kriston Worley and Julie Henry were 2nd & 3rd.
Always a crowd pleaser the Velo-Kids rounded out the competition with a hard fought Handicap event. The Kids were all awarded Trophies, Medals & Memorial Coins. The Velo-Kids had a "Blast" over the weekend competing in their own version of the Championships. Paul, Norby, Amberley, Billy, Ernie,Mackenzie, Payton, & Harry thank all of their supporters for making their weekly programs a success.
Short Track Sprint Tournament
There was a race within a race on Saturday evening at the Forest City Velodrome. During the Championship weekend all riders were encouraged to compete in the special sprint series. Based on their Flying lap, the top 8 riders were invited into a special Sprint Tournament.
Making the cut were 5 Seniors, 2 Juniors & 1 Master. In the first round of the series, fast qualifiers Keith Thorarison & Gord Singleton advanced to the 2nd round, Master racer Garnett Abbey edged out Dave Byer. In the fourth heat new comer to the Velodrome Jamie Shankland from Waterloo made Rob Good work extra hard to earn a birth into the semi-finals. The 2 juniors (Vince DeJong & Matt Rose) did very well making the faster qualifiers, Thorarison & Singleton, work to advance to the next round.
In the 1st Semi-Final, Good was up against Singleton in a single elimination to see who would go on to the Gold medal final. In the 5 lap effort a lot of strategy was demonstrated by both riders. In the end, Gord won by a half wheel at the line. Semi-Final #2 saw Thorarison have to come around Abbey for a very exciting and close finish.
This put the two quick qualifiers to go for the Gold.
The Final was a 5 lap shoot out to lay claim to the Sprint Champion at the Short Track Championships. From the whistle, Gord Singleton took control of the race. Thorarison tried every trick up his sleeve to take an advantage, however with 2 laps to go with a couple of quick hooks, Singleton increased the tempo and made the younger rider have to come around to take the victory. With 1 lap to go at full speed, Thorarison made one last try to get around the very quick Singleton. Down the back stretch Thorarison was able to come along side, but could not make the pass, he did close the gap and was on Gord's shoulder to finish a very respectable 2nd in a very exciting finish.
The crowd and infield riders were very eager to see the former World Champion in the competition. Many of the Velo-Kids were able to get Gord's autograph which he was more than willing to do making the youngsters very happy.
Next racing action is Saturday March 4th. See www.ForestCityVelodrome.ca for more information.
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