Posted by Editoress on 11/29/10
19 year old Ryan Aitcheson (Jet Fuel Coffee) takes the CanAmQue Challenge for the second straight year.
Saturday night at the Forest City Velodrome in London, Ontario, had an electric feel in the air, with 42 racers entered in the fifth annual Challenge. The evening started with four heat races of 40 laps each, with the top six riders from each heat moving on to the two semi-final events, which would set the field for the 138 lap classic.
There was a solid mix of experience and youth in the qualifiers, and the random heat placement mixed up the riders even more. Three of the four qualifying heats were won by Juniors: Will Simmonds (Invita-FCV), Brandon Lindow (Brantford), Alex Cataford (Rocky Mountain), with "the Professor" Lorne Falkenstien (Cycles London) winning the fourth heat.
On to the Semi-Final round, where the top 24 riders were again selected randomly for each 60 lap semi. We were starting to see a pattern emerge, with the Junior giving way to the Elite riders entered, as many of the more seasoned riders were conserving their energy until it counted. In the first Semi, Scott Lundy dominated the race, and was able to lap the field with the other five riders who would advance to the Final.
In the second semi, Aitcheson and Cataford attacked the breakaway group to easily advance, with T-Towns Barry Miller finishing a solid third. The real battle was for the last transfer spot; Dave Bogue (Team London) had a half lap lead on a cadet rider Adrian George (Invita-FCV) ... that was until the hammer fell with three laps to go. George was able to come back and pip Bogue at the line for the final transfer spot. The margin of victory was 66 thousands of a second (good thing for electronic scoring).
The last chance qualifier provided the final two riders the opportunity to make into the Challenge main event. Twelve riders came to the rail to contest the 30 lap dash for the final spots. The race produced a steady tempo at first and by the halfway point there were six riders left. With two laps to go, Stephanie Bester attacked and gained a six bike length advantage that she would carry to the line for the 11th qualifying spot. Two 14 year-olds riders - Eric MacDonald and Drew Welsh - ran elbow to elbow for the last 150 metres, with Welsh managing to take the final spot in the CanAmQue Challenge.
Now that qualifying was complete, the 14 riders lined up for the longest race on the FCV calendar.
How the race unfolded:
The CanAmQue Challenge started off with a flurry, several attacks in the first 20 laps quickly thinned out the pack and a group of three riders gained half a lap very quickly; on the 138 metre Velodrome an advantage of half a lap can be gained within 15 seconds of racing. Aitcheson was the first to roll off the front, followed by Junior Lindow and Barry Miller. The three rode tempo until they were joined by Cadet Will Simmonds, Alex Cataford and Jeff Schiller. As the group of six exchanged the lead they lapped the three riders who were off the back from the first acceleration. The pace slowed momentarily and three more riders joined the leading six - Lorne Falkenstein, Scott Lundy and Patrick McGinley were able to get on even terms and recover as the race reach the one-third mark.
The spectators were enjoying the action up front, and the primes started with 90 to go; $50 was offered up first, then at 60 to go $100 went to Lundy, Miller and Lindow. As the race was coming to a close, the $100 for lapping the field looked like it might be awarded, so the track upped the ante with 10 to go and the bell rang for a single position (first place), which would receive the $100.
Aitcheson immediately attacked the now dwindling group of six riders to gain a 30 metre gap. With eight laps remaining the group set out to track the Jetfuel rider down, but even with the power of Schiller (LG) the pack would have nothing left, and Aitcheson had time to raise his hands in victory as he crossed the line. Miller was able to come over Lundy for second and in the mad dash for third the very quick Cadet Will Simmonds threw his bike accross the line to to again just pip Lundy by 42 thousands of a second. Simmonds received the most applause at the prize presentation, as the "Kid" was up to the task on the night.
In all $800 was awarded in Posted prizes and Primes during the Challenge.
In other racing action, Conrad Mrowiec, Candice Vermulion, Kim Edwards, Kirstin Sears, Erin Dowswell all won Endurance races in support of the Challenge. In Youth racing, Nathan Finch, Max Gabaldo, Trey Ellison and Miles Fullerton were race winners in a very exciting night of racing.
Next race on the FCV calendar is the Ontario Madison Championships. In addition to the Madison race there will be a full event schedule for the evening of Saturday December 11th. Racing starts at 7pm.
For more information about recreation and Racing programs at the Forest City Velodrome, please go to our website: www.ForestCityVelodrome.ca
Courtesy Rob Good
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