June 24, 2008 (Victoria, BC) – What’s black and red with blurs of green? That would be the Provincial Track Championships in BC, held last weekend, June 20th through 22nd by the Greater Victoria Velodrome Association.
Over 40 riders from the Island and Mainland attended, with most vying for gold and some out for personal glory in the new Citizens category. It didn’t offer any medals, but it did offer an opportunity for riders of all levels to participate in all events, and rub shoulders with the speedsters.
In this field, often mixed in with the Master A/B’s, the riders made the old men work, and helped to keep the races exciting. Notable was Adam Barlev (Escape Velocity) and Brandon Edwards (Escape Velocity), both from the mainland, who kept things pumping. Jan Tize (OrganicAthlete), despite being new to the track, finished third in the non-Championship Open Miss’n’Out in a huge field of riders, leading the group for most of the final portion of the race. The young swimmer Derek Belcher (Dr. Walker) put in some great times and efforts, as did Kevin Park (OrganicAthlete), who won the citizen’s Omnium in the end. All three are from Victoria, and new to track racing as well, and are expected to become track regulars. (Heal up quickly Jan!!)
The Juniors kept things feisty as well. Two were present for the first two days of racing, with Ben Cowburn (dEVo) and Scott Mulder (independent), both from the mainland, often squaring off, with Mulder displaying some tremendous acts of power, often beating nearly all Senior Men in sprint times. Day Three had our only Junior Woman, Annie Ewart (Aviawest) also our Provincial Junior road champ, who was a welcome new-comer to track racing, and attended her first Learn to Race clinic one week prior. Ewart braved the Master C/D field, showing great promise and tenacity. Also on day three came her teammate Craig Logan (Aviawest), who similarly completed the LTR on the previous Sunday. In this reporter’s humble opinion, Logan’s effort in the Omnium Points race, going off the front early-on and very nearly lapping the entire field of 7 chasing riders was the most impressive demonstration of strength of the event. Cowburn also deserves mention, as several laps later, he too broke away from the group to chase down his Junior opponent, and remained away from the field. In this tight Omnium, Cowburn came out on top.
The Masters C/D field saw many familiar names climb once more to the podium, with impressive efforts and numerous gold medals won by Michael Cooper (Dr. Walker), who was denied only by fellow Victoria racers Chris Anstey (Schwalbe) in the Pursuit, and Malcolm Falkner (Dr. Walker) in the Points race. Visitors Dave Kosick (Escape Velocity) and Scott Jutson (Escape Velocity) from the mainland also earned championship medals.
In the younger Masters A/B field, several unexpected upsets made for an interesting event. In the Keirin, Marcus Hadley (Dr. Walker) managed to power by countless-years sprint champ Charles Durrant (Schwalbe) to take the win. Hadley also posted the fastest 200m time, and collected the most medals of the event. In the Matched Sprints, underdog Brian Belcher (Dr. Walker) outwitted two riders in the quarter finals, jumping early and staying away. In the semis, he once again outwitted Hadley in a very slow Matched Sprint, which had a very late jump Ë† if you could even call it that! The riders were side by side, approaching the line at a relatively low speed, and Belcher with a sudden burst of power jumped ahead and took the line. Durrant, however, was much more cautious, keeping a strong distance on Belcher in the gold medal round, not wanting to repeat a third upset, which was reminiscent of a performance from one Peter MacInnis at the 2004 Track Nationals. Peter also made the silver medal round with a series of smart jumps (including against Durrant), despite being heavily outgunned by his opponents – muscularly speaking
The women’s field suffered a similar fate to the Juniors, with most BC riders drawn or taken to other events. Despite a lack of assurance of the chance to take home a medal (one must beat two other riders to claim a medal), two women committed to racing at Provincials Ë† both riding their first year as Senior Women. Rachel Canning (dEVo) has as strong history of riding as a junior, but Gillian Carlton (OrganicAthlete) is quite new to the cycling world. Coming from a triathlon background, Carlton switched over to exclusively two wheels this year, and has moved up from Cat5 to Cat3 very quickly after winning each portion of the Cat 3/4 category Race the Ridge stage race, as well as finishing 6th overall at Road Provincials (and top Cat3 racer). In this event, Carlton focused mainly on sprinting events (reportedly hitting 62kph in one effort), and Canning on the endurance events, with both riding on par with their otherwise all-male competitors. Canning was awarded one Bronze medal, after dragging along partner Dave Shishkoff as the OrganicAthlete team in the Open Madison Championship event. Locals Bethany Smith (Independent) also came out and finished second in the Omnium, as did Brenda Hobar (Dr. Walker) and Margaret Labiuk (Independent) in an attempt to fill the fields. (Unfortunately none are UCI license holders, and so did not technically Å’fill’ the field to allow for medals.)
The final grouping of Senior/Elite Men also saw a small but tight field. The first Senior gold was awarded to Emile de Rosnay (OrganicAthlete) in the 4km Pursuit, in a close match with Julian Base (Campione Ratcliff). Gold was also earned by Bob Cameron (IRC) in the Scratch, by Base in the Points, Keirin, Sprints and Omnium, and de Rosnay in the Kilo. Other medals were also awarded to teammate Dave Shishkoff (OrganicAthlete), and mainlanders Glenn Barr (Reps West) and Mike Laxdal (Campione Ratcliff).
Four Madisons were run, one being the Open Championship event, in which Team Dr Walker with Marcus Hadley and Glenn Barr took home gold, bronze went to Team Schwalbe with Chris Anstey and Mike Cooper, and the a-fore-mentioned pairing of Rachel Canning and Dave Shishkoff of Team OrganicAthlete claimed the bronze. A small Madison Tournament was also featured, with a Madison Points race, Madison Pursuit and Madison Supersprint. In this, the pairing of Barr and Cowburn of Team Black took 1st, in 2nd was Team Schwalbe once more, and 3rd saw a repeat performance from Team OrganicAthlete.
Many thanks must be given to the riders for committing to race Provincials, and supporting the velodrome in Victoria when it needs to be demonstrated that it’s a desirable facility. Thanks also to the event volunteers who put in long hours, and the race commissaires who made my days a living hell. (Just kidding! They were exemplary.)
The GVVA would also like to express appreciation to our event sponsors. Cash donations from Bob Cameron, Wayne Walker, Gerry Loster and Michael Cooper assisted tremendously. Prize donations from Cycles West, Performance Bicycles, Straight Up Cycles, Pro City Cycles, North Park Bike Shop, Oak Bay Bikes, Fairfield Cycles and Riders Cycles were greatly appreciated by the racers, as was the shade from tents offered by Oak Bay Bikes and the Aviawest team.
Be sure to mark off July 5th & 6th, and August 16th & 17th for our annual Trackfest events; this year we’re upping the ante and offering over $3,500 cash between the two events. Thank you for supporting track racing in BC!!
GVVA Director of Racing